One of my good friends moved to France about two years ago to study, and she recently asked me for help with yoga. So I typed up my favorite simple yoga sequence for home, which is the one I also use when I teach or substitute teach for my friends, and send it over to her in Paris to try. Many people since then have asked me to create a routine for them to use at home that is easy for them to do alone without having to watch a video or plug in their computer to get someone in youtube. So here is my favorite yoga sequence for a one hour class/routine.
Simple Hatha Yoga Sequence
This sequence is divided in several parts or sections that will create a complete routine that is easy to follow at home.
Come to a comfortable seated position. Grab a towel, bolster, or block to support you if you need to. Bring your hands to your knees or to your heart.
Take a deep breath and relax your mind.
Begin with chanting 3 OMs inhalin and exhaling OM.
Take a deep breath and think of all the wonderful amazing things that happened to you today.
Awakening & Standing Breathing Exercises
These are the warm up exercises
Rotate feet 3 times each way.
Rotate knees 3 times each way.
Rotate shoulders 3 times front and back.
Rotate hands 3 times each way.
Rotate neck 3 times each way.
Rotate head 3 times each way (look to the left, back to center, look to the right, back to center).
Bring your arm over your head, clasp thumbs from both hands together for side stretch (Inhale pull to the left, exhale back to center. Inhale pull to the right, exhale back to center).
Sun Salutation are done in rounds meaning one round is both sides. I suggest a minimum of 3 rounds, 5 max.
Simple Sun Salutation Sequence
The simple sequence is as follows: Inhale (IN), Exhale (EX)
Start by standing in mountain pose at the front of your mat. Face East to do your sun salutations.
IN arms up over your head.
EX bring your arms down and to touch the math or toes (bend your knees if you need to).
IN look halfway up up.
EX bring your right foot to the back of the mat.
IN bring your left foot to meet the other one for plank pose, and hold your breath while in plank.
EX bring your knees down, chest down chin down to the mat,
IN and come and up to upward dog or cobra (which ever you prefer)
EX to downward dog
IN bring your right foot to the front of the mat
EX bring your other foot to meet it
IN come up, arms up
EX bring your hands to prayer (chest)
This is half of one round, then you would do the left foot and that would be 1 complete round.
Some people do chaturanga instead of the knees-chest-chin, come thru before up dog or cobra. But if you have never done a correct chaturanga, is better to stick to knees, chest, chin come thru. I had been doing chaturanga all wrong for 8 years until 2010 when a teacher in an advance class showed us!!! It’s sad but most teachers don’t teach a correct chaturanga, specially at gyms
Advanced Sun Salutation Sequence
Include warrior poses in the simple sequence above, in round 3, after downward dog when your foot comes to the front and you are in a lunge position, start with warrior I, then II. I never do warrior III in sun salutations though.
And then after one round of warriors, the next round will have triangles (trikonasa).
Add prayer twist to simple sequence (if round 5).
Add trikonasa from warrior II to simple sequence (in combination with either 2 above).
Tree Pose on both sides. Release each side with control. Shake legs after coming out of Tree Pose.
Dancer Pose on both sides. Release each side with control. Shake legs after coming out of Dancer Pose.
After the balance poses, I like to start working the spine.
Begin with Dandasana, hold for a few breaths and do a forward fold.
Next is, Janu Sirsasana, hold for a few breaths on each side and fold.
Lay on your back and bring knees to chest, head to knees, hold for a few breaths, and release.
After working the spine, I find that detox poses are best to follow.
Start with a twist from Janu Sirsasana on both sides. Hold for a few breaths in each side.
Laying down twist, knees to chest and bring to each side. Hold for a few breaths in each side.
Laying down twist one leg to the side, do both sides. Hold for a few breaths in each side.
The core is extremely important and one of the hardest to workout in a regular gym routine or yoga routine. I like to do boat pose and when I have advanced students or athletes, I will have them do boat situps, never touching the ground 🙂
Boat pose, hold for a few breaths.
My favorite inversion to do in class is dolphin. I don’t believe in head stand for myself. I do enjoy 90 degree hand stand on the wall, but I don’t include either in my routine or classes because they don’t call to me. It’s an inner voice that tells me head stand is not for me. So I practice other inversions such as Dolphin, Plow, or Shoulder stand instead. For this simple routine, Dolphin works great.
Dolphin and Dolphin push-ups (10 if possible and increase as days go by)
For more advanced students, dolphin pushups with one leg up
For the final meditation, enjoy about 10 minutes in Savanasa, reflecting on your practice or giving thanks to yourself for doing something for your body and mental health. And when you are ready, come up to a comfortable seated position and chant OM.
What other poses would you add to this routine to make it your own? Share with us!
Photo by InboundDen