You may recognize Erin Sanders as Quinn Pensky from the beloved Nickelodeon series Zoey 101. Sanders has also starred in Big Time Rush, The Young and the Restless, and The Call. But when she’s not in front of the camera, you’ll find Sanders perched on a yoga mat. The actress has been practicing yoga her entire life and finds joy in helping others feel empowered by their bodies through the practice. Ahead, Sanders walks us through an early morning yoga flow that’ll help us get our mind and body moving.
This is a special morning Yin flow just for Byrdie readers. If you’re like me and you’re always thinking, “Five more minutes of sleep, please!” when your alarm goes off, you’re going to love sliding onto the ground with some pillows and blankets and starting your day with a Yin Yoga practice.
Yin Yoga is the soft, slow counterpart to more Yang styles of yoga (such as Vinyasa, which is heat-building and will have you breaking a sweat). In Yin, you hold postures supported by your own bones and joints, as well as by physical objects, for several minutes per pose. You relax all your muscles to allow yourself to simply melt into the posture as the minutes pass. For lots of people, this is a meditative practice that can lead to a deep emotional, mental, and physical release. It’s okay if thoughts enter your mind, but see if you can begin to detach from them being good or bad. You can decide whether you want to give attention to these thoughts, sit with them, or let them float by. You’re in control.
I love Yin Yoga because it teaches us how to be patient and reminds us of the value of being soft. Not many areas of our lives encourage that. We’re led to believe that we must do everything as intensely as possible for what we’re doing to make an impact. This can easily lead to burnout—and you deserve a break.
This sequence is designed to mobilize your spine, open up your chest and shoulders, stretch your hips and hamstrings, and ease your lower back pain. Try this sequence before (or after) a full day of sitting and screen time. I think this will be extra satisfying for you.
For this flow, you’ll want to grab big fluffy pillows, a folded blanket, and two yoga blocks. If you don’t have blocks, try rolls of toilet paper or soup cans.
This is a big stretch for your shoulders as well as a twist, which is great for your spine’s mobility.
- Lie on your tummy with your arms spread wide like a T.
- Look to the right. Bend your right knee, lean back, and do your best to bring your right foot to the ground behind you. Relax your jaw. Breathe.
- You have some choices here—keep your free hand on the ground in front of you for support or bind it behind your lower back for more depth. Keep your top knee bent, foot planted for more support—or begin to straighten your top leg, stretching it behind you, for more depth.
- Hold one to two minutes per side.
- This is an intense pose that asks for a gentle and slow…