In the yang styles of yoga, some sort of counterpose to release the tissues follows every deeply held posture. Counterposes move the body in the opposite direction of the previous pose. This may be as simple as doing the left side after doing the right side of a pose or doing a back bend after a long, deep forward bend. However, the counterpose should never be as deep as the original pose. This is good advice for a yang practice.

In the yin style, counterposes are also recommended; however, they do not need to occur right away. It is nice to do some gentle yang movements between postures to relieve any incipient stagnation and to get the energy flowing again. However, it is not necessary to do a counterpose immediately after any particular asana. Feel free to do all your forward bends before moving into back bends. Do all your hip work before moving on to the counterposes.

Counterposes are very logical. Back bends balance forward bends and vice versa. Right balances left. Internal rotation of the hips balances external rotations. Twists can be used to balance almost any pose involving the spine. By the time you have finished your practice, make sure you have done counterposes for all the deep postures you’ve held.

Let the body just rest between poses, especially if the pose was a very deep one. Your body will probably overrule any ego-driven urge to quickly move into another, more challenging pose. Respect the body’s wishes and take your time between the postures.