Health and Fitness: 5 Points to Keep in Mind for Designing Your Own Yoga Sequences

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Yoga is great for your health and fitness, but you can’t always get to the studio. With these 5 points, you’ll be able to design your own yoga sequences so you never have to miss a session whether you’re traveling or snowed in.

Different yoga traditions have their own approaches so you may hear a range of viewpoints on putting together a routine. Fortunately, common sense can guide a lot of your choices. Just like any form of exercise, your session will probably start out with a gentle warm up, move to more intense poses, and then finish up by returning to a slower pace for the cool down. These are 5 additional considerations:

Start out standing: There’s a reason why Sun Salutations usually come first. Large movements targeting large muscle groups help your body to warm up. In addition, it may be easier to hold some standing poses while your legs are still feeling strong.

Work your way up to inversions: Inversions and other challenge poses usually get saved for later. That way your body and mind can get used to going through familiar movements before you tackle the less ordinary stuff.

Come down to the floor: Lying and sitting poses often make up the last phase of your session. These poses can serve many purposes including exercises for your legs and hips, longer stretches, or just pure relaxation.

Pay attention to transitions: The time between poses matters. Resist the urge to shake yourself out. Instead, build in pauses to hold still and complete your poses.

Ask about counterposes: Pratikriya is one Sanskrit term you want to learn. It refers to counterposes that relieve the stress from preceding movements. That’s why you may do forward bends after back bends. Your instructor can suggest other specific moves. If you’re on your own, Downward Dog is often the best guess.

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