The individual poses are all well and good, but how should you use them as part of a coherent practice, and in what order? It’s important to have a yoga sequence for practicing the asanas. It gives structure to your yoga practice and helps you focus.
Read on to learn some basic Yoga Sequences to use as a daily practice.
I. A Basic Yoga Sequence
This is a basic, all-purpose yoga sequence that you can use as a daily practice:
- Begin by sitting in a meditation pose such as sukhasana. Take some time to center yourself through mindfulness meditation or rhythmic breathing.
- Stand up, then lean forward and perform downward-facing dog.
- Next, perform the Surya Namaskara series several times – at least three. You may do it slowly or quickly, according to your preference.
- Do Vrksasana, tree pose, for a couple of minutes on each leg, or as long as you can maintain your balance.
- Lower your feet to the ground, then move into Trikonasana, triangle pose. Perform this pose on both sides.
- Next, perform Utthita parsvakonasana, or extended side-angle pose, on both sides.
- Return to a standing position, then sit on the floor in Dandasana, staff pose.
- From the upright position, lean forward into Paschimottanasana, or a forward bend.
- Return to Dandasana, then draw your ankles in toward your groin and do Purna Titali asana, the full butterfly pose. If that’s too difficult, perform a half-butterfly pose with each leg.
- Again sit in Dandasana, then stretch your legs apart and lean forward to in Upavishtha konasana, wide-angle pose.
- Return to Dandasana, then perform Naukasana, boat pose.
- Lie face down and perform Sarpasana, snake pose.
- Move onto your back and arch your back upwards in setu asana, bridge pose.
- Lower your back to the ground again, then assume an inverted pose, vipareeta Karani asana.
- Resume lying down. Then do Jathari Parivartaranasana or reclining twist.
- Finally, just lie on your back in corpse pose, Shavasana. Just let your mind and body relax completely for as long as you like. You may find that your mind is in a naturally meditative state. That’s because loosening tension in your muscles and stretching various parts of your body stimulates prana, or subtle energy, to move through your system, which acts as a support for balanced, meditative awareness.
You don’t have to follow this sequence exactly, but it gives you a good sense of how a yoga sequence is structured.
It starts with meditation and Surya Namaskara. Then comes a group of standing poses. Next, you perform sitting poses. Finally, there is a group of poses that are performed either lying down or starting from a lying position, ending with the corpse pose.
So the structure is standing – sitting – lying down. You can add or subtract any poses to this yoga sequence as appropriate. For example, if you want to give a little extra love to your spine, you can do Ardha matsyendrasana with the other sitting poses—after Paschimottanasana, say. Or if you find Upavishtha konasana to be too strenuous, you can just replace it with something more comfortable for your body. The asanas described at the beginning of this article are a good repository of beginner, and intermediate yoga poses to draw on.
II. You might also prefer to do a sequence for a more specific purpose. The following is an example:
Yoga Sequence for Shoulders and Stress Relief
Stress is a ubiquitous ailment in modern life, and it often manifests physically, especially as pain and tension in the shoulders and upper back.
A stiff neck and stiff shoulders, or poor posture with slouched shoulders, are very common problems. It doesn’t help that many of us sit at a desk all day, bent over a screen, tapping and clicking away with no time to pay attention to our posture.
This yoga sequence is kind of a corrective to all these problems and will relieve stress and pain in the shoulders.
- Begin with surya namaskara.
- Standing up, perform downward-facing dog. Hold that for two minutes.
- Then lower the body and hold it in plank pose, Phalakasana, for two minutes.
- Again do a downward-facing dog, and again plank pose.
- Stand up and perform Tadasana, palm tree pose.
- From there, do Trikonasana.
- Lower yourself to a seated position, move into Gomukhasana, the cow-faced pose. Perform on each side, giving a good stretch to each arm.
- Then do Garudasana, eagle pose, in the same way.
- Lean forward into Paschimottanasana, forward bending pose. Let your back muscles relax as you pull with your hands.
- Return to an upright position, then do Ardha matsyendrasana, half spinal twist.
- Lie down on your back and do setu asana, bridge pose.
- Relax into Shavasana for a moment.
- Then lift your legs into an inverted pose, vipareeta Karani asana.
- From an inverted pose, if you can manage it, bring your legs over your head and back down in Halasana, plough pose.
Slowly return to a lying position, vertebra by vertebra, and finally rest in Shavasana. Allow your body and mind to relax fully, and just breathe deeply, sinking into a deep and restful state.
Also Read: Yoga Poses for Reproductive Health
1. Yoga Sequence?
Sequencing is how yoga poses are placed in a particular order to create a yoga practice with a logical flow or focus on a particular outcome. The various schools of yoga may offer different ideas about how to sequence a yoga class or personal practice.
2. Yoga Sequencing for Beginners?
Some types of yoga, such as Ashtanga and Bikram, follow specific sequencing that does not deviate. While Ashtanga has six yoga sequences of increasing difficulty, all Bikram classes follow the same 26-pose yoga sequence in the same order. Other styles of yoga, such as Hatha, Vinyasa, and Iyengar, require the teacher or yogi to create a yoga sequence.
3. What is Yoga Flow?
Yoga Flow can generally be defined as a yoga class that incorporates energetic movement through a series of asanas (yoga postures), by which the student experiences a sense of fluid physical motion. Additionally, a teacher who is teaching flow will have complete authority of the sequence of postures.
4. Yoga Sequence Order?
The sections in my basic vinyasa yoga sequence are:
- Grounding (5-10 minutes)
- Warm-Up/Integration (10-15 minutes)
- Sun/Moon Salutations (15 minutes)
- Standing/Balancing Postures (20 minutes)
- Seated/Supine Postures (10-15 minutes)
- Savasana (10+ minutes)
5. Flow Yoga Poses
- Downward Facing Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana
- Lunge Pose
- Warrior I – Virabhadrasana I
- Warrior II – Virabhadrasana II
- Reverse Warrior
6. How to Create Yoga Sequence?
Many modern yoga practices are linear, meaning that they begin with basic poses that seamlessly build on one another and also build in difficulty before transitioning to cooling postures and relaxation. Poses are usually performed once in a sequence, but an alternate way of sequencing might have the yogi perform each posture more than once but focus on a different aspect of the pose each time.
Yoga Sequences can also have more specific goals. For example, sequencing can focus on poses that address certain conditions, such as headaches, menstrual discomfort, or depression. Or, sequencing can target specific areas of the body (shoulders, core muscles, or back) or particular types of poses (twisting postures, forward folds, or backbends).
For proper sequencing, the yoga instructor must understand the poses, how the poses build on one another, what muscle groups are involved, what the purpose and benefits of the poses are, and what is appropriate for each yogi based on their level of skill and specific needs.
To read more about yoga sequence and yoga flow, click here.