First Street Yoga Community News and Blog

the dedicated yogi: home practice

The postures of yoga, called asana, are a language we use to communicate between our feeling, reacting body and our thinking, planning minds. The different asanas are like the vocabulary in this language. The order in which we place the asanas  is the grammar. This grammar is the art of sequencing.  Asanas can be sequenced differently to achieve different results. We come to class to learn the vocabulary of asana and to become familiar with basic sequencing. But just as we are not fluent in a language until we can go out and use it to communicate unique ideas, we are not fluent in yoga asana until we know how to use it creatively to address specific personal needs.

The evidence is clear: attending a yoga class once or twice a week is beneficial for mind and body. But there is a great deal more to be gained from taking what is learned at class and bringing it out of the classroom. Only then can our practice rise to its full potential, as we cultivate a meaningful personal conversation in a home practice.

Our goal at First Street Yoga is, of course, to provide a challenging and satisfying class experience. But in each class, we also strive to help you develop the tools you need to grow a supporting home practice. Our classes this summer focus on some basic poses, which are listed below in a simple sequence that you can use in your home practice (Level 1 or Level 2). To view pictures of the poses, you can go to http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/sequence_builder.

Here is a general sequence guideline for a well-rounded practice:

Standing poses (to warm up and awaken)
Forward bends (to lengthen spine and large outer muscles)
Twists (to work smaller spinal muscles, compress organs)
Backbends (to deepen spine, shoulder and hip action, and stretch organs)
Inversions (to restore and balance); and
Savasana (to relax)

Summer Asana Sequence - Level 1

Trikonasana (triangle pose)
Prasarita padottanasana (wide legged forward bend)
Bharadvajasana (seated twist)
Chatush padasana or setu bandha variation (four footed pose or bridge variation)
Viparita Karani (legs up the wall)
Savasana (corpse pose)

Summer Asana Sequence - Level 2

Trikonasana (triangle pose)
Virabhadrasana 1 (warrior 1)
Prasarita padottanasana (wide legged forward bend)
Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog)
Bharadvajasana (seated twist)
Chatush padasana or setu bandha variation (four footed pose or bridge variation)
Halasana (plow)
Sarvangasana (shoulder balance)
*Janu Sirsasana (knee/head pose)
Viparita Karani (legs up the wall)
Savasana (corpse pose)

* Janu Sirsasana, a twisting forward bend, is out of order from our typical sequence above.  Why do you think this is so? Practice it in different sequence order, sometimes with the forward bends, sometimes with the twist, and sometimes as listed, noting any differences you experience.

To learn more about the effects of sequencing, experiment with the sequences suggested in some of your favorite yoga books, noting any similarities and differences between authors.

Remember to take the time to observe yourself at the conclusion of these mind-body conversations. Sit in stillness immediately following, and then a couple of hours later, perhaps before you go to bed, and tune in to the effects  of your practice. Test the hypotheses  yourself:  does sequencing asanas differently achieve different results?

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posted comments (3)

  • Tumble Dryers  said:

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