Starting a Home Practice, Part 2

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My previous post on How To Set Up A Home Yoga Practice was a list of tips to help you thoughtfully plan out a space to practice in and how to implement it as a routine.Consider this Starting a Home Practice, Part 2. As I wrote in my last post, the biggest obstacle I hear people mention to having a home yoga practice is simply: "I don’t know what to do." I also wrote that it’s best to attend a class with a trained instructor who can help you. Sometimes, though, life just gets busy and you’ll want to do your own thing. This list of poses is for those of you who are familiar with the basics of yoga. It's not an instructional piece on specific poses, or a how-to, but more of a guideline of poses that are done routinely in basic classes. I've put them together in a flowing format, meaning one pose naturally flows into the other for cohesiveness. Here’s a little gift to you… an easy, familiar sequence of poses that you can do on your own.

But, seriously, don’t stop coming to class, ok?

​At Home Sequence:
Begin seated in a comfortable position on your mat. Catch your breath and start to utilize the Three Part Breathing technique. Stay here as long as you need to. Think some grateful thoughts.Start moving with some Gentle Twists, rotating gently from side to side, flowing with breath
Inhale > Lengthen the spine as you face forward, hand in Prayer Pose
Exhale > Gently twist to one side, keeping your spine long
Move into All Fours Pose and have Cat and Cow poses, flowing with breath

Spinal Balance (aka Balancing Table) : flowing with breath
Reach one leg back and the opposite arm forward
Level the hips / activate the core and shoulders

Child’s Pose : rest 

A few rounds of practicing your Chaturanga and Vinyasa
Inhale > Kneeling Plank
Exhale > Shifting forward slightly, then down into Chaturanga OR just lower down to the mat, stabilizing elbows the whole time.
Inhale > Unsupported Cobra, to strengthen shoulder and back muscles, and to warm up the back muscles
Exhale > Pressing up to Kneeling Plank and returning to Child’s

Downward Dog, alternate pressing the heels gently toward the mat, gently stretching the legs

Transition to Mountain Pose, standing tall and grounded

Moonflowers / Sunflowers / Flowing Sun Pose / Plié Squats
Choose 1 or 2, flowing with breath
Inhale > stand
Exhale > squat

Sun Salutation : as many rounds as you’d like.

Chair : hold for 5-10 breaths. Do this 1, 2, or 3 times
Initiate the movement at the hips first to protect your knees

Airplane : hold for 3-5 breaths. Do this 1, 2, or 3 times
Squeeze and activate back and shoulder muscles
Lengthening the spine
Special attention on bringing shoulder blades together

Sun Pose : hold for 5-10 breaths. Do this 1, 2, or 3 times

Tree Pose : hold for 10 breaths per side
Establish your foundation, be tall, and don’t lock your weight bearing knee

Lateral Flexion / Side Stretch : lift one arm high to lengthen the side for a few breaths

Chest Stretch : hold for 5-10 breaths
Reaching arms behind you or connecting hands together behind the back to stretch chest and shoulders
The spine stays neutral the whole time

Plank : hold for 5-10 breaths, OR time yourself! 
Keep core and shoulders strong

Downward Facing Dog : hold 5-10 breaths

Child’s : relax for a few breaths

Transition to Staff Pose, sitting tall and on sitting bones

Cradle the Baby : hold up to 10 breaths
Make the rotation at the hip and not the knee. Keep your ankle flexed to protect your knee

Transition to Easy Seated Pose for the following:
Eagle Arms : Hold for 5-10 breaths
Gentle Neck Stretch : hold 3-5 breaths
Seated Twist : hold up to 10 breaths per side
To do a deep twist, make sure you’re sufficiently warm. Start the twist at the bottom of your spine and work your way up. This is basically the same pose from the beginning of the sequence, but you may be able to twist a little deeper now that you're warm.

Transition to Knees to Chest Pose, hold as long as you like!
​Rock back and forth gently

Hamstring Stretch : hold 10 breaths per side
Hug one knee toward the chest, then extend the leg upward, gently stretching the hamstring

Supine Butterfly : hold up to 10 breaths
Soles of feet together, letting knees slowly lower to the floor

Final Relaxation / Savasana : stay here at least a couple minutes, or as long as you’d like. Think some more grateful thoughts. 

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