Creating a Yoga Sequence: 11 Tips to Guide You

Always Center Yourself

If you'd like to create a routine on your own, base your yoga pose selection on your particular needs for the day.

For example, always choose a centering posture to start your routine. Return to this posture between movements. This helps you calibrate your breath, and absorb the effects of the previous posture before advancing to the next one.

You might want to try standing in Mountain pose, or sitting, hands in namaste, as shown here.

Eagle Pose

A great pose for improving balance and strength is Eagle pose. Fix your intention on a point in front of you to aid your balance. As you lower the body down, take care not to extend your knee past your toes - you're dropping the hips back, not pushing your legs forward. If you can't cross your arms, simply place your hands in front of your heart.

Increase Energy

Forward folds stimulate circulation, so if you wake up a little cloudy, add these yoga poses to your routine. Use a block under your hands if your hamstrings aren't flexible. Make sure to hinge from the hip, instead of falling forward from the waist.

Downward Facing Dog

Make sure to practice Downward Facing Dog a couple of times in your session. It is terrific for energizing the body and releasing tight areas. Do this posture with your kids a few times when they're really wound up, and it will help them become more focused. Plus, it's fun!

Build Endurance

Your yoga pose selection should include standing postures such as the Warrior series, Side Angle, and Triangle. Root yourself into the earth and draw power from it while in these poses. In Warrior II, shown here, the knee is a right angle over the ankle to avoid injury, and the back leg is strong.

Modified Side Angle

You can adjust Side Angle to suit the way you feel for the day. Some people extend the lower arm alongside the ankle, and keep the stretch of the side body long and lean. Others rest the arm on the knee, shown here. Take care not to collapse the body on that rested arm-support the stretch from the outside edge of the body.

Twists Aid Digestion

Stimulate the organs and improve digestion with Spinal Twists.

This modification is a perfect, gentle stretch. If you are pregnant, check with your health practitioner before performing twisting postures.

Full Spinal Twist

This is a more dynamic twist. Note how the arm runs the length of the opposite leg, and the back stays straight. Turn your head as far as is comfortable, and work your way into the motion with every exhale, not with force.

Strengthen the Core

Plank poses are excellent whole body movements. This modified Dolphin Pose will help you focus your intention and build core strength.

Open the Chest

Breath, or chi, is our life force. Improve your breathing by adding chest-opening postures to your routine. The next two slides feature postures that expand the chest and draw out stale air from the bottom of the lungs.

This Modified Bridge Pose can be done in a variety of ways, depending on your level of fitness. This model uses therapy balls for support. Remember, never turn your head in Bridge Pose.

Reverse Plank Pose

More advanced practitioners may enjoy this chest-opening posture, Reverse Plank. Notice how the hands point forward, and the toes are pointed. You shouldn't feel any strain on the lower back or neck; all the support comes from the legs.

Build a Sequence Right for You

No matter what you see in pictures, your yoga pose selection should include the modifications that work best for you. Some days, your balance will be better than others. Other days, you'll feel energized and willing to let your breath advance you deeper into a pose. Listen to your body and find the asanas that fit the needs of the day.

Vist these other slideshows for more posture ideas: Yoga Poses for Confidence and Courage, The Sun Salutation Sequence, and Seated Yoga Poses.

Creating a Yoga Sequence: 11 Tips to Guide You