Basic Practice: Freeing the Pelvis and Ribcage in Twists

In this twisting practice, the goal is to elongate the trunk and spine so that the pelvis and rib cage can move freely with a certain amount of independence from each other. To help this happen, focus on folding cleanly at the hip crease without collapsing the chest and rounding the back, or without pushing the chest forward and gripping the back. In each of the asymmetrical pose--be they standing, seated or reclined--allow the pelvis and the chest to turn away from each other.

The Sequence:


Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vajrasana (Downward Facing Thunderbolt Pose)

Reclined Glute Stretch

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose) simple variation
• Do the pose with the knees bent and a block between them.
• Do five sets, rolling the pelvis from side to side without holding. Exhale the pelvis out to the side, inhale it back in.
• On the last set, hold the pose for several breaths on each side.

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped behind the Back) in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
• Do both crossings.

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) with the elbows clasped behind the back

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Dandasana (Staff Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3) sitting up on a block or blankets

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into a forward bend

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1) sitting up on a block or blankets

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose) passive variation
• Lie on the floor and release into the pose.

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Year of Yoga: Week 52



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

December 24


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Widespread Feet Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 25


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Virasana with Gomukhasana arms (Hero Pose with Cow Face Pose arms)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 26


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any simple variation, 3-5 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any challenging variation, 3-5 rounds

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Matsyasana (Fish Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 27


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1) twist only

Ardha Matsyendrasana 2 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 2) with Janu Shirshasana legs as an alternative

Parivrtta Janu Shirshasana (Revolved Head of the Knee Pose) with front leg bent if necessary

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 28


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Gomukhasana arms in Virasana (Cow Face Pose arms in Hero Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Pashchima Namaskarasana Virasana (Hero Pose with Reverse Prayer Pose)

Makarasana (Crocodile Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) full pose or table top variation

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 29


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any challenging variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)

Parshvaikapada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)

Parshva Halasana (Side Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 30


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 31


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Child’s Pose

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 52


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Year of Yoga: Week 51



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

December 17


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 18


Sukhasana (Comfortable Pose)

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana in Sukhasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose in Comfortable Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Single Leg Intense West Stretch Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 19


Matsyasana (Fish Pose) with simple crossed legs over a bolster

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 20


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Parivritta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half Moon Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 21


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Pashchima Namaskarasana Virasana (Hero Pose with Reverse Prayer Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 22


Urdhva Baddha Hastasana (Upward Bound Hands Pose) in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Plank Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Plank Pose with the palms turned out (fingers pointing away from each other)

Child’s Pose

Virasana with Gomukhasana arms (Hero Pose with Cow Face Pose arms)

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) with one knee down

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) full pose or with one knee down

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Pashchima Namaskarasana Virasana (Hero Pose with Reverse Prayer Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 23


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 51


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Basic Practice: Releasing the Legs and Hips

In this practice the goal is to soften the whole area of the upper leg/lower abdomen and back/hips by grounding down into the legs and feet. As the legs and feet ground, allow the torso to release as a unit away from the hips towards the head.

The Sequence:

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped behind the back) in Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with a blanket behind the knees

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with the toes turned under

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with the ankles crossed

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with the top of one foot crossed over the arch of the other

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) variation
• Come into the pose with a rolled up blanket or a block under the balls of the feet to create a calf stretch.
• Do the pose with the knees a little bent for about a minute, then pull the thighs up to straighten the legs and hold for the same length of time.
• Keep the center of gravity shifting forward.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Step back out of the previous variation and place the feet flat without lifting the head up.

Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with a block between the thighs

Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hands Pose) with a block between the thighs

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)/Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hands Pose) variation with a block between the thighs
• Put the hands on the hips and, keeping the torso stacked up, flex the ankles to come into a mini-squat. Do not lean forward or back. Hold this position for a few breaths.
• Raise the arms overhead. Hold this position for few breaths.
• Rise up into Urdhva Hastasana by both grounding down into the feet and lifting up through the torso.

Utkatasana (Furious Pose) with a block between the thighs
• Put the hands on the hips and, keeping the torso stacked up, flex the ankles to come into a mini-squat. Do not lean forward or back. Hold this position for a few breaths.
• Hinge forward from the hip crease, keeping the weight centered on the feet and without pushing the chest and back forward or tucking the tailbone. Hold this position for a few breaths.
• Raise the arms overhead. Hold this position for a few breaths.
• Sink deeper into the pose and hold.
• Come out of the pose through Urdhva Hastasana.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with a block between the thighs.
• Put the hands on the hips and, keeping the torso stacked up, flex the ankles to come into a mini-squat. Do not lean forward or back. Hold this position for a few breaths.
• Hinge forward from the hip crease, keeping the weight centered on the feet and without pushing the chest and back forward or tucking the tailbone. Hold this position for a few breaths.
• Sink deeper into the legs and hinge further forward to place the hands on the floor. Hold this position for a few breaths. Place the hands on a block if necessary.
• Draw the block up to straighten the legs into the full pose.

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
• Come into the pose with the front leg a little bent.
• Straighten the leg once in the pose by reaching down into the foot and pulling the thigh and hip up.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with a block between the thighs.
• Come into the pose from the squat as above.

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) variation with the arms down
• Come into the flat back variation of pose with the front leg a little bent.
• Straighten the leg once in the pose by reaching down into the foot and pulling the thigh and hip up.
• Release the head and arms down.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with a block between the thighs.
• Come into the pose from the squat as above.

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Widespread Feet Pose 1)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with a block between the thighs.
• Come into the pose from the squat as above.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Vajrasana (Downward Facing Thunderbolt Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into a forward bend, if possible

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Basic Practice: Strengthening the Back of the Armpits

In this practice the goal is to strengthen the sides of the body, rather than push from the chest or pinch the shoulder blades together. In all the poses, keep the upper back and chest equally wide. Strengthen the triceps and outer edge of the shoulder blade/armpit area by doing the following:
  • Move the shoulder blades down the back, away from the head.
  • Move them forward, onto the back, while widening the ribs into them, creating strength in the outer armpit.
  • In poses with the arms out to the side or by the head, allow the shoulder blades to move with the arms.
  • In poses with the arms behind the back--Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose), Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) and Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)--move the shoulder blades towards the chest and away from the upper arms, softening and widening the chest muscles and collar bones.

The Sequence:

Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with the back against the wall

Side Stretch at wall
• Lean the right side of the body into the wall with the right arm overhead.
• Bend the right elbow, take hold of it with the left hand and draw the arm up and over the top of the head. Hold for a minute or two and repeat on the second side.

Urdhva Baddha Hastasana (Upward Bound Hands Pose) with the back against the wall

Opening Vinyasa:
All Fours
Plank Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Child’s Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Lunge with the back knee up
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Hopping back and forth between Adho Mukha Shvanasana and Uttanasana 3 or 4 times
Child’s Pose

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose) simple variation with the hand on the floor and not crossed over the front thigh

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) variation with the elbow bent and the forearm on the floor

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose)

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped Behind the Back) in Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) with a block under the pelvis

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) from the floor
• 2 or 3 attempts.

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped Behind the Back) in Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top tariation with the hands on blocks
• Do the pose twice.

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) with the feet on blocks
• Either hold on to the ankles directly, or loop a belt around them and hold on to that.

Reclined Hip Stretch

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) with the feet on the floor
• Either hold on to the ankles directly, or loop a belt around them and hold on to that.

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2) with the leg resting on a block, blanket or bolster

Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) with the feet on the wall

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose) soft variation with the hips and waist on the Sarvangasana blankets

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with a lift under the trunk


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Year of Yoga: Week 50



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

December 10


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 11


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Intense West Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 12


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 13


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Makarasana (Crocodile Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 14


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lunge with the back knee up

Lunge with the back knee down and the hands on the floor

Lunge with the back knee down and the hands on the front thigh

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 15


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Include any variation of Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) in your sequence.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Reverse Bound Hands Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Pashchima Namaskarasana (Reverse Prayer Pose)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 16


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 50


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Year of Yoga: Week 49



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

December 3


Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half Moon Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 4


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) seated variation only

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) seated variation only

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) seated variation only

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) seated variation only

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Intense West Stretch Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) seated variation only

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 5


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any challenging variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extend Feet Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) seated upright only

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 6


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Intense West Stretch Pose)

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only with forward bend

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose) simple variation with the legs resting on the floor

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 7


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 8


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Reverse Bound Hands Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Pashchima Namaskarasana (Reverse Prayer Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) full pose or with one knee down

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 9


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 49


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Intermediate Practice: The Pillars of the Armpit, Part 2

Once again, the theme of this practice is balancing the front and back body by creating space in the armpits, especially in inversions such as Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand) and in bound poses such as Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2).

To recap the key points of our previous practice, consider the following as you go through the poses:
  • Soften and widen the deltoids, allowing them to wrap around the shoulder joints.
  • Soften and hollow out the armpits, allowing them to dome into the shoulder joint.
  • When the arms are weight-bearing, balance the weight evenly between each of the four armpit pillars: two on the left, two on the right. Some of us will sit more in the outer/back armpit, some of us will be more in the inner/front. Some people might even have one tendency in one shoulder and the opposite in the other.
  • Stretch evenly through both armpit pillars.

To create more freedom in the chest and shoulder by considering the following sequence of actions:
  • Bring weight into the outer armpit pillar to free up the inner armpit/top chest.
  • Hollow out the armpit itself and excavate out space inside the inner armpit, separating it away from the underlying ribs.
  • Maintaining that space and separation, bring weight back into the inner armpit pillar, balancing out front and back.
  • Cycle through these action several times to help free and open the chest.

The Sequence:

Opening Wall Stretches:
• Side stretch at wall: Lean the right side of the body into the wall with the right arm overhead. Bend the right elbow, take hold of it with the left hand and draw the arm up and over the top of the head. Hold for a minute or two and repeat on the second side.
• Chest opener: Stand with the right hand on the wall at shoulder height. Keeping the shoulder blade down the back, spread the fingers and palms and straighten the elbow. Hold this position for several seconds. Without lifting the shoulder blade, turn the chest away from the wall. Hold this for several seconds. Release and repeat on the second side.
• Shoulder Stretch at wall: Place the forearms and elbows on the wall with the palms together. Make a right angle at the hips with the feet under the pelvis hip width apart. Draw the inner thighs back and reach the arms forward.

Plank Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Plank Pose

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand) with the palms turned out

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand) with the palms in the regular position

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand) with the palms turned in

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)
• Have the hands flat on the floor on either side of the feet. If you are unable to get the heel of the hand all the way down, put the hands on blocks.

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) with the palms flat on blocks
• Do both variations: arms under the shoulders and the back flat; arms out alongside the ears.

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) INTO Salamba Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand 2) INTO
Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1)

Salamba Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand 2)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Chair Sequence:
Single Leg Ankle to Knee Stretch
Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)
• Bind one leg in Ardha Padmasana (Half Lotus Pose) with one foot on the floor and twist.
Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense Stretch Pose)
• Unbound, using the chair for balance.
Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense Stretch Pose)
• Bound, using the chair for balance.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Chatushpadasana (Four Footed Pose)
• Do the pose twice.

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 2 (Shoulder Stand 2) variation with the wrists belted
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Halasana (Plough Pose) with all the arm variations
Karnapidasana (Pressure on the Ear Pose)
Supta Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Parshvaikapada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)

Ardha Baddha Padma Pashchimottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense West Stretch Pose)
• Do the pose at first with the full binding, then release the bind and clasp the foot of the extended leg.

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Year of Yoga: Week 48



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

November 26


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped Behind the Back) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 27


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped Behind the Back) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 28


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped Behind the Back) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 29


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped Behind the Back) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs facing Single Leg Intense West Stretch Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 30


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped Behind the Back) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 1


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped Behind the Back) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Eka Pada Bakasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


December 2


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 48


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Basic Practice: Legs, Lower Back and Core

In our last practice, we dealt with the front of the body, here we are going to focus
buttocks
on the back of the body. In particular, we need to think about the buttocks as we work towards some baby backbends.

Gluteus maximus, the largest, most superficial muscle of the buttock area, has two effects on the thighs and back when contracted. When the lower fibers contract, the thigh bones are turned out in the hip sockets and pulled away from each other, causing the back body to become narrowed. This action will be detrimental in poses where the hip joint is opening up, or extending, causing the lower back to crunch. Contraction of the upper fibers, however, is what makes the hip joint extend, so it is not helpful to have the buttocks completely soft.

When performing these poses, consider the following actions:
  • Strengthen and lengthen the inner thighs, the adductor muscles.
  • Soften the lower buttocks.
  • Widen and lengthen the upper buttocks down the length of the body, away from the head.
  • Lengthen the sides of the waist, drawing the abdomen up towards the head.
  • Soften and widen the back of the neck.


The Sequence:

Opening Vinyasa:
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Child’s Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Adho Mukha Vajrasana (Downward Facing Thunderbolt Pose)
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Lunge With the back leg up
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Child’s Pose

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1) with the hands on the hips

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose) with a foam block between the feet

Shalabhasana 2 (Locust Pose 2) with a foam block between the feet

Sphinx Pose

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Eka Pada Dhanurasana
• From Sphinx Pose, bring one forearm across the body, reach back and do bow pose on one side, then switch.

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
• Do this twice.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into a forward bend

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga", Round-Up [Light on Yoga]

Here is a breakdown with links to each section of our series in which we pick apart an advanced sequence from “Light on Yoga”:

  1. The Full Practice
  2. Breaking Down the Practice and a Basic Expression of the Scheme
  3. An Outline of a Working Methodology and Breaking Down the Vishamanyasa Sequence
  4. Breaking Down the Arm Balance Vishamanyasa and Twists
  5. Breaking Down the Arm Balance Vishamanyasa and the Groin/Hamstring Openers
  6. Breaking Down the Inverted Back Bends
  7. Breaking Down Mandalasana (Mandala Pose)
  8. Breaking Down the Advanced Baby Back Bends
  9. Breaking Down the Combination Hip Flexion/Extension Poses
  10. Breaking Down the Deep Outward Hip Rotation Poses
  11. Breaking Down the Twists and the Extreme Hip Flexion Poses
  12. Edited Sequence 1: Vishamanyasa and Groin and Hamstring Openers
  13. Edited Sequence 2: Vishamanyasa, Twists and Deep Outward Hip Rotation
  14. Edited Sequence 3: Inverted Back Bends
  15. Edited Sequence 4: Advanced Baby Back Bends


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Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga", Part 15 [Light on Yoga]

[Part 1 of this series, in which we pick apart an advanced sequence from “Light on Yoga”, can be found here.]

In this, the final practice edited for time, and the final practice of the series, we will look at a sequence that focuses on the advanced baby backbends, poses such as Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana (Single Leg King Pigeon Pose).

The Sequence:

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand)

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over a chair

Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana 1 (Single Leg King Pigeon Pose 1)

Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana 2 (Single Leg King Pigeon Pose 2)

Padangustha Dhanurasana (Big Toe Bow Pose)

Bhujangasana 2 (Cobra Pose 2)

Rajakapotasana (King Pigeon Pose)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Paripurna Matsyendrasana (Full Lord of the Fishes Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Posts:

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga,” Round-Up


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Intermediate Practice: The Pillars of the Armpit

This practice marks the beginning of a multi-week series focusing on upper body strength and the use of the armpit. One can think of the armpit as being bounded by two pillars of strength, one coming from the front body via pectoralis major, one from the back via latissimus dorsi. These muscles both attach to the upper arm deep in the armpit at the same place on the humerus. When front and back are in balance, the sides of the body are then free to deepen front to back/back to front and become more supportive.

As you go through the poses, consider the following actions:
  • Soften and widen the deltoids, allowing them to wrap around the shoulder joints.
  • Soften and hollow out the armpits, allowing them to dome into the shoulder joint.
  • When the arms are weight-bearing, balance the weight evenly between each of the four armpit pillars: two on the left, two on the right. Some of us will sit more in the outer/back armpit, some of us will be more in the inner/front. Some people might even have one tendency in one shoulder and the opposite in the other.
  • Stretch evenly through both armpit pillars.

Very often the top of the chest/inner armpit area gets very bunched up and undifferentiated. To create more freedom in the chest and shoulder by considering the following sequence of actions:
  • Bring weight into the outer armpit pillar to free up the inner armpit/top chest.
  • Hollow out the armpit itself and excavate out space inside the inner armpit, separating it away from the underlying ribs.
  • Maintaining that space and separation, bring weight back into the inner armpit pillar, balancing out front and back.
  • Cycle through these action several times to help free and open the chest.

In some poses, such as Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) and Chatushpadasana (Four Footed Pose) you will find that the weight falls into the back of the armpit rather than the front. In that case, begin the above sequence by bringing weight into the front/inner armpit first.

I’ve found that some people with very open chests and shoulders can over-work this and push further into their tendency. If you know yourself to be such a person, be vigilant not to overdo these actions. Focus on always keeping the weight balanced between front and aback, inner and outer.

The Sequence:

Opening Wall Stretches:
• Side stretch at wall: Lean the right side of the body into the wall with the right arm overhead. Bend the right elbow, take hold of it with the left hand and draw the arm up and over the top of the head. Hold for a minute or two and repeat on the second side.
• Chest opener: Stand with the right hand on the wall at shoulder height. Keeping the shoulder blade down the back, spread the fingers and palms and straighten the elbow. Hold this position for several seconds. Without lifting the shoulder blade, turn the chest away from the wall. Hold this for several seconds. Release and repeat on the second side.
• Shoulder Stretch at wall: Place the forearms and elbows on the wall with the palms together. Make a right angle at the hips with the feet under the pelvis hip width apart. Draw the inner thighs back and reach the arms forward.

Opening Vinyasa:
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
Lunge with the back knee up
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose) simple variation: one hand down without crossing the arm over the front leg
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose)
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)
• Practice the pose once with the hands turned out.
• Practice the pose again with the hands on the regular position.

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand)

Salamba Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand 2)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation with the hands on blocks

Chatushpadasana (Four Footed Pose)

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 2 (Shoulder Stand 2) variation
• Belt the wrists at shoulder width, press out into the belt and reach through the arms. Come up into the pose grounding down through the upper arms with a minimum of momentum.
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Salamba Sarvangasana 2 (Shoulder Stand 2)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 1 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 1)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 2 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 2)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Padangustha Dhanurasana (Big Toe Bow Pose)
• Use a belt to hold onto the feet if necessary.

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose) preparation
• Lift up and place the head crown of the head on the floor. Hold this position.
• Repeat 2 or 3 times.

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)
• Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Year of Yoga: Week 47



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

November 19


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 20


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Intense West Stretch Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 21


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 22


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1) twist only

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 23


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 24


Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) with a bolster across the back

Parvatasana in Virasana (Mountain Pose in Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Matsyasana (Fish Pose) with a bolster across the back

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Pashchima Namaskarasana in Virasana (Reverse Prayer Pose in Hero Pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) with a bolster across the back
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose) with a bolster across the back

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 25


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 47


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Basic Practice: Legs, Abdomen and Core

In each of these poses, think of the following three actions:
  • Strengthen and lengthen the inner thighs.
  • Widen the hip creases and lower abdomen.
  • Strengthen the sides of the waist and either stretch them towards the head (most of the poses), into the floor (Ardha Navasana/Half Boat Pose) or towards the ceiling (Setu Bandha/Bridge Pose and the Sarvangasana variations).

The Sequence:

Opening Vinyasa:
[Hold each pose for several breaths.]

Child’s Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Child’s Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) walking the hands back to the feet
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) stepping or hopping the feet forward between the hands
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose
Plank Pose with the toes pointed
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) stepping or hopping the feet forward between the hands
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose
Plank Pose with the toes pointed
Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) stepping or hopping the feet forward between the hands
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose
Plank Pose with the toes pointed
Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose with the toes pointed
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) stepping or hopping the feet forward between the hands
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Child’s Pose

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3) variation
• Loop a shoulder-width belt around the wrists behind the back.
• Press out into the belt to strengthen the arms and stretch the sides of the torso from the hips to the head.
• Go into the pose with the arms behind the back in this way.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose) Cycle:
[Hold each stage for a few breaths.]

Dandasana (Staff Pose) with a foam block between the feet
Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose) prep with the legs bent, feet off the ground and the hands on the floor
Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose) prep with the legs bent, holding onto the thighs
Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose) prep with the legs bent and the arms extended forward
Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose) Cycle:
[In this cycle, keep the lower back on the floor. Hold each stage for a few breaths.]

Resting Pose with the feet flat, the knees up and the hands on the abdomen
Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose) prep with the feet flat and the head, chest and shoulder blades curled up
Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose) variation with one foot flat and the other leg lifted, both sides
Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose) variation with both legs lifted
Resting Pose with the feet flat, the knees up and the hands on the abdomen

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)
• Feet up on blocks, holding on to the ankles directly, or with a belt.

Sarvangasana Cycle with a chair:
Halasana (Plough Pose) with the feet on the chair
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand) with one foot on the chair, both sides
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Halasana (Plough Pose) with the feet on the chair

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga", Part 14 [Light on Yoga]

[Part 1 of this series, in which we pick apart an advanced sequence from “Light on Yoga”, can be found here.]

In this third of our sequences edited for time, we will focus on the inverted backbends, such as Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (Two Leg Inverted Staff Pose).

The Sequence:

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)
• 2 to 3 repetitions.

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
• 3 to 5 repetitions.

Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (Two Leg Inverted Staff Pose)

Mandalasana (Mandala Pose)

Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana 1 (Single Leg Inverted Staff Pose 1)

Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana 2 (Single Leg Inverted Staff Pose 2)

Chakrabandhasana (Wheel Lock Pose)
• If you are unable to grab your ankles in this pose, simple work on bringing your hands and feet closer to each other.

Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Paripurna Matsyendrasana (Full Lord of the Fishes Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)

Next time, our practice will feature the advanced baby back bends.


Related Posts:

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga,” Round-Up


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Intermediate Practice: Moving From the First Four Ribs

In this practice consider the following actions:
  • Expand the first four ribs evenly, softening and widening the upper back and the top chest evenly.
  • Allow the shoulder blades and collarbones to be supported by the first four ribs, but also allow them to move with the arms.

The Sequence:

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Take a few minutes to allow the upper body, head, neck, shoulders and arms to release.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Reverse Bound Hands Pose) in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
• Clasp the elbows behind the back and hold. Do both crossings.

Chaturanga Block Sequence:
[Cycle through these poses, resting the chest on a block in Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) and pushing it forward to come up into Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose).]

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose
Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)
Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
• Cycle through these 5 to 8 times.

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand)

Salamba Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand 2)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Chatushpadasana (Four Footed pose)

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 2 (Shoulder Stand 2) variation with the arms shoulder width and the wrists belted
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Salamba Sarvangasana 2 (Shoulder Stand 2)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 1 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 1)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 2 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 2)
Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Intermediate Practice: Freeing the Neck and the First Four Ribs in Pranayama

In this practice, focus on freeing up the movement of the first four ribs. With each exhalation, allow them to drape down the body, retracting inwards away from the skin. With each inhalation, allow them to lift and open. Encourage this movement to happen slowly and evenly around their circumference.

The Sequence:

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) on ropes with the head supported

Rope Shirshasana (Head Stand)

Rope Child’s Pose
• Hang forward over the rope set up with the legs tucked in underneath you, against the wall as if in Child’s Pose.

Side Stretch over a bolster

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over a chair

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with a roll under the neck for traction

Adho Mukha Shavasana (Downward Facing Corpse Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with a sandbag on the the sternum

Ujjayi Pranayama 4 (Victorious Breath 4) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Ujjayi 4 is an easy, full inhalation and exhalation performed in a reclined position.
• 5 minutes with a belt loosely tied around the waist at the level of the navel, softening and evening out the movement of the abdominal wall into and out of the belt.
• 5 minutes with the belt loosely around the lower ribs/diaphragm, softening and evening out the movement of the rib cage into and out of the belt.
• 5 minutes with the belt loosely around the upper ribs/top of the chest, softening and evening out the movement of the rib cage into and out of the belt.

Viloma Pranayama 1 (Interrupted Breath) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Viloma 1 is a full inhalation, divided into three increments by a brief pause before a long, easy exhalation.
• 5 minutes, filling first the lower abdomen, then the upper abdomen and finally the rib cage.

Ujjayi Pranayama 8 (Victorious Breath 4) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Ujjayi 4 is an easy, full inhalation and exhalation performed in a seated position.
• Place a tennis ball, or a rolled up wash cloth, under each armpit to support the arms and rease the neck and shoulders.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Basic Practice: Lengthening the Sides and Across the Diagonal of the Torso

In this sequence, focus on lengthening both sides of the torso to separate the rib cage from the pelvis, providing the length and freedom in the spine necessary to move freely in twists. Make sure to keep both sides of the body parallel, not crunching one side and over-stretching the other, causing the sine to flex laterally.

In all of the poses, but especially in the twists, focus on lengthening across the diagonal of the body: left shoulder moving away from right hip, right hip moving away from left shoulder and vice versa.

The Sequence:

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) with the feet on blocks

Reclined Hip Stretch

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose) simple variation with the forearm on the thigh’

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose) with the hand on a block

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Dandasana (Staff Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1) preparation, hugging one knee in at a time only

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1) twist only

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Basic Practice: Strengthening and Lengthening the Sides of the Torso

In this sequence, consider where the strength of the arms is coming from. Instead of the shoulders and shoulder blades being attached to the neck, think of them as dropping down and being supported by the ribs underneath them. Widen the ribs in the front and back body evenly, reaching the arms from them instead of pushing from the shoulders or the chest. Allow the collar bones and shoulder blades to widen into the arms.

The Sequence:

Side Stretch at the wall
• Stand with the feet together about eight to twelve inches away from the wall and lean the right hip, waist and ribs against it. Reach the right arm up. Pause here for a few breaths.
• Come up onto the balls of the feet. Stay here for a few breaths.
• Slowly drop the right heel, resisting up through the ribs and arms to lengthen out the right side of the waist. When the right heel is down, drop the left.
• Bend the right elbow and clasp it with the left hand. Draw the upper arm bone up towards the ceiling. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Take the tip of the elbow up and over the top of the head while keeping the outer armpit moving into the wall. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Turn the chest a slightly into the middle of the room to send the stretch towards the back. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Release and repeat on the second side.

Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms with the back against the wall

Child’s Pose

Child’s Pose INTO Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Plank Pose INTO Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Reverse Bound Hands Pose) in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
• Clasp the elbows behind the back and hold. Do both crossings.

Chaturanga Block Sequence:
[Cycle through these poses, resting the chest on a block in Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) and pushing it forward to come up into Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose).]

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose
Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)
Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
• Cycle through these 3 to 5 times.

Utthita Hastasana (Extended Hands Pose)
• Spread the arms in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) and hold.

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) with the elbow bent and the forearm on the ground

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) with one knee down

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) Table Top Variation with the hands on blocks

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) with the feet on blocks

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) with the feet on the floor

Reclined Hip Stretch

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1) with the feet on the wall

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga", Part 13 [Light on Yoga]

[Part 1 of this series, in which we pick apart an advanced sequence from “Light on Yoga”, can be found here.]

In this practice, the second of our sequences edited for time, we are focusing on the twists and the deep hip openers.

The Sequence:

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Arm Balance/Back Bend Vishamanyasa:
Urdhva Kukkutasana (Upward Cockerel Pose)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Parshva Kukkutasana (Side Cockerel Pose)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Parshva Bakasana ( Side Crow Pose)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Dwi Pada Koundinyasana (Two Leg Koundinya’s Pose)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1 (Single Leg Koundinya’s Pose 1)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)

Ankle-to-Knee Cycle:
[Do each of the following four hip openers all on one crossing and then all on the other.]

Ankle to Knee Pose
Revolved Ankle to Knee Pose
• Twist to the side of the top foot.
Side Ankle to Knee Pose
• Extended forward over the side of the top foot.
Ankle to Knee Pose

Yogadandasana (Yoga Staff Pose)

Eka Pada Mulabandhasana (Single Leg Root Lock Pose)
• Also known as Janu Shirshasana C in the Ashtanga Vinyasa Primary Series.

Mulabandhasana (Root Lock Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Kandasana (Knot Pose)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Paripurna Matsyendrasana (Full Lord of the Fishes Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Next time, our edited practice will feature the inverted back bends.


Related Posts:

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga,” Round-Up


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Year of Yoga: Week 46



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

November 12


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Widespread Feet Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 13


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Virasana with Gomukhasana arms (Hero Pose with Cow Face Pose arms)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 14


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any challenging variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Matsyasana (Fish Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 15


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1) twist only

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 16


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Gomukhasana arms in Virasana (Cow Face Pose arms in Hero Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Pashchima Namaskarasana Virasana (Hero Pose with Reverse Prayer Pose)

Makarasana (Crocodile Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) full pose or table top variation

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 17


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any challenging variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)

Parshvaikapada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)

Parshva Halasana (Side Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 18


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 46


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Year of Yoga: Week 45



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

November 5


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Child’s Pose

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 6


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Child’s Pose

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 7


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Child’s Pose

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 8


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Child’s Pose

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 9


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Child’s Pose

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 10


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Child’s Pose

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 11


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 45


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Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga", Part 12 [Light on Yoga]

[Part 1 of this series, in which we pick apart an advanced sequence from “Light on Yoga”, can be found here.]

Up to now we have been dissecting our advanced practice and exploring sequences to help us master the more challenging transitions and poses featured there. The full practice is quite long and very demanding from an endurance perspective. For the next few weeks we will take the practice as it stands and break it down into shorter pieces which will allow us to cycle through all the important parts over a series of days, rather than all in one big chunk. Each of these shorter practices will also include a few poses to prepare the body for the more advanced work,

In this first practice, the focus is elements of the arm balance vishamanyasa, the deep groin and hamstring openers and the deep forward bends.

The Sequence:

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense Stretch Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Arm Balance/Back Bend Vishamanyasa:
Bakasana (Crow Pose)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2 (Single Leg Koundinya’s Pose 2)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Eka Pada Bakasana 1 (Single Leg Crow Pose 1)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Eka Pada Bakasana 2 (Single Leg Crow Pose 2)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)

Hanumanasana (Hanuman’s Pose)

Samakonasana (Straight Angle Pose)

Supta Trivikramasana (Reclined Three Strides Pose)

Yogadandasana (Yoga Staff Pose)

Kandasana (Knot Pose)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Yoganidrasana (Yoga Sleep Pose)

Dwi Pada Shirshasana (Two Legs Behind the Head Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Next time we’ll focus on the deep hip openers and the twists.


Related Posts:

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga,” Round-Up


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Year of Yoga: Week 44



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

October 29


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Trikonsana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 30


Sukhasana (Comfortable Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Virasana with Gomukhasana arms (Hero Pose with Cow Face Pose arms)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Single Leg Intense West Stretch Pose)

Mairchyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 31


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Plank Pose

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Shalabhasana 1 (Locust Pose 1)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Matsyasana (Fish Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 1


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 2


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Pashchima Namaskarasana Virasana (Hero Pose with Reverse Prayer Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Parshva Dhanurasana (Side Bow Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 3


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any challenging variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) full pose or with one knee down

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Pashchima Namaskarasana Virasana (Hero Pose with Reverse Prayer Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


November 4


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 44


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Intermediate Practice: Balancing the Front and Back Body in Back Bends

This practice moves towards some deep back bends which require width across the back so as not crunch the lumbar area. In order to support the extension of the spine, consider the following actions as you work your way through the poses:
  • Allow the scapulae and the clavicles to move with arms to keep the shoulders and chest free.
  • Balance the gluteal wall—the plain of the body that contains gluteus maximus—with the lower abdominal wall. This means keeping them both wide, supple and supportive.
  • Balance the pectoral wall—the plain of the body that contains pectoralis major—with the rhomboid wall—the plain of the body that contains the rhomboids. Again, this means keeping them both wide, supple and supportive.
  • Direct the rhomboid and the gluteal walls towards the legs and the abdominal and pectoral walls towards the head.

The Sequence:

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head on blocks

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana Arm Variation Cycle:
• Regular arm position.
• Hands turned out so fingertips point away from each other.
• Hands turned in so fingertips point towards each other.
• Hands turned back so fingertips point back, reverse of regular hand position. If you are unable to do this variation, try turning one hand back in the pose at a time.

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Bog Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Bog Toe Pose 2)

Chatushpadasana (Four Footed Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Chatushpadasana (Four Footed Pose)

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand)

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over a chair

Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose) over a chair

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose) Cycle:
[Do each of these poses with a chair set on the mat against the wall.]

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)
• Do the pose with the front foot up on the seat of the chair.
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
• From Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand), walk the feet down the wall to a middle rope hook, if available, or to the back of the chair. Hold for a few moments then swing the legs back into Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose).
Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)
• Do the pose with the front foot up on the seat of the chair.
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
• From Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand), walk the feet down the wall to the back of the chair. Hold for a few moments then swing the legs back into Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose).
Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)
• Do the pose with the front foot up on the seat of the chair.
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
• From Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand), walk the feet down the wall to the seat of the chair. Hold for a few moments then swing the legs back into Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose).

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with the calves on the chair


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Basic Practice: Upper Body Strength from the Arms, Chest Sides and Back

This practice is all about upper body strength, but not just the strength of the chest, shoulders and arms. In addition, think about supporting the arms and shoulders by detaching them from the neck and allowing them to rest on the rib cage. Expand the ribcage evenly—front and back, left and right—to support the weight of the arms.

The Sequence:

Side Stretch at the wall
• Stand with the feet together about eight to twelve inches away from the wall and lean the right hip, waist and ribs against it. Reach the right arm up. Pause here for a few breaths.
• Come up onto the balls of the feet. Stay here for a few breaths.
• Slowly drop the right heel, resisting up through the ribs and arms to lengthen out the right side of the waist. When the right heel is down, drop the left.
• Bend the right elbow and clasp it with the left hand. Draw the upper arm bone up towards the ceiling. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Take the tip of the elbow up and over the top of the head while keeping the outer armpit moving into the wall. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Turn the chest a slightly into the middle of the room to send the stretch towards the back. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Release and repeat on the second side.

Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms with the back against the wall

Urdhva Baddha Hastasana (Upward Bound Hands Pose) with the back against the wall

All Fours INTO Child’s Pose

All Fours INTO Child’s Pose INTO Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

All Fours INTO Plank Pose INTO Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart, clasping the elbows

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped Behind the Back) in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Chaturanga Cycle with Block:
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose
Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)
• Lower down into the pose with the chest resting on a block.
Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
• From Chaturanga Dandasana, push the block forward with the chest to lift up into the pose.
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Repeat the whole cycle 3 to 6 times.

Utthita Hasta Padasana (Extended Hands and Feet Pose)
• Pause here for a few moments before moving into the next pose.

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) with the elbow bent

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) with the knee on the ground

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation with the hands on blocks

Setu Bandha With the feet on blocks

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1) with the feet on the wall

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with the torso on a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Basic Practice: Lengthening the Front and Widening the Back

As the sequence moves into progressively deeper back bends, focus on keeping the back—the back ribs, the lower back and the buttocks—as wide as possible, expanding the ribs to support the back muscles.

The Sequence:

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

All Fours INTO Child’s Pose

Plank INTO Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lunge with the back leg up

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vajrasana (Downward Facing Thunderbolt Pose)

Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hands Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hands Pose) INTO Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1) with the hands on the hips

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) with the hips resting on a block

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Shalabhasana 2 (Locust Pose 2)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) with the feet on blocks

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) with the feet on the floor

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Vajrasana (Downward Facing Thunderbolt Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose) soft variation, releasing into the pose

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga", Part 11 [Light on Yoga]

[Part 1 of this series, in which we pick apart an advanced sequence from “Light on Yoga”, can be found here.]

In our final exploration of the more challenging poses of our sequence, we are going to have a look at both the twists, culminating in Paripurna Matsyendrasana (Full Lord of the Fishes Pose), and the extreme hip flexions, Yoganidrasana (Yoga Sleep Pose) and Dwi Pada Shirshasana (Both Legs Behind the Head Pose).

These poses all require a lot of space around the hip joint. The inner thighs and the gluteals need to be opened up for the proper placement of the legs.

The Sequence:

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Shirshasana Cycle:
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Parshva Shirshasana (Side Head Stand)
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Revolved Single Leg Head Stand)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand)
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshvaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Karnapidasana (Pressure in the Ear Pose)
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Parshva Halasana (Side Plough Pose)
Parshva Karnapidasana (Side Pressure on the Ear Pose)
Urdhva Padmasana (Upward Lotus Pose)
Pindasana (Embryo Pose)
Parshva Pindasana (Side Embryo Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana Cycle:
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) with the head down
Supta Padangusthasana 3 (Reclined big Toe Pose 3)
Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) with the head up

Ankle-to-Knee Cycle:
[Do each of the following four hip openers all on one crossing and then all on the other.]

Ankle to Knee Pose
Revolved Ankle to Knee Pose
• Twist to the side of the top foot.
Side Ankle to Knee Pose
• Extended forward over the side of the top foot.
Ankle to Knee Pose

Ardha Baddha Padma Pashchimottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense West Stretch Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Marichyasana 4 (Marichi’s Pose 4)

Paripurna Matsyendrasana (Full Lord of the Fishes Pose)

Eka Hasta Bhujasana (Single Hand and Arm Pose)

Dwi Hasta Bhujasana (Both Hands and Arms Pose)

Kurmasana (Turtle Pose)

Supta Kurmasana (Sleeping Turtle Pose)

Yoganidrasana (Yoga Sleep Pose)

Dwi Pada Shirshasana (Both Legs Behind the Head Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


For the next few weeks, we will look at ways to break our advanced sequence down into smaller chunks with appropriate necessary preparation for each of the main practice sections.


Related Posts:

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga,” Round-Up


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Year of Yoga: Week 43



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

October 22


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Utthita Trikonsana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 23


Sukhasana (Comfortable Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Adho Mukha Virasana (Downward Facing Hero Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Single Leg Intense West Stretch Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 24


Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 25


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 26


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Pashchima Namaskarasana Virasana (Hero Pose with Reverse Prayer Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Parshva Dhanurasana (Side Bow Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 27


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any challenging variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) with one knee down

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) full pose or with one knee down

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Pashchima Namaskarasana Virasana (Hero Pose with Reverse Prayer Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 28


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 43


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Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga", Part 10 [Light on Yoga]

[Part 1 of this series, in which we pick apart an advanced sequence from “Light on Yoga”, can be found here.]

The next challenge that we must tackle in our sequence is a collection of three deep outward rotations of the thigh in the hip socket: Yogadandasana (Yoga Staff Pose), Mulabandhasana (Root Lock Pose) and Kandasana (Knot Pose). Each of these poses are quite tricky, as they require not only open hip joints, but also mobile knees, lower legs, ankles and toes.

The Sequence:

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with a blanket behind the knees

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with the toes turned under

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) with the shins together

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) with the heels apart

Upavishtha Garudasana (Seated Eagle Pose)
• Sitting on the floor, cross the right leg over the left as for Garudasana (Eagle Pose).
• Turn to your left, bringing the right knee across the body and onto the floor. Turn to face the floor, supporting yourself on your elbows and walk the trunk around to face the wall behind you. Hold this pose for half a minute.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Shirshasana Cycle:
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshvaikapada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Shoulder Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Shoulder Stand
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Urdhva Padmasana (Upward Lotus Pose) in Shoulder Stand
Pindasana (Embryo Pose) in Shoulder Stand

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Ankle-to-Knee Cycle:
[Do each of the following four hip openers all on one crossing and then all on the other.]

Ankle to Knee Pose
Revolved Ankle to Knee Pose
• Twist to the side of the top foot.
Side Ankle to Knee Pose
• Extended forward over the side of the top foot.
Ankle to Knee Pose

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Ardha Baddha Padma Pashchimottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense West Stretch Pose)

Eka Pada Mulabandhasana (Single Leg Root Lock Pose)
• This is also known as Janu Shirshasana C in the Ashtanga Vinyasa Primary Series.

Yogadandasana (Yoga Staff Pose)

Baddha Konasana Cycle:
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) at the wall
• Come into the pose sitting up on one or two folded blankets with the back against the wall.
• Hold for 1 to 2 minutes.
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) at the wall with a block between the feet
• From the above position, place a block between the feet.
• Hold for 1 to 2 minutes.
Kandasana (Knot Pose) at the wall with the feet on a block
• From the above position, place the block under the feet.
• Hold for 1 to 2 minutes.
Mulabandhasana (Root Lock Pose) at the wall
• Take the block away and turn the toes under and the heels up.
• Place a wedge between the heels and the pubic bone and use it to gently lever the heels away from the body.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose) with the back against the wall and a block between the thighs
• Make sure to keep the knees directly over the ankles.
• This will help to strengthen and stabilize the knee joint. (See Sandy Blaine’s excellent “Yoga for Healthy Knees.”)
• Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose) with a roll under the bottom of the thighs
• Have the roll under the thigh bones just above the knees and press down into it, activating the lower thigh muscles.
• This is another excellent knee stabilizer.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with the legs elevated, either on a chair or a bolster


Next time we’ll look at the final two sections of our practice, the deep twists and forward bends.


Related Posts:

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga,” Round-Up


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Intermediate Practice: Releasing the Abdominal Enclosure

In this practice think about softening and releasing the entire abdominal enclosure: the abdominal wall in the front, the lower back, the pelvic floor and the diaphragm.

The Sequence:

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose with a blanket roll under the abdomen

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose) restorative version with the knees bent

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Shirshasana Cycle:
Child’s Pose in Head Stand
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Child’s Pose in Head Stand

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over a chair

Sarvangasana Chair Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) over a chair
Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) over a chair with the legs in Supta Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose), the feet resting on the back of the chair
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shavasana (Downward Facing Corpse Pose)

Ujjayi Pranayama 4 (Victorious Breath 4) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Ujjayi 4 is an easy, full inhalation and exhalation performed in a reclined position.
• 5 minutes with a folded up belt or wash cloth under the tailbone, softening and widening the muscles of the pelvic floor.
• 5 minutes with a belt loosely around the waist at the level of the navel, softening and evening out the movement of the abdominal wall into and out of the belt.
• 5 minutes with the belt loosely around the lower ribs/diaphragm, softening and evening out the movement of the rib cage into and out of the belt.

Viloma Pranayama 1 (Interrupted Breath) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Viloma 1 is a full inhalation, divided into three increments by a brief pause before a long, easy exhalation.
• 5 minutes, filling first the lower abdomen, then the upper abdomen and finally the rib cage.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Basic Practice: Oppositional Action Along and Across the Body

Each of these poses require a certain amount of oppositional action in the body. As you go through the sequence, think about the legs reaching one way and the torso and arms reaching the other way to create length and strength. In the twisted poses, think of elongating across the diagonal: the opposite leg and arm/shoulder elongating away from each other.

The Sequence:

Opening Vinyasa:
Child’s Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Child’s Pose
Lunge with the back leg straight
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet hip width apart
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Child’s Pose

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose) variation
• With the arms reaching overhead, lift and lower one leg only five times. Then repeat with the other leg.

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose) with the arms down by the sides

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose) with the arms overhead if possible

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)
• Do the pose with the knees bent and a foam block between them.

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)
• Do the pose with a foam block between the feet. Start with the knees bent and then work on straightening them once you have the twist well established.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)
• Flat back only, with the hands on the shin or on blocks.

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)
• Flat back only, with the elbows clasped behind the back.

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)
• Simple variation, coming into it from Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose), stepping forward into a lunge and placing the hand down inside the foot rather than crossing the arm over.

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) with the feet on blocks

Reclined Hip Stretch

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) with the feet on the floor

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1) with the feet on the wall

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Year of Yoga: Week 42



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

October 15


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half Moon Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 16


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 17


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 18


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 19


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 20


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any challenging variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Pashchima Namaskarasana Virasana (Hero Pose with Reverse Prayer Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose)

Garudasana arms in Virasana (Eagle Pose arms in Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 21


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 42


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Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga", Part 9 [Light on Yoga]

[Part 1 of this series, in which we pick apart an advanced sequence from “Light on Yoga”, can be found here.]

Our advanced sequence truly features a bit of everything. After all the arm balances and all the back bends comes lots of deep work in and around the hip joint. The three poses that we are focusing on this time—Hanumanasana (Hanuman’s Pose), Samakonasana (Same Angle Pose) and Supta Trivikramasana (Reclined Three Strides Pose)—are each a variation of a deep split, requiring length and freedom in both the font of the hip joint, the hip flexors, lower abdomen and quadriceps, behind it, in the buttock, the lower back and the hamstring, and in the inner thighs.

The Sequence:

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Padangusthasana (Big Toe Pose)

Padahastasana (Hand Under Foot Pose)

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense Stretch Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Ekapadasana (Single Leg Extended Up Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Shirshasana Cycle:
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Revolved Single Leg Head Stand)
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshvaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Parshvaikapada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)
Eka Pada Setu Bandha (Single Leg Bridge Pose)
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Parivrtta Janu Shirshasana (Revolved Head of the Knee Pose)

Lunge Series:
Lunge with the hands on the floor and the back knee up
Lung with the hands on the floor and the back knee down
Lunge with the hands on high blocks and the back knee down
Lunge with the hands on high blocks and the front foot on a low block
Lunge with the hands on high blocks and the back toes on a low block

Hanumanasana (Hanuman’s Pose)
• If you are unable to do the full pose, bringing the pelvis down to the floor, stack a bolster and/or blankets up underneath you so that you are able to rest completely down on them, allowing the muscles to release completely, without having to negotiate holding you up.

Samakonasana (Same Angle Pose)
• Similarly here, stack the props up underneath as high as necessary to fully support you with your legs out to the side.

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) with a belt around the foot and the back on the floor.

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) holding on to the big toe and lifting the head

Supta Trivikramasana (Reclined Three Strides Pose)
• If you are unable to do the full pose with the back on the floor, lift the torso up to clasp the heel with both hands. Either stack bolster and/or blankets up under your back to support your torso, or reach the waist towards your head and widen the back towards the floor without the support.

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Next time will go further into hip and groin territory exploring Yogadandasana (Yoga Staff Pose), Mulabandhasana (Root Lock Pose) and Kandasana (Knot Pose).


Related Posts:

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga,” Round-Up


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Year of Yoga: Week 41



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

October 8


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 5 rounds.
• After Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog) step forward into one of the following poses in reach round: Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2), Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1), Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose), Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose), Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose).

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Child’s Pose

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 9


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 5 rounds.
• After Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog) step forward into one of the following poses in reach round: Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose), Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose), Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose), Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1), Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) for a second time.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into a forward fold

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 10


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 5 rounds.
• After Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog) hop or step forward into Dandasana (Staff Pose) and do one of the following poses in each round: Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined big Toe Pose 2), Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose), Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose), Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose), Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose).

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Child’s Pose

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2) simple or full variation

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 11


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 5 rounds.
• After Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog), go forward into Plank Pose or Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) before lowering yourself to the floor on your abdomen and go into one of the following poses in each round: Shalabhasana (Locust Pose), Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose), Dhanurasana (Bow Pose), Parshva Dhanurasana (Side Bow Pose).

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 12


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 5 rounds.
• After Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog), step forward into one of the following poses in each round: Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose), Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose), Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose), Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half Moon Pose), Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose).

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 13


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 5 rounds.
• After Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog), go forward into one of the following poses in each round: Plank Pose, Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose), Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose), Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff pose), Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose)> Come into this last one from Dandasana (Staff Pose) and either do the bent-leg Table top variation or the full pose.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 14


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 41


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Intermediate Practice: Widening the Upper Abdomen and Pectoralis, Releasing the Scapulae Down the Back

This practice features a continuation of last week’s themes. Not only think of widening the upper abdominal wall above the navel, but also widen outward across pectoralis major. As the chest spreads, allow the shoulder blades to drop onto the back ribs. In addition, when twisting, initiate the pose in the lower back, wrapping the quadratus lumborum and rear abdominal wall around towards the navel.

The Sequence:

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose with a blanket roll under the abdomen

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose) restorative version with the knees bent

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Shirshasana Cycle:
Child’s Pose in Head Stand
• Bring the knees into the chest with the feet off the floor and hold.
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Parshva Shirshasana (Side Head Stand)
Virasana (Hero Pose) in Head Stand
Parshva Virasana (Side Hero Pose) in Head Stand
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Parshva Baddha Konasana (Side Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Side Shoulder Stand 1)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Karnapidasana (Pressure on the Ear Pose)
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Parshva Halasana (Side Plough Pose)
Parshva Karnapidasana (Side Pressure on the Ear Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose) full pose

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

[Practice each of these with a folded mat and a single blanket under the shoulders.]
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Eka Pada Parshva Sarvangasana (Single Leg Side Shoulder Stand)
Parshva Sarvangasana (Side Shoulder Stand)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Basic Practice: Releasing the Buttocks, Outer Hips and Thighs

In this practice, focus on using the inner thighs to support the legs in order to help the outer hips and thighs soften and widen. In all the poses, be very clear where the torso ends and the legs begin, in the hip joint. Whenever the the hip flexes, turn the torso as a unit up and over the top of the thigh without tilting the pelvis forward or back.

The Sequence:

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Child’s Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) with the shins together

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) with the heels apart, forward bend without the arms

Upavishtha Garudasana (Seated Eagle Pose)
• Sitting on the floor, cross the right leg over the left as for Garudasana (Eagle Pose).
• Turn to your left, bringing the right knee across the body and onto the floor. Turn to face the floor, supporting yourself on your elbows and walk the trunk around to face the wall behind you. Hold this pose for half a minute.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hands Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Garudasana (Eagle Pose) legs only

Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms only

Garudasana (Eagle Pose) full pose

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Virabhdrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with a blanket behind the knees

Virasana (Hero Pose) with a blanket behind the knees

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga", Part 8 [Light on Yoga]

[Part 1 of this series, in which we pick apart an advanced sequence from “Light on Yoga”, can be found here.]

Our advanced sequence includes a series of five deep baby-backbends that include either an extreme flexion of the shoulder joint, an extreme extension of the hip joint or both:
To fully prepare the body for these poses, the quadriceps must be lengthened, the abdomen and chest opened in addition to properly organizing and opening up the hips and shoulders.

The Sequence:

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand)

Eka Pada Bakasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)

Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
• Cross the legs in any accessible variation: Sukhasana (Comfortable Pose), Ardha Padmasana (Half Lotus Pose), Padmasana (Lotus Pose).
• Do the pose with over a bolster under the back crosswise to create a back bend. Support the head and arms as necessary.
• Hold for 2 to 3 minutes each crossing of the legs.

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
• Have a bolster under the abdomen/lower ribs to support and lift the belly.

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
• Have a bolster under the abdomen/lower ribs to support and lift the belly.

Lunge Series:
Lunge with the hands on the floor and the back knee up
Lung with the hands on the floor and the back knee down
Lunge with the hands on high blocks and the back knee down
Lunge with the hands on high blocks and the front foot on a low block
Lunge with the hands on high blocks and the back toes on a low block

Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose) over a chair

Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana 1 (Single Leg King Pigeon Pose 1)
• Use a belt to catch the foot if necessary.

Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana 2 (Single Leg King Pigeon Pose 2)
• Use a belt to catch the foot if necessary.

Padangustha Dhanurasana (Big Toe Bow Pose)
• Use a belt to catch the feet if necessary.

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
• Do the pose with the chest against the wall.

Rajakapotasana (King Pigeon Pose)
• If possible, from the above position, bend the legs and reach back to grab the ankles, thighs or knees.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into a forward bend

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose) with a blanket roll under the abdomen

Adho Mukha Shavasana (Downward Facing Corpse Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Next time we’ll look at deep groin and hamstring openers like Hanumanasana (Hanuman’s Pose) and Samakonasana (Same Angle Pose).


Related Posts:

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga,” Round-Up


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Intermediate Practice: Softening and Widening the Abdominal Wall

This practice features a host of poses which are considered core poses, such as arm balances and leg lifts. Though it is true that the middle of the body needs to be strengthened to perform these poses, crudely squeezing the abdominals will only inhibit your ability to do the poses properly. As you go through the sequence, consider the following:
  • Think of the abdominal wall as having three parts. First there is the lower abdomen, below the navel and between the hip bones and hip creases. Second, the upper abdominal wall, above the navel up to and including the lower rib cage. Thirdly, the lower back, as the fibers of transverse abdominis wrap around the mid-section like a girdle.
  • Widen outward from and elongate along the linea alba, the mid-line of rectus abdominis, the “six-pack” muscles. Continue that lengthening along the sternum, so the whole superficial front line of the body moves towards the head.
  • Soften and widen the lower back.
  • Allow the entire abdomen to fall into the back body.

The Sequence:

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch pose) with the feet apart

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
• Do the pose with the elbows bent, the hands under the shoulders as if about to go up into Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Wheel Pose).
• Set up next to a wall with the elbows touching it. Keep them touching the wall throughout the whole pose.

Shirshasana Cycle:
Child’s Pose in Head Stand
• Bring the knees into the chest with the feet off the floor and hold.
Urdhva Dandasana (Upward Staff Pose)
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• Hold for only 2 to 3 minutes. Then come down and go back up into the next pose.
Salamba Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand 2)
• Hold for only 30 seconds. Then come down and go into the next variation.
Salamba Shirshasana 3 (Head Stand 3)
• Hold for only 30 seconds. Then come down and go into the next variation.
Baddha Hasta Shirshasana (Bound Hands head Stand)
• Hold for only 30 seconds. Then come down and change the crossing of the arms before going back up.
• If you are unable to go up into any of the variations, simple practice the preparation, lifting the knees up off the floor.

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
• 3 to 5 minutes.

Halasana (Plough Pose)
• 2 to 3 minutes.

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)
• Have blankets under the shoulders and the feet flat on the floor. Support the sacrum with blocks.

Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Single Leg Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand) drop-backs
• 3 attempts on each side.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand) drop-backs
• 3 attempts.

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Bakasana (Crow Pose)
• Come into the pose from the floor.

Bakasana (Crow Pose)
• Come into the pose from Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand 2).



Ankle-to-Knee Cycle:
[Do each of the following three hip openers all on one crossing and then all on the other.]

Ankle to Knee Pose
Revolved Ankle to Knee Pose
• Twist to the side of the top foot.
Side Ankle to Knee Pose
• Extended forward over the side of the top foot.
Ankle to Knee Pose

Parshva Bakasana (Side Crow Pose)
• Come into the pose from the floor.

Parshva Bakasana (Side Crow Pose)
• Come into the pose from Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand 2).

Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1 (Single Leg Koundinya’s Pose 1)

Eka Pada Galavasana (Single Leg Galava’s Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Year of Yoga: Week 40



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

October 1


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Widespread Feet Pose 1)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 2


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Adho Mukha Virasana (Downward Facing Hero Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Single Leg Intense West Stretch Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 3


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 5 rounds.
• After Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog) hop or step forward into Dandasana (Staff Pose) and do one of the following poses in each round: Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined big Toe Pose 2), Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose), Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose), Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose), Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose).

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 4


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 5


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Makarasana (Crocodile Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 6


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any challenging variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Pashchima Namaskarasana Virasana (Hero Pose with Reverse Prayer Pose)

Tadasana with Gomukhasana arms (Mountain Pose with Cow Face Pose arms)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) full pose with hands behind back

Tadasana with Gomukhasana arms (Mountain Pose with Cow Face Pose arms)

Prasarita Padottanasana 2 (Widespread Feet Pose 2)

Tadasana with Gomukhasana arms (Mountain Pose with Cow Face Pose arms)

Tadasana with Garudasana arms (Mountain Pose with Eagle Pose arms)

Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) with a bolster across the back
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose) with a bolster across the back

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


October 7


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 40


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Basic Practice: Strengthing the Arms, Back and Sides

The focus of this practice is on strength of the upper body: not only the arms, back and chest, but also on the sides of the body and the muscles that connect the shoulder blades to the back.

As you go through the poses, focus on moving the shoulder blades forward with the arms, pasting them onto the back as you also widen the ribs into the shoulder blades, creating a strong, anchoring seal. All the while, keep the upper back and chest equally wide.

The Sequence:

Side Stretch at the wall
• Stand with the feet together about eight to twelve inches away from the wall and lean the right hip, waist and ribs against it. Reach the right arm up. Pause here for a few breaths.
• Come up onto the balls of the feet. Stay here for a few breaths.
• Slowly drop the right heel, resisting up through the ribs and arms to lengthen out the right side of the waist. When the right heel is down, drop the left.
• Bend the right elbow and clasp it with the left hand. Draw the upper arm bone up towards the ceiling. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Take the tip of the elbow up and over the top of the head while keeping the outer armpit moving into the wall. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Turn the chest a slightly into the middle of the room to send the stretch towards the back. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Release and repeat on the second side.

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) with the back against the wall

Down Dog Cycle:
[Perform these poses one after the other, holding each for 30 seconds at a time.]

All Fours
Child’s Pose
All Fours
Plank Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Child’s Pose
All Fours
Plank Pose with the toes pointed
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Child’s Pose

Standing Pose Cycle:
[Perform each of these on after the other, going from side to side without returning to Tadasana (Mountain Pose) and without lower the arms throughout the entire sequence.]

Utthita Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)
Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)
Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) variation with the elbow bent

Forearm Stand preparation

Makarasana (Crocodile Pose)

Forearm Stand preparation with second interlock of the fingers

Makarasana (Crocodile Pose) with second interlock of the fingers

Up Dog Cycle:
[Perform these poses one after the other, holding each for 30 seconds at a time.]

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose) with the toes turned under
Plank Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose) on the tops of the feet, with the toes pointed
Plank Pose on the tops of the feet, with the toes pointed
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Child’s Pose

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) preparation
• Organize yourself as if about to do the pose and brace the body into the floor to take a little weight, but without actually lifting up.

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) with a block under the pubic bone

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) with a block under the chest

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)
• Do the pose twice, resting in between.

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) with the feet on blocks, holding onto a belt around the ankles

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with a lift under the trunk


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Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga", Part 7 [Light on Yoga]

[Part 1 of this series, in which we pick apart an advanced sequence from “Light on Yoga”, can be found here.]

This time we are going to look at a sequence to help prepare the body and learn Mandalasana (Mandala Pose). This is a highly unusual and very challenging pose that requires mobility in the ribcage and shoulders coupled with a very strong proprioceptive sense of one’s body in space. Here’s how B. K. S. Iyengar describes it in “Light on Yoga”:

“Mandala means a wheel, a ring, circumference or orbit. Keeping the head and hands in Salamba Shirshasana 1 circle round the head clockwise and then anti-clockwise. The movements of your feet will then form a circle, mandala or orbit around your head which should remain stationary…

“…During the rotation, the trunk and abdomen are contracted on one side and stretched on the other side. This keeps the spine and the abdominal organs in trim and promotes health and longevity.”


—Iyengar, B. K. S., “Light on Yoga,” Schocken, 1979, pp. 381-385


The Sequence:

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Virasana (Hero Pose)

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Supta Konasana (Reclines Angle Pose)
Parshva Halasana (Side Plough Pose)
Eka Pada Parshva Sarvangasana (Single Leg Side Shoulder Stand)
Parshva Sarvangasana (Side Shoulder Stand)
Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Single Leg Bridge Pose) drop-back
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose) drop-Back

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly-Turning Pose)

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over a chair

Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose) over a chair

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
• This refers to coming into and out of Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose) from Hand Stand. If you are unable to do this challenging transition, try the following:
• Come into Hand Stand at the wall several times, each time getting a bit further away from the wall and sliding one leg and then the other down the wall until you can get the feet to the ground in Urdhva Dhanurasana. Come out of the pose each time by walking the feet back up the wall swinging the legs back overhead into Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) or Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose).
• 3 to 4 repetitions.

Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (Two Leg Inverted Staff Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Parivrtta Janu Shirshasana (Revolved head of the Knee Pose)

Mandalasana (Mandala Pose) preparation 1
• Place the arms and head down as if going into Shirshasana and straighten the legs.
• Walk the feet around in a circle as far as you can and hold the position for several breaths, getting used to the shape
• Repeat 2 or 3 times to both sides.

Mandalasana (Mandala Pose) preparation 2
• Come into Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana and walk the feet around in a circle as far as you can and hold the position for several breaths, getting used to the shape.
• Repeat 2 or 3 times to both sides.

Half Mandalasana (Mandala Pose) 1
• Come into the Shirshasana preparation and walk the feet as far around to the right as you can and attempt to turn the hips. Don’t worry if you don’t get very far. This is all about getting the nervous system used to this strange new position. If you slip out of the pose, set yourself up in the Head Stand preparation and try again. It is best not to be too serious in your approach to this pose. You will find yourself tumbling over quite a few times before you get it. Laugh a lot at the ludicrousness of what you’re doing. It really does help.
• Repeat several times to both sides.

Half Mandalasana (Mandala Pose) 2
• Go through the same process from Urdhva Dhanurasana. Eventually you will be able to put the pieces together into the complete pose.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Tips and Tricks

Mr. Iyengar has an interesting tip on performing the pose:

“When the legs come to the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions, raise the opposite shoulder slightly, and lifting the chest up and forwards, rotate the trunk…”

—Iyengr, B. K. S., “Light on Yoga,” Schocken, 1979, pp. 382.

Here are some videos of people doing Mandalasana. In the first, the drop-back from Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1) prepares the shoulders, ribcage and even the nervous system, making the pose a little easier to do. In the second (which is a little dark) the lightness and speed with which she performs the pose keeps the body from over-working:



In this beautiful dance piece, choreographed and performed by teacher and yoga model Theresa Elliot, the slow and steady movements build to a semi-circular variation of the pose. Observe the movement in the ribcage as she performs the preparatory moves. In the pose itself, at the crucial moment of the turn, observe how the ribs and pelvis turn in unison. Also observe how one hip dips under the other and the leg bends, rather than one hip flipping over the other:



This is a very daunting pose to approach, and it does require diligent practice to master. It is worth persevering with, however, as it can be an exhilarating pose to perform.

Next time we’ll look at a practice to explore and deepen the advanced baby back bends.


Related Posts:

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga,” Round-Up


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Intermediate Practice: Softening and Dividing the Abdominal Wall in Back Bends

Still thinking about quadratus lumborum and psoas, in this practice we will also think about the abdominal wall as we perform a series of back bending poses. For the front of the body to properly be able to lengthen, the torso to arch and the spine to extend, the abdominal muscles, especially rectus abdominis, must be free. If not, the chest will continually be pulled towards the pubic bone and the lower back will crunch as the lumbar spine tries to take the brunt of the arch.

As you go through the poses consider the following actions:
  • Elongate the psoas by lengthening behind the pubic bone, navel and sternum. Think of grounding/moving towards the legs the lesser trochanters, the lower attachment of the psoas, while widening and lifting/moving towards the head T12, the upper attachment.
  • Soften and widen the abdomen and allow it to fall back into the quadratus lumborum. Divide the abdomen at the navel, allowing the lower abdomen to move with the pubic bone and the upper abdomen to move with the sternum
  • Soften and widen the quadratus lumborum. To help this, soften and widen the buttocks and lengthen them toward the siting bones, while also softening and widening the lower lattisimus dorsi and lengthening them towards the head.
  • When twisting, initiate the movement in the quadratus lumborum, widening it and wrapping it around.

The Sequence:

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose with a blanket roll under the abdomen

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Shirshasana Cycle:
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshvaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose) over a bolster
• 3 to 5 minutes.

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Parshvaikapada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)

Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
• Cross the legs in any accessible variation: Sukhasana (Comfortable Pose), Ardha Padmasana (Half Lotus Pose), Padmasana (Lotus Pose).
• Do the pose with over a bolster under the back crosswise to create a back bend. Support the head and arms as necessary.
• Hold for 2 to 3 minutes each crossing of the legs.

Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Single Leg Bridge Pose from Shoulder Stand)
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose from Shoulder Stand)
• Do these with the elbows belted and a single blanket and folded mat under the shoulders.
• Repeat each drop-back 3 times.

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
• Have a bolster under the abdomen/lower ribs to support and lift the belly.

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
• Have a bolster under the abdomen/lower ribs to support and lift the belly.

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
• Do the pose with the chest against the wall.

Rajakapotasana (King Pigeon Pose)
• If possible, from the above position, bend the legs and reach back to grab the ankles, thighs or knees.

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Year of Yoga: Week 39



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

September 24


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 25


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Virasana (Hero, Pose) with Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 26


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 27


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1) twist only

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1) full pose

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 28


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Pashchima Namaskarasana (Reverse Prayer Pose)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 29


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any challenging variation including Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose).

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any challenging variation including Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose).

Parvatasana in Virasana (Mountain Pose in Hero Pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) with a bolster across the back

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose) or Ardha Bhekasana (Half Frog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) with a bolster across the back
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose) with a bolster across the back

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 30


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 39


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Basic Practice: Widening and Strengthening the Abdomen

So often we erroneously equate strengthening the core with squeezing the abdominal muscles and pelvic floor as much as possible. I grant that, in certain poses, it is important to properly engage the abdominals to support the strength of the hip flexors and torso, but indiscriminately gripping them can have negative effects in the long run: tightening in the hips and chest, and even consequences to the effective functioning of the internal organs. Better to have a strong and supple abdominal wall that can engage and support when needed, but also release and lengthen when appropriate.

In this practice, consider the following actions:
  • Keep both the upper and lower abdomen soft and wide at all times. I use the word “soft” to suggest toned and responsive, not flabby and unused or squeezed and gripped.
  • Keep the hip creases soft, wide and well-defined in your awareness in all the poses.
  • Find length in the torso by remaining elongated from the hips to the head to keep the sides of the waist long and engaged.
  • Increase the strength of the core by engaging the inner thighs to support the legs and hip flexors.
  • In the more obviously abdominal poses, draw the pubic bone up towards the navel and the navel in towards the spine, keeping the sides of the waist cinched and long.

The Sequence:

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lunge with the back leg up

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hands Pose) with the back against the wall

Half Utkatasana (Furious Pose) with the back against the wall
• Keep the torso upright and the back against the wall as you raise the arms and bend the legs.

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)
• Come into Half Utkatasana with the hands on the hips, keeping the torso upright, only bending the legs a little.
• Fold forward from the hips without pushing the lower back and chest forward or tucking the tailbone under.
• Reach the arms up.
• Then sink down into the full pose.

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)
• Come into the pose as above.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
• 2 repetitions.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
• Upright seated version only.

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster with breath awareness

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose) with breath awareness

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga", Part 6 [Light on Yoga]

[Part 1 of this series, in which we pick apart an advanced sequence from “Light on Yoga”, can be found here.]

Inverted backbends, such as Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose) and Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (Two Leg Inverted Staff Pose) can remain particularly challenging even as one’s practice advances. With the arms alongside the ears, particular care has to be paid to the organization of the shoulder girdle and upper ribcage to ensure that the opening of the back bend happens by arching the torso and extending the spine and not pushing into the shoulder joints. There is also a strength component, as one is pushing up into the pose from the floor with all four limbs. In order to successfully negotiate these poses, one has to develop the necessary strength and organization at the same time. This sequence addresses both these concerns, alternating between one and the other before bringing them both together at the end to practice the full poses.

The Sequence:


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Shirshasana Cycle:
Salamba Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand 2)
• Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• Hold for 3 to 5 minutes.
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Parshvaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Revolved Single Leg Head Stand)

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
• Hold for 3 to 5 minutes.
Halasana (Plough Pose)
• Hold for 3 to 5 minutes.
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Parshvaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)
Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Single Leg Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand)
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand)

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over a chair

Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose) over a chair

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose) with the feet on a chair
• 2-3 repetitions.

Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (Two leg Inverted Staff Pose) with the feet on a chair
• 2-3 repetitions.

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)
• 2-3 repetitions.

Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (Two leg Inverted Staff Pose)
• 2-3 repetitions.

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Next time we’ll look at ways to approach the very intimidating Mandalasana (Mandala Pose).


Related Posts:

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga,” Round-Up


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Intermediate Practice: The Psoas and the Quadratus Lumborum in Twists

Once again we are thinking about the quadratus lumborum and the psoas, this time in Padmasana (Lotus Pose) variations and twists. As you perform the sequence below consider the following ideas:
  • Elongate the psoas by lengthening behind the pubic bone, navel and sternum. Think of grounding/moving towards the legs the lesser trochanters, the lower attachment of the psoas, while widening and lifting/moving towards the head T12, the upper attachment.
  • Soften and widen the quadratus lumborum. To help this, soften and widen the buttocks and lengthen them toward the siting bones, while also softening and widening the lower lattisimus dorsi and lengthening them towards the head.
  • Soften the abdomen and allow it to fall back into the quadratus lumborum.
  • When twisting, initiate the movement in the quadratus lumborum, widening it and wrapping it around.

The Sequence:

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose with a roll under the abdomen

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)
• Have a block between the thighs and the calves belted at the thickest place.
• Press the inner thighs outwards away from the bloc, keeping the hip creases wide. Anchor the feet into the block.

Hip stretch in a chair

Shirshasana Cycle:
Urdhva Dandasana (Upward Staff Pose)
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Parshva Shirshasana (Side Head Stand)
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Revolved Single Leg Head Stand)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
Parivrtta Baddha Konasana (Revolved Bound Angle Pose)

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Karnapidasana (Pressure on the Ear Pose)
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Parshva Halasana (Side Plough Pose)
Parshva Karnapidasana (Side Pressure on the Ear Pose)
Pindasana (Embryo Pose) with the legs in Ardha Padmasana (Half Lotus Pose)
Pindasana (Embryo Pose) with the legs in Padmasana (Lotus Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Ankle-to-Knee Cycle:
[Do each of the following three hip openers all on one crossing and then all on the other.]

Ankle to Knee Pose
Revolved Ankle to Knee Pose
• Twist to the side of the top foot.
Side Ankle to Knee Pose
• Extended forward over the side of the top foot.
Ankle to Knee Pose

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes 1)

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1)

Marichyasana 2 (Marichi’s Pose 2)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Marichyasana 4 (Marichi’s Pose 4)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Year of Yoga: Week 38



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

September 17


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half Moon Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 18


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)

Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Single Leg Intense West Stretch Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only with forward bend

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 19


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 20


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 21


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 22


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) 3-5 minutes

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) any simple variation, 3-5 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) including Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose), 2-3 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) including Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose), 2-3 rounds

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1) binding the arm if possible

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2) either the simple or full variation, binding the arm if possible

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 23


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 38


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Basic Pactice: Widening Across the Upper Back and Chest to Create Freedom in the Shoulders

In this practice, focus on softening and widening evenly across the upper back and chest. Create freedom across the collarbones and shoulder blades, allowing them to reach with the arms away from each other. In Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog), roll weight from the outer hand to the inner hand and from the heel of the hand to the fingertips to energize and strengthen the wrists and forearms.

The Sequence:

Matsyasana (Fish Pose) simple variation

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Garudasana (Eagle Pose Arms) in Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Hands Bound Behind the Back Pose) in Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with the toes turned under
• Clasp the elbows behind the back and hold for 30 seconds before changing the crossing and holding again.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) full pose including arm variation

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) with the elbows clasped behind the back

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1) simple variation

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1) full variation with one arm behind the back

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the feet up on low blocks against the wall

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the hands up on low blocks against the wall

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the feet up on medium blocks against the wall

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the hands up on medium blocks against the wall

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the feet up on high blocks against the wall

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the hands up on high blocks against the wall

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) with the feet on blocks, holding onto the ankles with a belt if necessary

Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) with the feet on the wall

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with the trunk elevated on blankets


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Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga", Part 5 [Light on Yoga]

[Part 1 of this series, in which we pick apart an advanced sequence from “Light on Yoga”, can be found here.]

In this final breakdown of the vishamanyasa portion of the practice, let’s look at the groin and hamstring opening elements of the sequence. The reason to have both the forward and backbends of the vishamanyasa as preparation for the groin and hamstring work is Hanumanasana (Hanuman’s Pose) which is both a deep opening of the groin in the back leg and a deep stretch of the hamstring in the front.

The Sequence:

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Ado Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Shirshasana Cycle:
Salamba Shirshasana 1
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshvaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Revolved Single Leg Head Stand)

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Parshvaikapada Sarvangasana (SIngle Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)
Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Single Leg Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand)

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)

Bakasana (Crow Pose)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)

Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2 (Single Leg Koundinya’s Pose 2)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)

Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana 1 (Single Leg King Pigeon Pose 1)

Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana 2 (Single Leg King Pigeon Pose 2)

Hanumanasana (Hanuman’s Pose)

Samakonasana (Same Angle Pose)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Next time we’ll look at a sequence that goes into the inverted back bends, such as Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose), in depth.


Related Posts:

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga,” Round-Up


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Year of Yoga: Week 37



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

September 10


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Virasana with Gomukhasana arms (Hero Pose with Cow-Face Pose Arms)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 11


Sukhasana (Comfortable Pose)

Parvatasana in Sukhasana (Mountain Pose in Comfortable Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 13


Matsyasana (Fish Pose) with simple crossed legs over a bolster

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 13


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Parivritta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half Moon Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 14


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Pashchima Namaskarasana Virasana (Hero Pose with Reverse Prayer Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 15


Urdhva Baddha Hastasana (Upward Bound Hands Pose) in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Plank Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Plank Pose with the palms turned out (fingers pointing away from each other)

Child’s Pose

Virasana with Gomukhasana arms (Hero Pose with Cow Face Pose arms)

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) with one knee down

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) full pose or with one knee down

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Pashchima Namaskarasana Virasana (Hero Pose with Reverse Prayer Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 16


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 37


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Intermediate Practice: The Psoas and the Quadratus Lumborum in Forward Bends

If psoas is the deepest muscle of the front body, then quadratus lumborum could be thought of as the deepest muscle of the back body, as it lies flush against the hip flexor. In this practice we will zero in on these two muscles, organizing our poses around them. As you perform the sequence below consider the following ideas:
  • Elongate the psoas by lengthening behind the pubic bone, navel and sternum. Think of grounding/moving towards the legs the lesser trochanters, the lower attachment of the psoas, while widening and lifting/moving towards the head T12, the upper attachment.
  • Soften and widen the quadratus lumborum. To help this, soften and widen the buttocks and lengthen them toward the siting bones, while also softening and widening the lower lattisimus dorsi and lengthening them towards the head.
  • Soften the abdomen and allow it to fall back into the quadratus lumborum.
  • When twisting, initiate the movement in the quadratus lumborum, widening it and wrapping it around.

The Sequence:

Child’s Pose with a roll under the abdomen.

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 3 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 3)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Shirshasana Cycle:
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshvaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Revolved Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshva Shirshasana (Side Head Stand)

Salamba Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Salamba Sarvangasana 2 (Shoulder Stand 2)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 1 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 1)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 2 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 2)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Single Leg Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand)
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Maha Mudra (Great Seal)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Ardha Baddha Padma Cycle:
[Do these poses all on one side, then all on the other.]

Ardha Baddha Padma Pashchimottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense West Stretch Pose)
• Instead of doing the full pose, bind the lotus pose foot and hold onto the big toe of the extended leg and twist away from it.
Ardha Matsyendrasana 2 (Half Lord of the Fishes 2)
Ardha Baddha Padma Pashchimottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense West Stretch Pose)
• Fold forward without binding.

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Single Leg Intense West Stretch Pose)

Krounchasana (Heron Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Vishamanyasa: The Opposite of Vinyasa

As I’ve been referring to the concept of “vishamanyasa” so much recently, I thought I’d give you a quotation from “Astadala Yogamala” Volume 2 by B. K. S. Iyengar, where he expounds on the concept:

“The opposite of vinyasa is called vishamanyasa. Vishamanyasa means placing in an odd or irregular manner. Certainly it is not done in a disorderly way. Rather it is a method of challenge. In this method, asana from different categories are linked together without breaking the flow of the movements. For instance, Eka Pada Shirshasana and the variations in an asana are Grathana Sthiti (body knotting). This category works as follows: Eka Pada Shirshasana from sitting (Upavishtha Sthiti), Skandasana (forward extension or Pashchima Pratana Sthiti), Bhairavasana (supine or Supta Sthiti), Kala Bhairavasana or Chakorasana (arm-balance or Bhujatolasana Sthiti), Durvasana (Standing--Uttishtha Sthiti), Richikasana (Uttishtha Pashchima Pratana Sthiti) and so on.

“A mixed group of asana is also known as vishamanyasa. For instance, Tadasana, Uttanasana, Adho Mukha Shvanasana, Paripurna Navasana, Utkatasana, Ushtrasana, Kapotasana, Adho Mukha Virasana and so on. Because of a flexible body, children enjoy practising [sic] this way since the changes are challenging ones. My guru used to ask me to do any asana in this way. He would ask me to do Salamba Shirshasana and suddenly jump over to Natarajasana.

“Vinyasa and vishamanyasa is [sic] again classified as viloma, anuloma and pratiloma. Viloma vinyasa means linking with regular interruption. In viloma vinyasa, asana belonging to the same classification are linked each time with one single chosen asana such as Janu Shirshasana-Pashchimottanasana, Triang Mukhaikapda Pashchimottanasana-Pashchimottanasana, Ardha Baddha Padma Pashchimottanasana-Pashchimottanasana, Upavishtha Konasana-Pashchimottanasana, and so forth.”

“In viloma vishamanyasa, the asana forming separate or opposite classifications are linked with one single chosen asana. That means practicing one froward extension and one backward extension (Pashchima Pratana Sthiti and Purva Pratana Sthiti) such as Pashchimottanasana-Urdhva Dhanurasana, Pashchimottanasana-Ushtrasana, Pashchimottanasana-Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana.”

The Ashtadala Yogamala series is a collection of miscellaneous talks and articles by Mr. Iyengar that have been compiled and organized into several volumes and organized by subject matter. They are published in India, but can be found at specialist bookstores, such as the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco.


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Level 1 Group Class: Loosening the hips and elongating the trunk in twists

The spine needs to be fully elongated in order for the vertebrae to turn effectively around their axis. In this sequence, focus on lengthening the sides of the trunk and broadening the chest and back evenly to achieve a properly elongated spine. Work on softening and widening the buttocks and outer hips to help free up the trunk and allow the pelvis to tilt forward more readily, enabling the trunk to lengthen that much more easily.

In addition, keep the hips level. This means that when the leg is raised, or in front of you, or crossed over the other leg, make sure that the hip doesn’t roll up the length of the body towards the head, causing the side of the waist to crunch. If this happens, the pelvis os not level and the lower spine is being hooked to the side, compromising it’s ability to twist in the lower portion. In all of your poses, focus on rolling the outer hip away from the head, towards the tail to help keep the hips aligned.

The Sequence:

Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
• Simple variation with the legs in Sukhasana (Comfortable Pose) and the elbows clasped overhead.

Down Dog flow:
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Child’s Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Lunge with the back knee up, right side
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Lunge with the back knee up, left side
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Child’s Pose

Reclined Hip Stretch Sequence

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Parivrtta Supta Padangusthasana (Revolved Reclined Big Toe Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)
• Come into a lunge with the back knee on the ground; then bring the arm across to twist; then, if able, lift the back knee up.

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster with breath awareness

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose) with breath awareness

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga", Part 4 [Light on Yoga]

[Part 1 of this series, in which we pick apart an advanced sequence from “Light on Yoga”, can be found here.]

Still working on the concept of vishamanyasa (a deliberate alternating of radically different categories of pose), this sequence pulls out the twisted arm balances that broaden the back and sequences them with a simple but challenging back bend, Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose). This gives you a chance to work on safely and intelligently making the challenging transitions from forward bend to back bend. It also gives you a chance to experience the freedom having a wide and free back body can give you in back bending poses.

The Sequence:

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangustahsana cycle:
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)
Supta Padangusthasana 3 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 3)
Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Ado Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Shirshasana Cycle:
Urdhva Dandasana (Upward Staff Pose)
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Parshva Shirshasana (Side Head Stand)
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Revolved Single Leg Head Stand)
Baddha Konasana Shirshasana (Bound Angle Pose Head Stand)
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose Head Stand)

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
• 5 minutes.
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Karnapidasana (Pressure on the Ear Pose)
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Parshva Halasana (Side Plough Pose)
Parshva Karnapidasana (Side Pressure on the Ear Pose)
Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Single Leg Bridge Pose Shoulder Stand)
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose Shoulder Stand)

Vishamanyasa:
Bakasana (Crow Pose)
Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)
Parshva Bakasana (Side Crow Pose)
Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)
Dwi Pada Koundinyasana (Two Leg Koundinya’s Pose)
Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)
Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1 (Single Leg Koundinya’s Pose 1)
Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Next week we’ll play with a sequence that involves deep groin openers and hamstring stretches.


Related Posts:

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga,” Round-Up


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Year of Yoga: Week 36



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

September 3


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Widespread Feet Pose 1)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose) 3 to 5 minutes

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 4


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose) 3 to 5 minutes

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 5


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Single Leg Intense West Stretch Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose) 3 to 5 minutes

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 6


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose)

Parshva Parvatasana (Side Mountain Pose)

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose) 3 to 5 minutes

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 7


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Matsyasana (Fish Pose) over a bolster, 1 to 3 minutes each crossing of the legs

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose), 3 to 5 minutes

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose) 3 to 5 minutes

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 8


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose), 3 to 5 minutes

Adho Mukha Shavasana (Downward Facing Corpse Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 9


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 36


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Year of Yoga: Week 35



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

August 27


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped Behind the Back) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 28


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped Behind the Back) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 29


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped Behind the Back) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 30


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped Behind the Back) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs facing Single Leg Intense West Stretch Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 31


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped Behind the Back) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 1


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped Behind the Back) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Eka Pada Bakasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


September 2


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 35


Bookmark and Share
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Year of Yoga: Week 34



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

August 20


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Child’s Pose

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 21


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Child’s Pose

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 22


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Child’s Pose

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 23


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Child’s Pose

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 24


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Child’s Pose

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 25


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Child’s Pose

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 26


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 34


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Intermediate Group Class: Freeing Up the Lower Back

In this class focus on allowing the exhalation to be long and easy and the inhalation free and unforced. Allow there to be movement in the lower back as you breathe in all of the poses.

The Sequence

Adho Mukha Shavasana (Downward Facing Corpse Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Head Down Sequence:
[Do all of these at a stretch, keeping the head down and observing/freeing up the movement of the breath in the lower back throughout.]

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Child’s Pose

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• 5 to 10 minutes.

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
• 5 to 10 minutes.

Halasana (Plough Pose)
• 3 to 5 minutes.

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)
• 90 seconds each side.

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only forward bend
• 60 seconds each side.

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Ardha Baddha Padma Pashchimottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense West Stretch Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Ujjayi Pranayama 4 (Victorious Breath 4) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Viloma Pranayama 2 (Interrupted Breath 2) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Interrupted exhalations.
• 5 minutes.

Viloma Pranayama 1 (Interrupted Breath 1) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Interrupted inhalations.
• 5 minutes.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• 5 minutes.
|

Year of Yoga: Week 33



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

August 13

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 5 rounds.
• After Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog) step forward into one of the following poses in reach round: Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2), Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1), Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose), Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose), Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose).

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Child’s Pose

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 14

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 5 rounds.
• After Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog) step forward into one of the following poses in reach round: Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose), Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose), Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose), Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1), Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) for a second time.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into a forward fold

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 15

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 5 rounds.
• After Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog) hop or step forward into Dandasana (Staff Pose) and do one of the following poses in each round: Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined big Toe Pose 2), Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose), Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose), Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose), Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose).

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Child’s Pose

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2) simple or full variation

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 16

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 5 rounds.
• After Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog), go forward into Plank Pose or Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) before lowering yourself to the floor on your abdomen and go into one of the following poses in each round: Shalabhasana (Locust Pose), Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose), Dhanurasana (Bow Pose), Parshva Dhanurasana (Side Bow Pose).

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 17

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 5 rounds.
• After Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog), step forward into one of the following poses in each round: Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose), Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose), Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose), Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half Moon Pose), Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose).

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 18

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 5 rounds.
• After Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog), go forward into one of the following poses in each round: Plank Pose, Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose), Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose), Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff pose), Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose)> Come into this last one from Dandasana (Staff Pose) and either do the bent-leg Table top variation or the full pose.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 19

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 33


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Level 1 Group Class: Widening the Front and Back Evenly in Back Bends

In this class, focus on keeping the entire back body wide, including the buttocks, the lower back and the back ribs, as you elongate the trunk.

The Sequence

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lung with the back leg straight

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) INTO Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
• Come into the flat back variation of Parshvottanasana with the arms in front of you to the right. Hold for a few moments.
• Come out of the pose, adjust the position of the feet and go into Utthita Trikonasana to the right. Hold here.
• Come up and repeat on the second side.

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Spread Feet Pose) preparation INTO Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)
• Come into the flat back Prasarita Padottanasana preparation with the hands under the shoulders. Hold for a few moments.
• Come up, raise the arms overhead, turn to the right and go into Virabhadrasana 1. Hold here.
• Return to the Prasarita Padottanasana preparation and repeat to the second side.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose) preparation with arms overhead
• Lie flat on the abdomen and reach the arms over head.
• Stretch the arms and the legs away from each other to elongate the trunk.

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose) with the arms by the sides

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose) preparation with arms overhead

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose) with the arms by the sides

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose) preparation with arms overhead

Sphinx Pose

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose) preparation with arms overhead

Sphinx Pose

Eka Pada Dhanurasana
• From Sphinx Pose, bring one forearm across the body, reach back and do bow pose on one side, then switch.

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose) preparation with arms overhead

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
• Do this twice.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into a forward bend

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga", Part 3 [Light on Yoga]

[Part 1 of this series, in which we pick apart an advanced sequence from “Light on Yoga”, can be found here.]

There are several possible strategies we can use to break down and work with the sequence in a more manageable way. The first would be to come up with a series of simple practices that focus on an individual section, with a thorough, but realistic build-up to the main work of the sequence, followed by supportive restorative work. To recap, here are the main sections of the practice:
  • Vishamanyasa 1: Simple arm balances and preps for Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose).
  • Vishamanyasa 2: Back-broadening and twisting arm balances and preps for Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose).
  • Vishamanyasa 3: Groin-opening Poses, such as Bakasana (Crow Pose) and Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1 (Single Leg Koundinya’s Pose 1) with preps for Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose).
  • Inverted Back Bends.
  • Mandalasana (Mandala Pose).
  • Advanced Baby Back Bends.
  • Groin/Hamstring/Hip Openers.
  • Twists and Deep Forward Bends
Having consolidated the poses we are familiar with and made some headway with the poses that are newer and more challenging for us, we can then start to practices edited versions of the sequence that feature adequate preparation and segments of the sequence that most relate to each other:
  • Arm balance vishamanyasa, groin/hamstring openers and deep forward bends.
  • Arm balance vishamanyasa, deep hip openers and twists.
  • Arm balance vishamanyasa and inverted back bends.
  • Arm balance vishamanyasa and advanced baby back bends.
  • Inverted back bends and advanced baby back bends.
Today let’s look at a sequence to work on the vishvamanyasa, including simple arm balances and preparations for Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose).

The Sequence

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Shirshasana Cycle:
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• 5 minutes.
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshvaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
Upavishtha Konasana(Seated Angle Pose)
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Revolved Single Leg Head Stand)

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
• 5 minutes.
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Karnapidasana (Pressure on the Ear Pose)
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Parshvaikapada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)
Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Single Leg bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand)

Malasana (Garland Pose)
• Do the pose with the heels supported and a belt around the body and legs to support the thighs so that the inner thigh muscles can soften

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over a chair

Bhujapidasana (Pressure on the arms Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)
• Feet on blocks.
• Arms loosely belted to keep the arm and shoulder organized.

Dwi Hasta Bhujasana (Both Hands and Arms Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)
• Feet on the seat of a chair place against a wall, if possible. Failing that, feet once again on blocks.
• Arms loosely belted to keep the arm and shoulder organized.

Bakasana (Crow Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)
• The full pose from the floor if possible, but otherwise propped as needed.

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Posts:

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga,” Round-Up


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Intermediate Group Class: Separating the Femurs from the Trunk

To make the quality of the poses softer and more holistic, instead of moving from the muscle, or even the connective tissue, think of moving from the bone. Specifically, think of moving from the femurs and the humeri, while directing the trunk and the spine towards the head (or away from the head if inverted). This sequence occasionally uses the rope wall.

The Sequence

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) on the ropes

Rope Sequence:
Urdhva Dandasana (Upward Staff Pose) on the ropes, 3 minutes
Shalabhasana (Locus Pose) on the ropes, 1 minute
Urdhva Dandasana (Upward Staff Pose) on the ropes, 3 minutes

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 1 (Extended Hand to Foot Pose 1) on the rope wall

Shirshasana Cycle:
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1), 5 minutes
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Head Stand)
Parshvaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2) with the bent leg thigh supported on a chair

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose) with the bent leg thigh supported on a chair

Chair Hip Sequence:
Single Leg Ankle-to-Knee forward bend on the chair
• Sitting in the chair, put one ankle on the opposite thigh, just above the knee, and fold forward.
Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2) in the chair
• Sitting in the chair, bring one leg into Ardha Padmasana (Half Lotus Pose) and bind.
Adho Mukha Ardha Padmasana (Downward Facing Half Lotus Pose)
• Sitting in the chair, bring one leg into Ardha Padmasana and fold forward.

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense Stretch Pose) chair variation
• Without binding, come into the pose with the hands on the chair for balance.
• First, extend out into a flat back, then fold forward.

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense Stretch Pose)

Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
• Lying back over a bolster.
• Any leg variation.

Uttana Padma Mayurasana (Intense Stretch Lotus Peacock Pose) over a block

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Salamba Sarvangasana 2 (Shoulder Stand 2)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 1 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 1)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 2 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 2)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Urdhva Padmasana (Upward Lotus Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Year of Yoga: Week 32



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

August 6


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Widespread Feet Pose 1)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose) 3 to 5 minutes

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 7


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose) 3 to 5 minutes

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 8


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Single Leg Intense West Stretch Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose) 3 to 5 minutes

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 9


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose)

Parshva Parvatasana (Side Mountain Pose)

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose) 3 to 5 minutes

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 10


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Matsyasana (Fish Pose) over a bolster, 1 to 3 minutes each crossing of the legs

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose), 3 to 5 minutes

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose) 3 to 5 minutes

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 11


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose) over a chair, 3 to 5 minutes

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose), 3 to 5 minutes

Adho Mukha Shavasana (Downward Facing Corpse Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 12


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 32


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Level 1: Upper Body Core Strength

In this class, focus on keeping the upper back and the top of the chest equally wide throughout all of the poses. In this sequence we are looking less to find strength in the arms and more to find strength in the sides of the body, linking the arms and upper ribs to the core.

The Sequence

Side Stretch at the wall
• Stand with the feet together about eight to twelve inches away from the wall and lean the right hip, waist and ribs against it. Reach the right arm up. Pause here for a few breaths.
• Come up onto the balls of the feet. Stay here for a few breaths.
• Slowly drop the right heel, resisting up through the ribs and arms to lengthen out the right side of the waist. When the right heel is down, drop the left.
• Bend the right elbow and clasp it with the left hand. Draw the upper arm bone up towards the ceiling. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Take the tip of the elbow up and over the top of the head while keeping the outer armpit moving into the wall. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Turn the chest a slightly into the middle of the room to send the stretch towards the back. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Release and repeat on the second side.

Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms with the back against the wall

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) with the back against the wall

All Fours

Plank Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• The focus of this Sun Salute is to practice hopping back and forth between Uttanasana and Adho Mukha Shvanasana. It is quite simplified so as not to confuse the issue with more challenging poses.
• When jumping back the key is to press the floor away from you and move the chest away from the hands to carry the body back on the strength of the connection between the arms and the sides of the trunk. This is quite different from donkey-kicking back into a Plank pose and then moving back into Adho Mukha Shvanasana.
• Initially you might need to make a small hop back and forth and walk the rest of the way.
• Follow this order of progression:
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hands Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)
Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hands Pose)
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
• Repeat for a total of five cycles.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
• Put the hand of the raised arm on the hip.
• Press the collarbone away from the ear and roll it up towards the ceiling.

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)


Head Stand Preparation
• Do twice, once with each interlock of the fingers.

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
• Have a foam block or rolled towel between the feet to make the inner thighs engage.
• Use some sort of heavy weight: a sandbag, a dumbbell or a heavy book. Have the arms over head and the weight in the hands. Press up into the weight to brace the arms. Widen the upper back and press it into the floor.
• Cycle through the pose three times, holding the legs in place at approximately 90°, 60°, 30° and 10° if possible.
• If this variation proves to be too challenging for the lower back, do it either with one leg at a time, or release the arms and have them down by the sides.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)
• Have one of your weights on each hand.
• If the legs are going to the right, press down with the right arm while pressing up into the left weight to brace the arm. Press the left shoulder firmly down into the ground. Throughout the entire sequence, keep the backs of both shoulders firmly grounded and the chest wide.
• For the first rep, keep the knees bent. For subsequent reps, start with the knees bent, but work on straightening the legs, keeping the knees at waist height and aiming the feet at the hands.
• Do three reps in total.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster
• 3 to 5 minutes.

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster
• 3 to 5 minutes.

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)
• 3 to 5 minutes.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga", Part 2 [Light on Yoga]

[Part 1 of this series, in which we pick apart an advanced sequence from “Light on Yoga”, can be found here.]

Let’s look a little deeper at our advanced practice and see how it is broken down:

[Inversions]
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Halasana (Plough Pose)


[Arm Balance/Back Bend Vishamanyasa]
Urdhva Kukkutasana (Upward Cockerel Pose)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Parshva Kukkutasana (Side Cockerel Pose)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Bakasana (Crow Pose)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Parshva Bakasana ( Side Crow Pose)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Dwi Pada Koundinyasana (Two Leg Koundinya’s Pose)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1 (Single Leg Koundinya’s Pose 1)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2 (Single Leg Koundinya’s Pose 2)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Eka Pada Bakasana 1 (Single Leg Crow Pose 1)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Eka Pada Bakasana 2 (Single Leg Crow Pose 2)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)


[Inverted Back Bends]
Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (Two Leg Inverted Staff Pose)
Mandalasana (Mandala Pose)
Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana 1 (Single Leg Inverted Staff Pose 1)
Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana 2 (Single Leg Inverted Staff Pose 2)
Chakrabandhasana (Wheel Lock Pose)
Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose)


[Advanced Baby Back Bends]
Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana 1 (Single Leg King Pigeon Pose 1)
Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana 2 (Single Leg King Pigeon Pose 2)
Padangustha Dhanurasana (Big Toe Bow Pose)
Bhujangasana 2 (Cobra Pose 2)
Rajakapotasana (King Pigeon Pose)

[Groin and Hamstring Openers]
Hanumanasana (Hanuman’s Pose)
Samakonasana (Straight Angle Pose)
Supta Trivikramasana (Reclined Three Strides Pose)


[Deep Hip Openers]
Yogadandasana (Yoga Staff Pose)
Mulabandhasana (Root Lock Pose)
Kandasana (Knot Pose)


[Twists]
Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)
Pashasana (Noose Pose)
Paripurna Matsyendrasana (Full Lord of the Fishes Pose)


[Deep Forward Bends]
Yoganidrasana (Yoga Sleep Pose)
Dwi Pada Shirshasana (Two Legs Behind the Head Pose)
Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)


Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Break Down
  • The inversions go first, getting the important business of the practice out of the way, toning and balancing the nervous system while activating and integrating the various body parts into a stable whole.
  • Following that comes the Arm Balance/Back Bend Vishamanyasa, which is vigorous and challenging and relatively basic and superficial when you take into consideration the much deeper back bends, forward bends and twists that are to come. Many of the basic ranges of motion that will be practiced later on are included here in the context of strength and cohesion.
  • Then come the deep inverted back bends. In some ways, these are much more challenging than the advanced baby back bends that follow. Having the arms and legs on the ground, however, does make it easier to organize the organs of action to support the trunk, using gravity against which to arch the back and extend the spine.
  • In the advanced baby back bends it is then possible to take advantage of the organization and openness of the previous section to go deeper into these poses which requires more active use of the spinal extensor muscles to lift the trunk against the pull of gravity.
  • Hanumanasana (Hanuman’s Pose) and the other deep groin and hamstring openers then act as a bridge between the back bends and the forward bends to come. The front of the body is still being lengthened while the backs of the legs and the buttocks are beginning to be opened up.
  • The deep hip openers require extreme outward rotation of the thigh in the hip socket. This acts as both a release for the back bends that came before, softening up the buttocks and lower back, and a preparation for the deep twists and forward bends to come.
  • The three twists get progressively deeper, requiring more fluidity across the back of the pelvis and lower back, and deeper suppleness in the rib cage until the final twist requires the addition of the single Padmasana (Lotus Pose) leg. This is, in turn, a preparation for the deep forward bends.
  • The deep forward bends involve both an extreme outward rotation of the hip coupled with an extreme flexion of the spine to get the feet behind the head. The final forward bend lengthens the spine out again before Shavasana (Corpse Pose).

A Simplified Sequence

Here is a super-basic expression of the above schema, simplifying and limiting the scope of the poses, to get a general sense of the ranges of motion exercised in the practice:

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• 5 minutes.

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
• 5 minutes

Halasana(Plough Pose)
• 3 minutes.

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over a chair

Bakasana (Crow Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)

Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (Two Leg Inverted Staff Pose) with the feet on blocks or a chair

Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose) over a chair

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana 1 (Single Leg King Pigeon Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Hanumanasana (Hanuman’s Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Adho Mukha Ardha Padmasana (Half Lotus Pose)

Ankle to Knee Pose

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Bharadwajasana (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Ardha Baddha Padma Pashchimottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense West Stretch Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Posts:

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga,” Round-Up


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Intermediate Group Class: Separating the Armpits and Chest, Softening the Work of the Arms [Light on Yoga]

This is a substantially modified version of the “Light on Yoga” sequence we are breaking down in Practice Lab at the moment. I kept tinkering with the sequencing over the course of the week, as it is right on the borderline between intermediate and advanced. This is the version that seemed to work most effectively.

Think about the following actions as you go through the sequence:
  • Widen the upper back and the top chest as evenly as possible.
  • Soften and widen the deltoids around the shoulder joints.
  • Balance the weight evenly between each of both inner and outer armpits, stretching through each of them evenly.
  • Excavate out space between the inner armpit and the underlying ribs while widening the very top of the chest to differentiate the chest from the armpits and strengthen the arms.

The Sequence

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• 5 minutes.

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
• 5 minutes.

Halasana (Plough Pose)
• 3 minutes.

Malasana (Garland Pose)
• Do the pose with the heels supported and a belt around the body and legs to support the thighs so that the inner thigh muscles can soften

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over a chair

Bakasana (Crow Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Parshva Bakasana (Side Crow Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)
• Feet on blocks.
• Arms loosely belted to keep the arm and shoulder organized.

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)
• Two more repetitions with or without props, as needed.

Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose) over a chair

Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (Two Leg Inverted Staff Pose)
• Set up with your mat at the wall with a chair on it next to the wall. Lie on the back in preparation to come up with the legs close to the chair, if not touching it.
• Go up into Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Wheel Pose) and hold for a few moments.
• Bring the head back down to the ground and go into Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana . Hold for a few moments.
• Walk the feet closer together and step the feet up onto the feet of thew chair.
• Extend the legs and lift the head and shoulders up off the floor, moving the collarbones forward over the elbows. Lift the sides of the chest. Hold for a few moments.
• Bring the feet back to the floor, then replace the head on the floor in Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana, keeping the lift in the sides of the chest and the width across the back.
• Hold for a few moments and then release.
• Go through this cycle twice.

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Posts:
Intermediate Group Class: Separating the Armpits and Chest, Softening the Work of the Arms [Light on Yoga]
Intermediate Group Class: Separating the Armpits and Chest to Create Upper Body Strength


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Year of Yoga: Week 31



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

July 30


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped Behind the Back) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 31


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped Behind the Back) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 1


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped Behind the Back) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 2


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped Behind the Back) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs facing Single Leg Intense West Stretch Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 3


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped Behind the Back) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 4


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped Behind the Back) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Eka Pada Bakasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


August 5


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 31


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Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga", Part 1 [Light on Yoga]

In the back of “Light on Yoga” by B. K. S. Iyengar is a series of progressive courses that start from the most basic and go to the most advanced. The courses are arranged in practices that the yogin is supposed to repeat over a number of weeks, adjusting the sequence according to time and capacity. Sometimes I like to be completely brainless and just follow a program without thought and let the sequence tell me what it requires, sometimes I like to follow my own path and investigate a particular action or pose as inspiration takes me. And sometimes I like to walk a middle path. I was looking through the courses for inspiration for what to teach this week and I found a rather fun sequence which features a bunch of stuff that is well within my capacity and a bunch of stuff that is massively beyond my capabilities.

As I was editing this down into something I could teach my intermediate groups, I thought it might be fun to stick with this practice for a while and experiment with breaking it up and modifying it to unpack its secrets. In the book he calls for doing this for 25 weeks (week 201 to 225 of the complete 300 week epic). I doubt very much that I’ll stick with it for that long.

The Sequence (from p.483 of the Schocken edition)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Urdhva Kukkutasana (Upward Cockerel Pose)

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)

Parshva Kukkutasana (Side Cockerel Pose)

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)

Bakasana (Crow Pose)

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)

Parshva Bakasana ( Side Crow Pose)

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)

Dwi Pada Koundinyasana (Two Leg Koundinya’s Pose)

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)

Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1 (Single Leg Koundinya’s Pose 1)

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)

Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2 (Single Leg Koundinya’s Pose 2)

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)

Eka Pada Bakasana 1 (Single Leg Crow Pose 1)

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)

Eka Pada Bakasana 2 (Single Leg Crow Pose 2)

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)

Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (Two Leg Inverted Staff Pose)

Mandalasana (Mandala Pose)

Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana 1 (Single Leg Inverted Staff Pose 1)

Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana 2 (Single Leg Inverted Staff Pose 2)

Chakrabandhasana (Wheel Lock Pose)

Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose)

Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana 1 (Single Leg King Pigeon Pose 1)

Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana 2 (Single Leg King Pigeon Pose 2)

Padangustha Dhanurasana (Big Toe Bow Pose)

Bhujangasana 2 (Cobra Pose 2)

Rajakapotasana (King Pigeon Pose)

Hanumanasana (Hanuman’s Pose)

Samakonasana (Straight Angle Pose)

Supta Trivikramasana (Reclined Three Strides Pose)

Yogadandasana (Yoga Staff Pose)

Mulabandhasana (Root Lock Pose)

Kandasana (Knot Pose)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Paripurna Matsyendrasana (Full Lord of the Fishes Pose)

Yoganidrasana (Yoga Sleep Pose)

Dwi Pada Shirshasana (Two Legs Behind the Head Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Posts:

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga,” Round-Up


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Intermediate Group Class: Separating the Armpits and Chest, Softening the Work of the Arms [Light on Yoga]

This class is a modification of the practice from “Light on Yoga” found on p.466 titled “second day of the week” in the Schocken edition.

Think about the following actions as you go through the sequence:
  • Widen the upper back and the top chest as evenly as possible.
  • Soften and widen the deltoids around the shoulder joints.
  • Balance the weight evenly between each of both inner and outer armpits, stretching through each of them evenly.
  • Excavate out space between the inner armpit and the underlying ribs while widening the very top of the chest to differentiate the chest from the armpits and strengthen the arms.

Energetically speaking, focus on making the arms less manipulative, less grabby. Instead of pulling yourself into the pose with the arms, allow the hands to do no more than hold on and move the upper arm bones either out or back, depending on the pose. Allow your exhalations to be long and easy, the inhalations, soft and smooth. With the gentle movement and freedom created by the breath, allow yourself to fall deeper into the pose.

The Sequence


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with the following arm variations
• Urdhva Baddha Hastasana (Upward Bound Hands Pose), clasping the elbows overhead, both crossings.
• Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Reverse Bound Hands Pose), clasping the elbows behind the back, both crossings.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) full pose with arm variation

Shirshasana Cycle:
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand)
• 5 minutes.
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshvaikapada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
• 5 minutes.
Salamba Sarvangasana 2 (Shoulder Stand 2)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 1 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 1)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 2 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 2)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Parshvaikapada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana a(Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Maha Mudra (Great Seal)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Ardha Baddha Padma Pashchimottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense West Stretch Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1)

Marichyasana 2 (Marichi’s Pose 2)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Pashchimottanasana 1 (Upward Facing Intense West Stretch Pose 1)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Level 1 Group Class: Standing Forward Bends

In this practice, focus on deepening the hip creases and stretching from the hips to the head. Engage the inner thighs as you work to encourage the outer hips and thighs to soften. Do the straight leg poses with the legs slightly bent if it helps deepen the fold.

The Sequence


Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vajrasana (Downward Facing Thunderbolt Pose)

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with the toes turned under

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Have the balls of the feet up on a blanket roll or blocks to stretch out the calves.
• For half the time, do the pose with the legs bent, half with the legs straight.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)
• Do the pose first with the knees bent. Press the hands into the calves to resist the legs straightening as you draw the legs up.
• After half a minute, slowly release the resistance and straighten the legs without locking the knees out.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose) with a block between the thighs

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) full pose with arm variation

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)
• First, come into the flat back variation, bend the knee, deepen the hip crease and re-straighten the leg without locking out the knee.
• Then go into the full forward fold.

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
• Bend the knee, deepen the hip crease and re-straighten the leg without locking out the knee.

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3) with the wrists belted and the arms by the sides of the trunk

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Year of Yoga: Week 30



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

July 23


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Child’s Pose

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 24


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Child’s Pose

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 25


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Child’s Pose

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 26


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Child’s Pose

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 27


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Child’s Pose

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 28


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster, 3 to 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Child’s Pose

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 29


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 30


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Practice Lab: Forward, Around and Back [Light on Yoga]

This practice, adapted from the one found on p.481 in the Schocken edition of “Light on Yoga” (fourth day of the week) features inversions followed by extremely deep forward bends, followed by extremely deep back bends.

The Sequence

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Shirshasana Cycle:
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Parshva Shirshasana (Side Head Stand)
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Revolved Single Leg Head Stand)
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshvaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand ) drop backs
Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Single Leg Bridge Pose) drop backs
Urdhva Padmasana (Upward Lotus Pose)
Parshva Padmasana (Side Lotus Pose)
Pindasana (Embryo Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)
• 3 times: kicking up with primary leg, second leg, both legs together.

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand)
• twice: kicking up with primary leg and second leg.

Sayanasana (Pose of Repose) at the wall

Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)

Hamsasana (Swan Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Janu Shirshasana (Revolved Head of the Knee Pose)

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Supta Kurmasana (Sleeping Turtle Pose)

Yoganidrasana (Yoga Sleep Pose)

Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (Two Leg Inverted Staff Pose)

Mandalasana (Mandala Pose)

Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana 1 (Single Leg Inverted Staff Pose 1)

Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana 2 (Single Leg Inverted Staff Pose 2)
• In this variation, you lift your head off the ground, walk your foot in and hold on to your heel with your fingers.
• To work up to this, set your mat up at the wall and place a chair on the mat against the wall. Come into Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana and lift the head off the floor. Place one foot on the chair for support and walk the other foot in towards the hands. Repeat on the other side.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Intermediate Group Class: Separating the Armpits and Chest to Create Upper Body Strength

This class features what Mr. Iyengar calls a vishamanyasa. Whereas vinyasa is the sequential placing of similar poses one after another to create a continuous flow, vishamanyasa is the placing of radically different poses together. In this case, arm balances are mixed with Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose). It is a modification of the practice from “Light on Yoga” found on p.484 of the Schocken edition that was featured in last week’s Practice Lab.

Anatomically speaking, this sequence offers a perfect opportunity to play with the arms, shoulders and trunk. Think about the following actions as you go through the sequence:
  • Widen the upper back and the top chest as evenly as possible.
  • Soften and widen the deltoids around the shoulder joints.
  • Balance the weight evenly between each of both inner and outer armpits, stretching through each of them evenly.
  • Excavate out space between the inner armpit and the underlying ribs while widening the very top of the chest to differentiate the chest from the armpits and strengthen the arms.

The Sequence

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with the following arm variations
• Urdhva Baddha Hastasana (Upward Bound Hands Pose), clasping the elbows overhead, both crossings.
• Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Reverse Bound Hands Pose), clasping the elbows behind the back, both crossings.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Shirshasana Cycle:
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Parshva Shirshasana (Side Head Stand)
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Revolved Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshva Bakasana Shirshasana (Side Bound Angle Pose in Head Stand)

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Salamba Sarvangasana 2 (Shoulder Stand 2)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 1 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 1)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 2 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 2)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Parshva Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)
Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Single Leg Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand) drop-backs
• 3 sets.

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over a chair

Bhujapidasana (Pressure on the Arms Pose)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)

Ashtavakrasana (Ashtavakra’s Pose)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)

Bakasana (Crow Pose)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)

Parshva Bakasana (Side Crow Pose)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)
• 3 minutes.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Level 1 Group Class: Standing Twists

In this practice we need to find balance in the standing poses by using the strength of the inner thighs. This has the added benefit of allowing the outer hips and thighs a chance to soften, which, in turn, allows the trunk to elongate, allowing for a more effective twist.


The Sequence:

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet hip width apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) kegs only into a forward bend

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)
• Flat back first, then into forward fold.

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose) with the hand on a block

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3) variation
• Come into the pose with both hands on high blocks.

Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half Moon Pose) with the hand on a block

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose) with the hand on a block

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Year of Yoga: Week 29



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

July 16


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 5 rounds.
• After Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog) step forward into one of the following poses in reach round: Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2), Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1), Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose), Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose), Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose).

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Child’s Pose

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 17


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 5 rounds.
• After Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog) step forward into one of the following poses in reach round: Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose), Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose), Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose), Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1), Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) for a second time.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into a forward fold

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 18


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 5 rounds.
• After Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog) hop or step forward into Dandasana (Staff Pose) and do one of the following poses in each round: Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined big Toe Pose 2), Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose), Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose), Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose), Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose).

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Child’s Pose

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2) simple or full variation

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 19


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 5 rounds.
• After Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog), go forward into Plank Pose or Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) before lowering yourself to the floor on your abdomen and go into one of the following poses in each round: Shalabhasana (Locust Pose), Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose), Dhanurasana (Bow Pose), Parshva Dhanurasana (Side Bow Pose).

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 20


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 5 rounds.
• After Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog), step forward into one of the following poses in each round: Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose), Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose), Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose), Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half Moon Pose), Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose).

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 21


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 5 rounds.
• After Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog), go forward into one of the following poses in each round: Plank Pose, Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose), Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose), Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff pose), Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose)> Come into this last one from Dandasana (Staff Pose) and either do the bent-leg Table top variation or the full pose.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 22


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 29


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Practice Lab: Arm Balances and Back Bends

This practice features a challenging sequence of arm balances interspersed with Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose) where you go from Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand) into Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose) and back. It’s a great workout for the chest and arms. This is another modification of a practice from “Light on Yoga”. You can find the full practice on p.484 of the Schocken edition).

The Sequence

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Shirshasana Cycle:
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand 2)
Shirshasana 3 (Head Stand 3)
Baddha Hasta Shirshasana (Bound Hands Head Stand)
Mukta Hasta Shirshasana (Free Hand Head Stand)
Urdhva Dandasana (Upward Staff Pose)
Parshva Shirshasana (Side Head Stand)
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg Revolved Head Stand)
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshvaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Parshva Baddha Konasana (Side Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Pindasana (Embryo Pose) in Head Stand

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Salamba Sarvangasana 2 (Shoulder Stand 2)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 1 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 1)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 2 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 2)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Karnapidasana (Pressure on the Ear Pose)
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Parshva Halasana (Side Plough Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Parshvaikapada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)
Parshva Sarvangasana (Side Shoulder Stand)
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand)
Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Single Leg Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand)
Urdhva Padmasana Sarvangasana (Upward Lotus Pose in Shoulder Stand)
Parshva Urdhva Padmasana Sarvangasana (Side Upward Lotus Pose in Shoulder Stand)
Pindasana (Embryo Pose)
Parshva Pindasana (Side Embryo Pose)

Bhujapidasana (Pressure on the Arms Pose)

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
• Walking down and up the wall.

Ashtavakrasana (Ashtavakra’s Pose)

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
• Walking down and up the wall.

Bakasana (Crow Pose)

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
• Walking down and up the wall.

Parshva Bakasana (Side Crow Pose)

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
• Walking down and up the wall.

Urdhva Kukkutasana (Upward Cockerel Pose)

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
• Walking down and up the wall.

Parshva Kukkutasana (Side Cockerel Pose)

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
• Walking down and up the wall.

Dwi Pada Koundinyasana (Two Leg Koundinya’s Pose)

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
• Walking down and up the wall.

Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1 (Single Leg Koundinya’s pose 1)

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
• Walking down and up the wall.

Eka Pada Bakasana 1 (Single Leg Crow Pose 1)

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
• Walking down and up the wall.

Eka Pada Bakasana 2 (Single Leg Crow Pose 2)

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
• Walking down and up the wall.

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• 10 minutes.


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Intermediate Group Class: The Head, Neck and Top Ribs

This week we have our last exploration of the head and neck for the time being. In these semi-restorative long holdings we will be thinking about three things:
  • Embodying and releasing the atlanto-occipital joint, the joint between the skull and the top of the spine, located behind the cheekbones/roof of the mouth/root of the tongue and between the ears.
  • Expanding the neck ribs, those first two ribs to which the scalene muscles attach.
  • Expanding the neck ribs causes the scalenes to contract, so we must then think of lengthening the core of the neck--everything close to the cervical spine--while softening and widening the sheath of the neck--the soft tissue and organs that are more superficial.

The Sequence

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) on the ropes
• Hands and head supported by blocks.
• 3 to 5 minutes.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) on the ropes
• Hands and head supported by blocks.
• 3 to 5 minutes.

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• 10 minutes.

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
• 10 minutes.

Halasana (Plough Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Tie a long belt to the middle hook of the rope wall and use it as a sling in which to rest the head.
• Make sure that the head is not too far off the floor. The back of the neck and the throat need to remain balanced.
• 5 minutes.

Ujjayi 4 Pranayama (Victorious Breath 4) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Ujjayi 4 is a complete inhalation followed by a complete, slightly longer exhalation.
• 5 minutes.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Tie a long belt to the middle hook of the rope wall and use it as a sling in which to rest the head.
• Make sure that the head is not too far off the floor. The back of the neck and the throat need to remain balanced.
• 5 minutes.


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Year of Yoga: Week 28



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

July 9


Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 10


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into a forward fold

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 11


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any challenging variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 12


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 13


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined big Toe Pose 2)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Pashchima Namaskarasana (Reverse Prayer Pose) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 14


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Pashchima Namaskarasana (Reverse Prayer Pose) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose).
• From Plank Pose.

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose).
• From the floor.

Parvatasana in Virasana (Mountain Pose in Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) with a bolster across the back
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose) with a bolster across the back

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Salamba Sarvangasana 2 (Shoulder Stand 2)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 15


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 28


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Level 1 Group Class: Elongating the Trunk to Protect the Lower Back

In this class we will be opening the hip crease in back bends. To lengthen the thigh and open the abdomen, keep the back leg in the standing poses strong, modifying your poses to accommodate this (bringing the feet closer together in standing poses, for example). To protect the lower back, work on the following actions:
  • Widen and lengthen the buttock flesh away from the head.
  • Reach the legs away from the head.
  • Lengthen the abdomen and sides towards the head.

The Sequence

Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
• Simple variation: legs crossed in Sukhasana, lying back flat on the floor with the arms overhead.
• 90 seconds each crossing.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lunge with the back leg up

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lunge with the back knee down and the hands on the floor

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lunge with the back knee down and the hands on the thigh, the trunk lifted

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Utthita Hasta Padasana (Extended Hands and Feet Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1) with the hands on the hips

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1) with the arms raised

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Sphinx Pose

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Eka Pada Dhanurasana
• From Sphinx Pose, bring one forearm across the body, reach back and do bow pose on one side, then switch.

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
• Do this twice.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into a forward bend

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab: Mandalasana [Light on Yoga]

Mandalasana (Mandala Pose) is a tricky and topsy-turvy pose where you come into Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana and walk your feet around in a circle. This is a modification of a practice from “Light on Yoga” that features the pose. You can find the full practice on p.481 of the Schocken edition).

The Sequence

Side Stretch on a chair or ledge
• Place the elbows on the chair (from a kneeling position) or ledge (from a standing position) with the arms bent and the hands together in Namaskarasana (Prayer Position).
• Hold the pose for 2 to 3 minutes.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)
• 1 minute.

Shirshasana Cycle
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• 5 minutes.
Parshva Shirshasana (Side Head Stand)
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)

Sarvangasana Cycle
Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand 1)
• 5 minutes
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Parshvaikapada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
• Come into the pose from Sarvangasana.
Parshvaikapada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)
• Come into the pose from Sarvangasana.

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense Stretch Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)
• 1 minute.

Parivrtta Pashchimottanasana (Revolved Intense West Stretch Pose)

Akarna Dhanurasana (Bow to the Ear Pose)

Uttanapadasana (Stretched Out Upward Facing Pose)

Setubandhasana (Bridge Lock Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Marichyasana 4 (Marichi’s Pose 4)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)

Yoganidrasana (Yoga Sleep Pose)

Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Behind the Head Pose)

Dwi Pada Shirshasana (Both Legs Behind the Head Pose)

Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (Two Leg Inverted Staff Pose)

Mandalasana (Mandala Pose)

Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose)

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose) at the wall
• This refers to coming into and out of Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose) from Hand Stand.
• Come into Hand Stand at the wall several times, each time getting a bit further away from the wall and sliding one leg and then the other down the wall until you can get the feet to the ground in Urdhva Dhanurasana. Come out of the pose each time by walking the feet back up the wall swinging the legs back overhead into Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) or Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose).
• 8 times.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Intermediate Group Class: Balancing the Neck and Dropping the Thighs

This week our journey up the spine continues as we work with the atlanto-occipital joint, the joint between the first vertebra and the base of the skull. It can be a tough one to locate as it lies deep within the head. If you soften back from the cheekbones, behind the roof of the mouth and the back of the tongue towards the base of the skull you will find the plane of the joint. As you practice the following sequence, soften and release the joint and think of it rising towards the crown of the head.

As you do this, find your femurs and allow the bones to drop away in the opposite direction. (In the case of the inversions, the two ends still move away from each other, just in the opposite direction relative to gravity.) These two are not so much muscular actions as they are thought directions. Within the dynamics of each pose, find softness and freedom in the muscle and connective tissue to allow the release to happen.

The Sequence

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
• Lie back over a small mat roll or a thin- and narrow-folded blanket to create a very gently arch of the back.
• 3 minutes.

Side Stretch on a chair or ledge
• Place the elbows on the chair (from a kneeling position) or ledge (from a standing position) with the arms bent and the hands together in Namaskarasana (Prayer Position).
• Hold the pose for 2 to 3 minutes.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 1 (Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose 1) with the raised leg on a ledge or a rope hook

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 2 (Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose 2) with the raised leg on a ledge or a rope hook

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose Arms) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• 2 minutes in the regular pose.
• 1 minute with the fingers pinched, touching the shoulders.
• 2 minutes in the regular pose with the second interlock of the fingers.

Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand 2)
• From the floor.
• 30 seconds.

Shirshasana 3 (Head Stand 3)
• From the floor.
• 30 seconds.

Baddha Hasta Shirshasana (Bound Hands Head Stand)
• From the floor.
• 30 seconds each crossing.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Salamba Sarvangasana 2 (Shoulder Stand 2)
• Include the different arm variations.

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only forward bend

Pigeon Pose forward bend

[Do each of the following three hip openers all on crossing and then all on the other]
Ankle to Knee Pose
Revolved Ankle to Knee Pose
• Twist to the side of the top foot.
Side Ankle to Knee Pose
• Extended forward over the side of the top foot.
Ankle to Knee Pose

Padmasana Cycle [either in full Padmasana, Ardha Padmasana with the legs bound or Sukhasana with the legs bound]
Padmasana (Lotus Pose)
Tolasana (Scales Pose)
Simhasana 2 (Lion Pose 2)
Gorakshasana (Cowherd Pose)
• Support yourself with one hand on a block if necessary.
Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
Yoga Mudrasana (Yoga Seal Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Year of Yoga: Week 27



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

July 2


Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)

Child’s Pose

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 3


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Single Leg Intense Stretch Pose)

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into a forward fold

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 4


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 5


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Virasana (Hero Pose)

Parshva Virasana (Side Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Parshva Sukhasana (Side Comfortable Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward fold

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes 1)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 6


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined big Toe Pose 2)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 7


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose).
• From Plank Pose.

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose).
• From the floor.

Parvatasana in Virasana (Mountain Pose in Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) with a bolster across the back
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose) with a bolster across the back

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 8


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 27


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Level 1 Group Class: Deepening the Hip Crease and Releasing the Lower Back and Buttocks

In this sequence, think about softening and widening the abdomen and hip creases as you deepen them. At the same time, soften and widen the lower back and buttocks.

The Sequence

Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
• Simple variation: legs crossed in Sukhasana, lying back flat on the floor with the arms overhead.
• 90 seconds each crossing.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lunge with the back leg up

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vajrasana (Downward Facing Thunderbolt Pose) with the head on a block

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab: Head Stand Variations and Restorative

With all of this intense practice of late, I found I needed a bit of a break from the 10 to 20 Urdhva Dhanurasanas (Upward Bow Pose) at the end of each practice that Mr. Iyengar calls for in his sequences in “Light on Yoga”. The following is a semi-restorative sequence that includes the different arm-variations of Shirshasana (Head Stand). Whenever I’ve had them taught to me, we’ve always come into Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1) and then changed arm position while balancing. I’ve never been able to do that very well, so I thought I would look and see how he recommends doing it in the book. (I just realized that whenever you talk to an Iyengar yoga practitioner, you will always hear us referring to “he” and “the book” without further explanation. It’s a cultural shorthand where it’s a given we are always talking about Iyengar and Light on Yoga.)

In LoY he presents a variation of Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1) where you pinch the fingers together, turn the fingers up and touch the shoulders. It forces you to really reach through the shoulders and engage the upper back muscles to preserve the balance. After that, each arm variation is presented coming into the pose from the floor, so I thought I would try it. It makes a huge difference. The arm and upper back strength required to come up prepares the body for balance in the pose itself. The only one I was not able to come fully up in was Mukta Hasta Shirshasana (Free Hand Head Stand). I only made it up into Urdhva Dandasana (Upward Staff Pose), which is still something. Probably if I had done this variation first, when I was fresher, I might have made it up.

The Sequence

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with a roll under the neck for neck traction
• 5 minutes.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with arm variations:
• Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana Upward Bound Fingers Pose).
• Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms.
• Pashchima Namaskarasana (Reverse Prayer Pose).

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• 2 minutes in the regular pose.
• 1 minute with the fingers pinched, touching the shoulders.
• 2 minutes in the regular pose with the second interlock of the fingers.

Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand 2)
• From the floor.
• 30 seconds.

Shirshasana 3 (Head Stand 3)
• From the floor.
• 30 seconds.

Baddha Hasta Shirshasana (Bound Hands Head Stand)
• From the floor.
• 30 seconds each crossing.

Mukta Hasta Shirshasana (Free Hand Head Stand)
• From the floor.
• 30 seconds.

Supta Virasana (Hero Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
• Legs bound in Ardha Padmasana (Half Lotus Pose).
• Lying back over a bolster across the back.
• 2 minutes each crossing.

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) with Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
• Over a bolster, legs bound with a belt.
• 5 minutes.

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)
• Over a bolster.
• 5 minutes.

[Do each of the following three hip openers all on crossing and then all on the other]
Ankle to Knee Pose
Revolved Ankle to Knee Pose
• Twist to the side of the top foot.
Side Ankle to Knee Pose
• Extended forward over the side of the top foot.
Ankle to Knee Pose

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• 10 minutes.


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Intermediate Group Class: Expanding the Rib Cage in Back Bends

Continuing on from the idea of balancing the lumbar/thoracic joint of the spine, we will be working on balancing the joints of the entire thoracic spine, including the cervical/thoracic joint, by expanding the rib cage.

Think of the rib cage as having three bands:
  • The stomach ribs: the lower ribs that wrap around the kidneys, stomach and liver and that attach to the cartilage that leads up to the bottom of the sternum.
  • The heart ribs: the middle ribs that wrap around the heart and lungs.
  • The neck ribs: the first two ribs to which the scalene muscles of the neck attach.

We are going to be expanding each rib band both from front to back and from back to front to crate space three-dimensionally. In the back bends we need to pay particular attention to the back of the rib bands to create support for the spinal extensors and to create room for the spine to move into the body as it extends.

When expanding the neck ribs, the scalene muscles contract, potentially creating hardness in the neck. Think of the neck as having a core of muscle and connective tissue that is close to the spine and a sheath that wraps around it. In each of these poses think of keeping the neck core long while softening and expanding the sheath.

In addition, when taking the back bends, think of moving the sides of the chest, where the armpits and pectorals meet, and lifting them as much as possible. In addition, think of moving the wall of connective tissue surrounding the buttocks away from the head towards the feet to create a balanced arch in the spine.

The Sequence

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
• Lie back over a small mat roll or a thin- and narrow-folded blanket to create a very gently arch of the back.
• 3 minutes.

Side Stretch on a chair or ledge
• Place the elbows on the chair (from a kneeling position) or ledge (from a standing position) with the arms bent and the hands together in Namaskarasana (Prayer Position).
• Hold the pose for 2 to 3 minutes.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Shirshasana Cycle:
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Revolved Single Leg Head Stand) preparation only
• Bring the leg back into a split without turning.
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Revolved Single Leg Head Stand) preparation only

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana Cycle:
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) head down variation
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) head up variation
Supta Padangusthasana 3 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 3)
Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
• Do the whole cycle all on one leg, then all on the other.

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Salamba Sarvangasana 2 (Shoulder Stand 2)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 1 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 1)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 2 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 2)

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)
• 3 minutes.

Chatushpadasana (Four Footed Pose)

Sarvangasana Drop-Back Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Single Leg Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
• Use only one blanket and belt the elbows. Take care not to try and get the same lift in the back and openness in the chest in Shoulder Stand as you would on three blankets.
• Do the whole cycle on one leg and then the other.
• Repeat three to five times for both legs.

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over a chair

Uttanapadasana (Stretched Out Upward Facing Pose)

Setubandhasana (Bridge Lock Pose)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)
• Come into the pose from Tadasana (Mountain Pose) walking the hands down the wall, then walking them back up.
• 5 times.

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose) at the wall
• This refers to coming into and out of Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose) from Hand Stand.
• Come into Hand Stand at the wall several times, each time getting a bit further away from the wall and sliding one leg and then the other down the wall until you can get the feet to the ground in Urdhva Dhanurasana. Come out of the pose each time by walking the feet back up the wall swinging the legs back overhead into Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) or Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose).

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Year of Yoga: Week 26



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

June 25


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 26


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Virasana (Hero, Pose) with Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 27


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose) or Ardha Bhekasana (Half Frog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 28


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1) twist only

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1) full pose

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 29


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Pashchima Namaskarasana (Reverse Prayer Pose)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 30


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any challenging variation including Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose).

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any challenging variation including Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose).

Parvatasana in Virasana (Mountain Pose in Hero Pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) with a bolster across the back

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose) or Ardha Bhekasana (Half Frog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) with a bolster across the back
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose) with a bolster across the back

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 1


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 26


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Level 1 Group Class: Opening the Chest and Shoulders

The general idea here is to create width and openness across the collarbones and top chest while also keeping the upper and middle back broad. The sequence is perhaps a little more than basic as it has an inversion prep in it.

The Sequence

Side Stretch at the wall
• Stand with the feet together about eight to twelve inches away from the wall and lean the right hip, waist and ribs against it. Reach the right arm up. Pause here for a few breaths.
• Come up onto the balls of the feet. Stay here for a few breaths.
• Slowly drop the right heel, resisting up through the ribs and arms to lengthen out the right side of the waist. When the right heel is down, drop the left.
• Bend the right elbow and clasp it with the left hand. Draw the upper arm bone up towards the ceiling. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Take the tip of the elbow up and over the top of the head while keeping the outer armpit moving into the wall. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Turn the chest a slightly into the middle of the room to send the stretch towards the back. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Release and repeat on the second side.

Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms with the back against the wall

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) with the back against the wall

All Fours
• Take a moment to seal your hands into the mat while widening the upper back and the top of the chest.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
• Put the hand of the raised arm on the hip.
• Press the collarbone away from the ear and roll it up towards the ceiling.

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1) simple variation
• Turn the head away from the direction of the twist.

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1) full pose with bound arm
• Turn the head away from the direction of the twist.


Head Stand Preparation
• Do twice, once with each interlock of the fingers.

Right Angle Forearm Stand at the wall
• Sit with the buttocks against the wall and mark off where the heels are. Set yourself up in the Head Stand Prep with the elbows where the heels were.
• Walk the feet up the wall to hip height.
• Hold for several seconds and repeat with the second interlock of the fingers.

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation
• Have the hands on blocks.

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) with the feet on the chair

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose) with the toes on the chair
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with a lift under the trunk and head
• 5 minutes.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab: Drop-Backs From Tadasana [Light on Yoga]

When we went to practice yesterday, we took a little time to get started and ended up having to pair back our intended practice from the sequence in “Light on Yoga” we had planned (the sequence for weeks 61 to 65 on p.471 of the Schocken edition). This raised the question of how much you can cut out of the sequences before they start to fall apart. We ended up cutting out the variations in Head Stand and Shoulder Stand, some of the arm balances and all of the twists which should have come after them. When the time came to work on the drop-backs, we decided that we should probably have cut the arm balances and kept in the inversions and the twists, as we were lacking some of the organization needed to optimally go to the floor and back up.

The Sequence

Supta Virasana (Hero Pose) over a bolster
• 3 to 5 minutes.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• 1 to 2 minutes.

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• 5 minutes.

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
• 5 minutes.

Halasana (Plough Pose)
• 3 minutes.

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana Cycle:
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) head down variation
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) head up variation
Supta Padangusthasana 3 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 3)
Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
• Do the whole cycle all on one leg, then all on the other.

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)
• 1 minute.

Parivrtta Pashchimottanasana (Revolved Intense West Stretch Pose)

Akarna Dhanurasana (Bow to the Ear Pose)

Kurmasana (Turtle Pose)

Supta Kurmasana (Sleeping Turtle Pose)

Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Behind the Head Pose)

Skandasana (Single Leg Behind the Head Forward Bend)

Bhujapidasana (Pressure on the Arms Pose)

Ashtavakrasana (Ashtavakra’s Pose)

Padmasana Cycle
Padmasana (Lotus Pose)
Parvatasana (Mountain Pose)
Simhasana 2 (Lion Pose 2)
Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
• Do the whole cycle all on one crossing of the legs, then all on the other.

Uttanapadasana (Stretched Out Upward Facing Pose)

Setubandhasana (Bridge Lock Pose)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)
• Come into the pose from Tadasana (Mountain Pose) walking the hands down the wall, then walking them back up.
• 6 times.

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)
• From the floor.
• 6 times.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Year of Yoga: Week 25



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

June 18


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 19


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Intense West Stretch Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 20


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 21


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1) twist only

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 22


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 23


Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) with a bolster across the back

Parvatasana in Virasana (Mountain Pose in Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Matsyasana (Fish Pose) with a bolster across the back

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Pashchima Namaskarasana in Virasana (Reverse Prayer Pose in Hero Pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) with a bolster across the back
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose) with a bolster across the back

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 24


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 25


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Intermediate Group Class: Balancing the Lumbar/Thoracic Vertebral Joint [Light on Yoga]

The joint between the first lumbar vertebra (L1) and the last thoracic vertebra (T12) often gets a lot of abuse, getting gripped and hardened as we try to muscle through our poses. In this practice focus on these actions:
  • Soften and widen the lower ribs from front to back.
  • Soften and widen the muscle and connective tissue on either side of the spine from the tailbone to the back of the neck, even in the back bends.
  • Expand the lumbar/thoracic joint to support the surrounding tissue, rather than gripping the surrounding tissue to support the joint.

This sequence is adapted from p. 473 of the Schocken edition of “Light on Yoga”.

The Sequence

Side Stretch at the wall
• Stand with the feet together about eight to twelve inches away from the wall and lean the right hip, waist and ribs against it. Reach the right arm up. Pause here for a few breaths.
• Come up onto the balls of the feet. Stay here for a few breaths.
• Slowly drop the right heel, resisting up through the ribs and arms to lengthen out the right side of the waist. When the right heel is down, drop the left.
• Bend the right elbow and clasp it with the left hand. Draw the upper arm bone up towards the ceiling. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Take the tip of the elbow up and over the top of the head while keeping the outer armpit moving into the wall. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Turn the chest a slightly into the middle of the room to send the stretch towards the back. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Release and repeat on the second side.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Shirshasana Cycle:
Salamba Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand 2)
• Hold for no more than a minute.
• Come down out of the pose and without disturbing the placement of the head (if possible) go into the next pose.
Urdhva Dandasana (Upward Staff Pose)
• Hold for 10 to 20 seconds.
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• Hold for 3 to 5 minutes.
Parshva Shirshasana (Side Head Stand)
• Hold for 20 to 30 seconds on each side.
Urdhva Dandasana (Upward Staff Pose)
• Hold for 10 to 20 seconds.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)

Baddha Konasana Mayurasana (Bound Angle Pose in Peacock Pose)

Nakrasana (Crocodile Pose)
• From Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) hop lightly forward 3 to 5 times, then back the same amount.

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Parshva Dhanurasana (Side Bow Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Salamba Sarvangasana 2 (Shoulder Stand 2)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 1 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 1)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 2 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 2)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Karnapidasana (Pressure on the Ear Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana Cycle:
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) head down variation
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) head up variation
Supta Padangusthasana 3 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 3)
Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
• Do the whole cycle all on one leg, then all on the other.

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Chakrasana (Wheel Pose)
• Roll from Halasana (Plough Pose) to Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Try this from a 3-blanket Shoulder Stand set-up to protect the neck.
• DO NOT press the head into the floor to help the transition. Use the strength of the arms and legs.

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Supta Kurmasana (Sleeping Turtle Pose) preparation
• Put the feet up on a block with the heels together.
• Make a square shape with the legs, reach forward and take hold of the feet.
• Lengthen the sides forward towards the feet.

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Level 1 Group Class: Lengthening the Sides to Balance the Spine in Twists

For the spine to twist it needs to be fully elongated with the curves balanced. The easiest way to achieve this is to make sure that the sides of the trunk are elongated and parallel to each other. Then there will be room in the trunk for the twisting action.

The Sequence

Reclined Hip Stretch Sequence

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Parivrtta Supta Padangusthasana (Revolved Reclined Big Toe Pose)
• Have the foot resting on a block. Keep the hips/pelvis facing the block.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)
• Come into the pose with the arms raised alongside the ears, then bring them down into position.

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)
• Flat back position with the hands on blocks only.

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)
• Come into it from Parshvottanasana.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose) with the knees bent

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose) working on straightening the legs

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Intermediate Group Class: Core Poses [Light on Yoga]

This sequence is adapted from p.474 of the Schocken edition of “Light on Yoga”. As you go through the poses, ">think about the sides of the body--the side waist and the side ribs. Strengthen and lengthen them, linking the two sides together by widening across the front and back body. Additionally, think about stretching them either towards or away from the head for additional strength and balance. Where no specific time is given, hold the pose according to your capacity.

The Sequence

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• 5 minutes.

Urdhva Dandasana (Upward Staff Pose)
• 1 minute.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
• 5 minutes.

Halasana (Plough Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Urdhva Mukha Pashchimottanasana 1 (Upward Facing Intense West Stretch Pose 1)
• 1 minute.

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)
• 1 minute.

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)
• 30 seconds.

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Krounchasana (Heron Pose)

Malasana (Garland Pose)
• 1 minute.

Supta Kurmasana (Sleeping Turtle Pose) preparation
• Put the feet up on a block with the heels together.
• Make a square shape with the legs, reach forward and take hold of the feet.
• Lengthen the sides forward towards the feet.
• 1 minute.

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)
• 30 seconds.

Pashasana (Noose Pose)
• 1 minute. (Yes, that’s not a typo!)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)
• 1 minute.

Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)
• If you are unable to hold the balance for the full time, do the pose with the feet on the floor.
• 1 minute.

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)
• 6 times, holding for 20 seconds each time.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab: Drop-Backs and Arm Balances (from "Light on Yoga")

In our giddy folly of enthusiastic exploration, we decided to have a go at this sequence from “Light on Yoga”, which includes both drop-backs from Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand) into Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose) and arm balances. Kristen did well with the drop-backs but, to be truthful, they scare the crap out of me. I tried it once or twice, once with a spot, once to a Halasana bench, but I wussed out the first time, and had a brain spasm the second and tweaked my shoulder. So I did drop-backs from Tadasana (Mountain Pose) on the ropes instead. I maintain that I’m a 6’2”, 185lb., clumsy guy and that I don’t have the openness in my back and chest yet to do them properly. Kristen thinks I need to just suck it up and own my size and figure it out. I think she’s probably right. Something else to work on.

This sequence is adapted from the one that appears on page 472 of the Schocken edition of “Light on Yoga”. Be warned that it takes a good 2 1/2 to 3 hours to perform.

The Sequence

Shirshasana Cycle:
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Urdhva Dandasana (Upward Staff Pose)
Parshva Shirshasana (Side Head Stand)
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg Revolved Head Stand)
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshvaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Parshva Baddha Konasana (Side Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Pindasana (Embryo Pose) in Head Stand

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)

Padma Mayurasana (Lotus Peacock Pose)

Nakrasana (Crocodile Pose)
• This poses involves coming into Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) and hopping forward five times, then back five times.

Salamba Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Salamba Sarvangasana 2 (Shoulder Stand 2)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 1 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 1)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 2 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 2)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Karnapidasana (Pressure on the Ear Pose)
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Parshva Halasana (Side Plough Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Parshvaikapada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)
Parshva Sarvangasana (Side Shoulder Stand)
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand)
Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Single Leg Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand)
Urdhva Padmasana Sarvangasana (Upward Lotus Pose in Shoulder Stand)
Parshva Urdhva Padmasana Sarvangasana (Side Upward Lotus Pose in Shoulder Stand)
Pindasana (Embryo Pose)
Parshva Pindasana (Side Embryo Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) head down variation
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) head up variation
Supta Padangusthasana 3 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 3)
Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
• Do the whole cycle all on one leg, then the other.

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Uttanapadasana (Stretched Out Upward Facing Pose)

Setubandhasana (Bridge Lock Pose)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose) from Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand) and back up into Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
OR
Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose) from and into Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
• Do 12 of these.

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Bhujapidasana (Pressure on the Arms Pose)

Ashtavakrasana (Ashtavakra’s Pose)

Bakasana (Crow Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Pashchimottanasana (Revolved Intense West Stretch Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Akarna Dhanurasana (Bow to the Ear Pose)

Padmasana Cycle:
Padmasana (Lotus Pose)
Parvatasana (Mountain Pose)
Tolasana (Scales Pose)
Simhasana 2 (Lion Pose 2)
Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
Urdhva Kukkutasana (Upward Cockerel Pose)
Garbha Pindasana (Embryo in the Womb Pose)
Gorakshasana (Cowherd Pose)
Baddha Padmasana (Bound Lotus Pose)
Yoga Mudrasana (Yoga Seal Pose)
Supta Vajrasana (Reclined Thunderbolt Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Bhekasana (Frog Pose)

Supta Virasana (reclined hero pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Year of Yoga: Week 24



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

June 11


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half Moon Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 12


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 2)

Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) full pose with arm variation

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Single Leg Intense West Stretch Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only with forward bend

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 13


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 14


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 15


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 16


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) 3-5 minutes

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) any simple variation, 3-5 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) including Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose), 2-3 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) including Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose), 2-3 rounds

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1) binding the arm if possible

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2) either the simple or full variation, binding the arm if possible

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 17


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 24


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Intermediate Group Class: Balancing the Secondary Curves

The Curves of the Spine
The secondary curves of the spine are the ones that start to develop in early infancy as the child begins to pick its head and legs up and strengthen its back. They are the lumbar and the cervical curves. In this practice, think of softening and widening across the inner and outer surfaces of the lumbar and cervical areas.

The Sequence

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster with the legs in Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
• Hold for 5 minutes.

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over a chair
• Support the head.
• 5 minutes.

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose) over a bolster
• 5 minutes.

Paryankasana (Couch Pose)
• Turn the bolster sideways and add blankets for more height so that the head falls back below the shoulders.
• Allow the hips to lift so the arch of the body is fairly balanced between the hips and shoulders.
• Support the head.
• 5 minutes.

Hanging Child’s Pose on the ropes
• Hold for 3 to 5 minutes.

Hanging Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) on the ropes
• Come into this directly from the Child’s Pose.
• Slide the feet down to the floor (or to blocks if they don’t reach). Slide the rope into the abdomen to support the upper body.
• Hold for 3 to 5 minutes.
• Come up slowly from this so that the blood does not rush to the head.

Hanging Shirshasana (Head Stand) on the ropes
• Hold for 3 to 5 minutes.

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)
• 5 to 10 minutes.

Adho Mukha Shavasana (Downward Facing Corpse Pose) over a bolster
• 5 minutes.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with support under the head and thighs
• 5 minutes

Ujjayi 4 (Victorious Breath 4) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Full, expansive inhalations and exhalations.
• 5 minutes.

Ujjayi 8 (Victorious Breath 8) in any comfortable seated position
• Sit with your upper back resting on a foam block against the wall.
• 5 minutes.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
* 5 to 10 minutes.


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Practice Lab: Standing Poses (from "Light on Yoga")

One of the reasons I got behind with my posts last week was because of this new obsession that Kristen and I have been developing over the sequences in “Light on Yoga”. When we got together last Monday to practice, we ended up doing one of the more basic sequences from LoY and I was thinking I might do something not from the book later in the week for variety and to have something to write about. Turns out I didn’t. I was back on the old BKS treadmill. (There’s something great about not having to think and plan what you’re going to do all the time.) I was even trying to come up with advanced classes that weren’t based on the book (coming soon), but then I found out that Kristen was teaching from the book as well. So I surrendered to the call. It’s going to be all “Beeks” (as my friend Leslie calls him) all the time for a few weeks. One could do worse.

This sequence comes from the end of the first course in the back of the book. After 30 weeks of progressive sequences he offers a three-day course that hits all the important poses from the course. This is the third day, which mostly features standing poses. Notes that it begins with Shirshasana (Head Stand), but there is NO SHOULDER STAND! Shocking! I wondered if it was a typo, but I have a newer UK edition that corrects some other mistakes, and this was unchanged.

I should add that all of these Light on Yoga sequences that I’ve been presenting have pranayama associated with them as well, but I haven’t been practicing or teaching them that way. Iyengar pranayama has moved on so much since then, it doesn’t really fit with these sequences any more. The body is too exhausted to have the necessary sensitivity and ease required.

The Sequence

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• 10 minutes.

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1)

Padangusthasana (Big Toe Pose)

Padahastasana (Hand Under Foot Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Ekapadasana (One Foot Extended Up Pose)

Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)

Paryankasana (Couch Pose)

Padmasana (Lotus Pose)

Parvatasana (Mountain Pose)

Tolasana (Scale Pose)

Matsyasana (Fish Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)
• In the book, Gomukhasana is presented with the shins together underneath you, rather than heels apart as is more commonly practiced.

Lolasana (Tremulous Pose)

Simhasana 1 (Lion Pose 1)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Level 1 Group Class: Strength of the Ribs and Core

I’m getting a little backed up here with the old class sequence posts. Hopefully this week I can get caught up. Here’s a Level 1 sequence where the focus is finding strength not just in the abdomen, but in the rib cage as well, providing strength and connection for the legs and the arms.

The Sequence

Side Stretch at the wall
• Stand with the feet together about eight to twelve inches away from the wall and lean the right hip, waist and ribs against it. Reach the right arm up. Pause here for a few breaths.
• Come up onto the balls of the feet. Stay here for a few breaths.
• Slowly drop the right heel, resisting up through the ribs and arms to lengthen out the right side of the waist. When the right heel is down, drop the left.
• Bend the right elbow and clasp it with the left hand. Draw the upper arm bone up towards the ceiling. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Take the tip of the elbow up and over the top of the head while keeping the outer armpit moving into the wall. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Turn the chest a slightly into the middle of the room to send the stretch towards the back. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Release and repeat on the second side.

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) with the back against the wall
• Keep the side of the waist and the side rib cage moving back into the wall.
• Do not let the chest and rib cage follow the arms up.

All Fours
Plank Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Child’s Pose

Lung with the back knee up
• Place the hands flat on blocks, pressing them firmly and evenly down

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lung with the back knee up
• Fingertips to the floor

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
• 3 sets.

[Do the following sequence as a continuous flow]

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Clasp the elbows and draw the upper arms down towards the floor.
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Bend the knees and place the hands flat on the floor, in front of the feet if necessary.
• Press the palms down and draw the hips up, shifting the weight forward. (You might not be able to fully straighten the legs,)
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Hop back into the pose.
Plank Pose
• Hold for 30 seconds.
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Hop forward into the pose.
• Clasp the elbows and change the crossing. Draw the upper arms down towards the floor.
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the hands flat on the floor
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Hop back into the pose.
Plank Pose
Plank Pose with the toes pointed
• Hold for 30 seconds.
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Variations as above.
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose
Plank Pose with the toes pointed
Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
• Hold for 30 seconds.
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Variations as above.
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose
Plank Pose with the toes pointed
Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose with the toes pointed
• Press up from Up Dog.
• Hold for 30 seconds.
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Child’s Pose

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only with forward bend

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms and legs

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
• Back against the wall.

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
• Back against the wall.
• Block between the feet.

Dandasana (Staff Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)
• Upright seated position only

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand)
• 3 blankets under the shoulders and the feet on a chair.
• 2 repetitions, holding for 30 to 60 seconds each time.

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)
• Sitting on the blankets and resting the arms and head on the chair.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with the legs on the chair


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Year of Yoga: Week 23



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

June 4


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lunge with the hands down and the back leg straight

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) forward bend with the legs only

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) full pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 5


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Virasana (Downward Facing Hero Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Intense West Stretch Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 6


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lunge with the hands on the floor and the back leg straight

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 7


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 8


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Lunge with the back knee up

Lunge with the back knee down

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) with a bolster/blankets cross-wise under the back

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog pose)

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose) over a bolster OR Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over a chair

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Parshva Dhanurasana (Side Bow Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 9


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Plank Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) any simple variation, 3-5 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) including Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose), 2-3 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) including Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose), 2-3 rounds

Child’s Pose

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Pashchima Namaskarsana (Reverse Prayer Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 10


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 23


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Level 1 Group Class: Hips and Hamstrings

Warrior Pose 2
In this practice we are thinking about opening up the back of the leg and stretching the hamstrings in the belly of the muscle where the fibers are most flexible. In each of these poses, think of widening the backs of the thighs and moving the thighbones into the hamstrings as you deepen the hip creases and lengthen the sides of the trunk forward.

The Sequence

Reclined Hip Stretch Sequence

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lung with the back leg straight

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Supta Padangusthasana (Reclined Big Toe Pose) variation with block
• Hold a block against the middle of the hamstring.
• Draw the knee into the chest, deepening the hip crease, while reaching through and anchoring the opposite leg.
• After a few breath press the thigh bone into the block and straighten the leg by reaching up through the inner thigh/inner foot.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the toes up
• Do the pose with the ankle flexed and the toes/balls of the feet up on a block or a blanket roll.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2) INTO Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)
• Come into the flat back position with the hands on blocks.
• Bend the knee and deepen the hip crease.
• Straighten the leg by moving the thigh bone into the hamstring. Stretch the sides of the trunk forward.
• Walk the hands and blocks forward.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand) on a chair
• Come into Setu Bandha with three blankets under the shoulders and the feet on the chair.
• Widen and lift the hamstrings up into the thigh bones.
• Repeat.

Halasana (Plough Pose) with the feet on a chair
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand) with one foot on the chair
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)
• Sit on your shoulder stand blankets and lean forward resting the forearms and forehead on the chair.
• Do both sides.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with the lower legs resting on the chair


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Intermediate Group Practice: Direction of the Side body (adapted from "Light on Yoga")

Ashtavakra's Pose
This class is an adaptation of the advanced sequence from “Light on Yoga” I was ">practicing last week. It keeps the same basic structure, but I’ve made some edits and substitutions here and there to make it more manageable.

As you go through the poses, think about the sides of the body--the side waist and the side ribs. Strengthen and lengthen them, linking the two sides together by widening across the front and back body. Additionally, think about stretching them either towards or away from the head for additional strength and balance.

The Sequence

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
• Spend more time with the legs at their lowest height.

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Urdhva Dandasana (Upward Staff Pose)
• Do this three times from Head Stand.
• If you can’t do the full pose, then bend the knees and bring them into the chest instead.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Salamba Sarvangasana 2 (Shoulder Stand 2)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 1 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 1)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 2 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 2)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Parshvaikapada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)
• Do each of these at a stretch on a regular, 3-blanket set up.

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
• Spend more time with the legs at their lowest height.

Chatushpadasana (Four Footed Pose)

Eka Pada Parshva Sarvangasana (Single Leg Side Shoulder Stand)
• Three times on each side, coming into the pose lightly without spending a lot of time there.
Parshva Sarvangasana (Side Shoulder Stand)
• Three times on each side, coming into the pose lightly without spending a lot of time there.
• Do all of these at a stretch on a 1-blanket set up.

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) head down variation
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) head up variation
Supta Padangusthasana 3 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 3)
Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
• Do the whole cycle all on one leg, then the other.

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Supta Kurmasana (Sleeping Turtle Pose) preparation
• Put the feet up on a block with the heels together.
• Make a square shape with the legs, reach forward and take hold of the feet.
• Lengthen the sides forward towards the feet.

Eka Hasta Bhujasana (Single Arm and Hand Pose)

Ashtavakrasana (Ashtavakra’s Pose)
• See photo.

Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Bakasana (Crow Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)
• Do this 5 or 6 times, going up and down on a slow, easy breath without holding.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Year of Yoga: Week 22



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

May 28


Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 29


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms

Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Sukhasana (Comfortable Pose) with Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) upright and folding forward

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) upright and folding forward

Siddhasana (Accomplished Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Single Leg Intense West Stretch Pose)

Dandasana (Staff Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 30


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any simple variation--3 to 5 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any challenging variation--3 to 5 rounds

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 31


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 1


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) with a bolster/blankets cross-wise under the back

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Matsyasana (Fish Pose) any leg variation with a bolster/blankets cross-wise under the back

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog pose)

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose) over a bolster OR Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Parshva Dhanurasana (Side Bow Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 2


Adho Mukha Shavasana (Downward Facing Corpse Pose) 3-5 min

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster, 2-3 min each side

Side stretch over a bolster, 2-3 min each side

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) with a bolster/blankets cross-wise under the back

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Plank Pose

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) both crossings

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Reverse Bound Hands Pose) clasping the wrists or elbows behind the back, both crossings

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Plank Pose

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) with the knee down

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Pashchima Namaskarsana (Reverse Prayer Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Plank Pose

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Virasana with Gomukhasana arms (Hero Pose with Cow Face Pose arms)

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) with one knee down

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) full pose or with one knee down

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) with arm variations behind the back (See Halasana article)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose) with arm variations

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 3


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 22


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Level 1 Group Class: Protecting the Lower Back

Warrior Pose 1
As we work towards Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1) in this class, the concern is to keep the back and front of the trunk equally wide as we find strength and direction through the sides of the body. As you go through the poses, consider the following directions:
  • Slice the outer edge of the back foot firmly down into the floor and reach through the inner thigh into the back heel to ground and strengthen the back leg. Do not compromise the solidity of the back leg, bringing the feet closer together in the bent leg poses if you need to keep the knee on top of the ankle.
  • Widen the buttock flesh and lengthen it down, away from the head. This is could be thought of as a “tucking” of the tailbone under, however you do not want to go quite into a full tuck, as that can create its own set of problems, not least of which would be losing the strength of the back leg.
  • Strengthen and lift the sides of the waist, moving them back to stabilize and firm the lower back area.
  • Widen evenly across the buttocks, the lower back, the back ribs in the back and the abdomen, the front ribs and the chest in front.
  • Keep the back of the neck and the throat soft and wide.

The Sequence

Reclined Hug
• Lie on the back with the feet on the floor and the knees pointing up.
• Wrap the arms around the chest to clasp the shoulder blades.
• Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds, softening and widening the back from the tailbone to to back of the skull.
• Change the crossing of the arms and hold for the same amount of time.

Chest Opener
• Continuing on directly from above, inhale and raise the right arm over head.
• Put the left hand on the very top of the right side of the chest, just under the collarbone.
• As you inhale, reach through the right arm. As you exhale, keep reaching through the arm and press the chest down, expanding the back ribs into the floor.
• Hold this for 30 to 60 seconds, then repeat on the second side.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lunge with the back foot up

Lunge with the hands on the floor and the back knee down

Lunge with the hands on the thigh and the back knee down

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Supta Urdhva Hastasana (Reclined Upward Hands Pose)
• Belt the wrists at shoulder width so that the arms are parallel.
• Press strongly out into the belt as you lie flat on the back and raise the arms overhead.
• Reach strongly through the legs and the arms, widening the back and front and pressing the sides of the waist down into the floor.

Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hands Pose)
• Wrists belted and back against the wall.
• Reach strongly through the legs and the arms, widening the back and front and pressing the sides of the waist back into the wall.

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)
• With a block between the thighs and the wrists belted.

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)
• With the wrists belted.

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1) with the hands on the hips

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1) with the wrists belted

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)
• With the feet on blocks and holding a belt around the ankles.

Reclined Glute Stretch

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)
• With the feet on blocks and holding a belt around the ankles.

Parshva Parvatasana (Side Mountain Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab: Core Poses (from "Light on Yoga")

I think I’m starting to develop a full-blown obsession with Mr. Iyengar’s sequences in the back of “Light on Yoga”. After a week of teaching a modified, simplified version of last week’s Practice Lab (see this week’s intermediate group class to be posted this Thursday), I’m starting to see how these sequences work. Remarkably, they seem to be all about core strength and organization. I thought I’d try a few more of them over the next few weeks. Here’s a slight modification of the next day’s sequence, day 6 from course 2, on page 474 of the Schocken edition of the book. This practice is more straightforwardly about core strength, featuring long holdings in the inversions, boat poses and twists.

The Sequence

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• In the book he calls for 15 minutes, I was only able to do 7 as my neck is a little weak at the moment.

Urdhva Dandasana (Upward Staff Pose)
• 1 minute.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
• 10 minutes.

Halasana (Plough Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Upward Facing Intense West Stretch Pose 1
Urdhva Mukha Pashchimottanasana 1 (Upward Facing Intense West Stretch Pose 1)
• As illustrated.
• 1 minute.

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)
• 1 minute.

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)
• 30 seconds.

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Krounchasana (Heron Pose)
• 20 seconds.

Malasana (Garland Pose)
• Mr. Iyengar class for Kurmasana (Turtle Pose) here, but I find it usually does a number on my sacrum, so I substituted.
• 1 minute.

Supta Kurmasana (Sleeping Turtle Pose)
• If, like me, you have troubles with this pose as well, do a preparation by placing the feet on a block or bolster with the heels touching. Open the legs up into a square shape, as if you were going to go all the way though them into the full pose. Instead, however, hold onto the feet and extend the trunk forward.
• 1 minute.

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes 1)
• 30 seconds.

Pashasana (Noose Pose)
• 1 minute.

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (HAnd Stand)
• 1 minute.

Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)
• I was unable to hold the balance for the full time, so I did the pose with the feet on the floor.
• 1 minute.

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)
• 6 times, holding for 20 to 30 seconds each time.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• 10 to 15 minutes.


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Intermediate Group Class: Balancing and Releasing the Lumbar Joints

The Curves of the Spine
In this week’s class we turn our attention to the two joints at either end of the lumbar spine: the lumbar-sacral joint and the lumbar-thoracic joint. The goal here was to first stretch out the muscle and fascia around these two joints and then to create dynamic balance in the soft tissue during pranayama. In each of the poses, think of the following actions:
  • Soften and widen the fascial walls that surround the two joints, especially those associated with the latissimus dorsi and the gluteus maximus.
  • Imagine each joint encased in a ball. Soften and expand the ball three-dimensionally.
  • Balance the weight so that it transfers evenly throughout the three-dimensional ball.
  • Imagine the balls moving away from each other, the lumbar-sacral ball connecting down to the feet, the lumbar thoracic ball connecting up to the head.
This practice makes extensive use of a rope wall.

The Sequence

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog) on the ropes
• Stack up a couple of blankets on a bolster and use them to support the head.
• Clasp the elbows and rest the forearms on the bolster as well.
• The props should be high enough to reduce the angle of the forward fold and make the pose more elongated.
• Hold for 3 to 5 minutes.

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)
• Do this pose with a long belt looped around both the very top of the raised thigh and the descended foot.
• Press out into the belt to move the thighbone away from the head and to lengthen out the lower back and buttock of the raised leg. You might even have the foot of the descended leg against the wall to give you more grounding.
• Hold for 1 to 2 minutes on each side.

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
• Same set-up as above.
• Hold for 1 to 2 minutes on each side.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 1 (Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose 1) leg facing forward
• Do this on the ropes with the raised leg supported by the middle rope hook.
• Loop a sandbag through a rope and slip the rope around the hip crease of the raised leg to create a similar effect to the belt in the previous poses.
• Hold for 1 to 2 minutes on each side.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 2 (Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose 2) leg to the side
• Same set-up as above.
• Hold for 1 to 2 minutes on each side.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 1 (Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose 1) leg facing forward
• Same set-up as above.
• If possible, use a foam block or some other prop on the rope hook to raise the foot higher.
• Fold forward over the raised leg.
• Hold for 1 to 2 minutes on each side.

Side stretch over a bolster
• Lie on your side over a bolster across the ribs so that the body curves and the side waist and ribs can stretch out.
• If you know for a fact that one side of your trunk is shorter or tighter than the other, stretch that side out first. Otherwise, stretch the right side first.
• Hold for 1 to 2 minutes on each side.

Hanging Child’s Pose on the ropes
• Hold for 3 to 5 minutes.

Hanging Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) on the ropes
• Come into this directly from the Child’s Pose.
• Slide the feet down to the floor (or to blocks if they don’t reach). Slide the rope into the abdomen to support the upper body.
• Hold for 3 to 5 minutes.
• Come up slowly from this so that the blood does not rush to the head.

Hanging Shirshasana (Head Stand) on the ropes
• Hold for 3 to 5 minutes.

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over bolsters with the legs bound in Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
• Hold for 3 to 5 minutes.

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)
• Hold for 3 to 5 minutes.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Fold a blanket lengthwise to create a ridge of support under the spine.
• Have a second blanket for a pillow.
• Hold for 3 to 5 minutes.

Ujjayi Pranayama 4 (Victorious Breath 4)
• Ujjayi 4 is full and expansive inhalations with slightly longer, easy and complete exhalations.
• In the above position: take a belt and fold it in quarters; place the belt on the blanket under the top of the sacrum to give you feedback.
• As you do the pranayama, soften and release the soft tissue around the lumbar-sacral joint so that they expand and release in a balanced and easy fashion as you breath.
• 5 minutes.

Ujjayi Pranayama 4 (Victorious Breath 4)
• In the above set-up, move the belt to the floating ribs for feedback on the lumbar-thoracic joint.
• 5 minutes.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Remove the blanket ridge under the back and lie flat on the floor with just a blanket under the head. Have a bolster under the knees as well if you desire.
• 5 minutes.


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Year of Yoga: Week 21



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

May 21


Virasana (Hero Pose) with Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms in Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) forward bend with the legs only

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 22


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 23


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any simple variation, 3-5 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any challenging variation, 5 rounds
• In each round, after Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose), hop into Dandasana (Staff Pose) and do one of the following:
• Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)
• Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)
• Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
• Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
• Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose) or Ardha Bhekasana (Half Frog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 24


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 25


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 26


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Pashchima Namaskarasana (Revere Prayer Pose) in Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) with the knee down

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) full pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
INTO
Plank Pose
INTO
Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
INTO
Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
INTO
Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Child’s Pose

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) from the floor

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Pashchima Namaskarasana (Revere Prayer Pose) in Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 27


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 21


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Level 1 Group Class: Lengthening the Trunk for Twists

Marichi's Pose 3
In this class we worked primarily on lengthening the sides of the trunk evenly to lengthen and free the spine in the twists. As a second idea, we worked on taking the twist from the upper trunk (the navel and chest), turning the lower abdomen and hip away from the direction of the twist.

The Sequence

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Have a block between the thighs and pull it back.
• Grip the edges of the mat and pull them forward.

Child’s Pose
• Hands on blocks.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lunge with the back knee up

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)
• Simple variation with the arm/hand down inside the front leg.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) forward bend with the legs only

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)
• Hands on blocks.
• Only to the flat back position, not the full forward fold.

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)
• From the flat back Parshvottanasana with the hands on blocks.
• Do this twice on both sides.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1) twist only, without binding

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose) heels on blankets

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster with the ankles belted

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab: Inversions and Arm Balances (from "Light on Yoga")

I was in my usual state of exhaustion after teaching my Sunday classes and fishing around for something to practice when, to my surprise, I realized I was in the mood to do arm balances. I thought I might open up the courses in the back of “Light on Yoga” and see how Mr. Iyengar sequences them. They don’t show up all that often, and only then in the later and more advanced sequences. I did find a practice that looked rather fun with a bunch of Head Stand and Shoulder Stand variations, along with a couple of other poses that I don’t usually practice. The whole thing took about 90 minutes, but I was whipping through most of the poses.

The sequencing, as is often the case, is quite different from the way things usually get laid out these days, but it worked beautifully. I was happy to see the arm balances come after Shoulder Stand and forward bends, as I’ve found myself sequencing them that way lately myself. I had to modify it a little bit here and there to suit my abilities. It’s challenging, no doubt, but not nearly as insurmountable as you might think. (Be warned, though: it’s a bit wrist-y.) You can find the original sequence on p.474 of the Schocken edition. It’s day five of the seven day sequence at the end of course 2.

The Sequence

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and hands flat on blocks
• The sequence in the book launches straight into Head Stand without so much as a by-your-leave. I usually need a little more wining and dining before I get to the main event.

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Urdhva Dandasana (Upward Staff Pose)
Parshva Shirshasana (Side Head Stand)
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Revolved Single Leg Head Stand)
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshvaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Parshva Baddha Konasana (Side Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Pindasana (Embryo Pose) in Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Salamba Sarvangasana 2 (Shoulder Stand 2)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 1(Unsupported Shoulder Stand 1)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 2(Unsupported Shoulder Stand 2)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Karnapidasana (Pressure on the Ear Pose)
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Parshva Halasana (Side Plough Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Parshvaikapada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)
• These were all done on a standard 3-blanket set up.

[Do each of the following three hip openers all on crossing and then all on the other]
Ankle to Knee Pose
Revolved Ankle to Knee Pose
• Twist to the side of the top foot.
Side Ankle to Knee Pose
• Extended forward over the side of the top foot.
Ankle to Knee Pose
• In the book, you go straight through to the second part of the Shoulder Stand cycle without stopping, but I needed a little extra prep before the Padmasanas (Lotus Poses) showed up.

Parshva Sarvangasana (Side Shoulder Stand)
Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Single Leg Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand) drop-back
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand) drop-back
• In the book the above two are reversed.
Urdhva Padmasana (Upward Lotus Pose)
Parshva Padmasana (Side Lotus Pose)
Pindasana (Embryo Pose)
Parshva Pindasana (Side Embryo Pose)
• For this second half of the cycle, I used a single blanket under the shoulders to make the balance and the drop-backs easier.

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) head down variation
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) head up variation
Supta Padangusthasana 3 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 3)
Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
• He presents these variations in a different order in the book from the way they usually seem to be sequenced these days.
• Do the whole cycle all on one leg, then the other.

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)
Parivrtta Pashchimottanasana (Revolved Intense West Stretch Pose)

Kurmasana (Turtle Pose)
Supta Kurmasana (Sleeping Turtle Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
• I had to throw this in here because I find the turtle poses are not so good for my psoas and sacrum. This helped to lengthen and balance everything out again.

Bhujapidasana (Pressure on the Arms Pose)

Ashtavakrasana (Ashtavakra’s Pose)

Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)

Padma Mayurasana (Lotus Peacock Pose)
• I did this with the legs in Baddha Konasana instead.

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Bakasana (Crow Pose)

Lolasana (Tremulous Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose) 15 to 20 times
• Yes, that’s right: 15 to 20 times! I did 15, but no more than exhaling up/inhaling down. They weren’t the best Urdhva Dhanurasanas I’ve ever done, but they felt surprisingly good.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• This I did for about 15 minutes.


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Intermediate Group Class: Legs and Psoas in Baby Backbends

Pigeon pose over a chair
Two groups of actions to think about here. The first grounds the legs properly and directs the movement of the upper body. The second supports the psoas and the spine in the back bend.

As you go through the poses, think about the actions in this sequence:
  • Widen the gluteus maximus and lengthen it down towards the sitting bones. Soften and widen the lower front ribs from front to back and back to front.
  • Send the quadriceps down the length of the leg towards the knee and the hamstrings up towards the sitting bones. The gluteus is superficial to the hamstrings, so it is as if you are sliding the hamstrings up under the buttocks, while keeping the crease between the two wide and free.
  • Widen the latissimus dorsi across the lower ribs and both lift it and roll it towards the head, so that it acts as a pair of hands supporting and lifting the back. Take care not to poke the front ribs forward as you do this, keep them softening and widening back. Allow the lower back ribs to settle into the lats.
  • Re-widen and lengthen the gluteus.

In the deeper back bends you can cycle through these actions two or three times, keeping the breath soft and easy.

The Sequence

Lying over a block
• This really needs to be done with a foam block. I would imagine a wooden block to be much too hard.
• The purpose of this to create release in the psoas and iliacus.
• Lie face down with the block under the pubic bone. Hold for a minute or two.
• Shift the block across the right hip crease, under the hip bone and hold for a minute or two. Then do the left side for the same amount of time.
• Move the block so that it is across the abdomen at the level of the hip bones, beneath the navel. If your hips are narrow, you might find that both hip bones rest on the block. Hold for a minute or two.
• Slide the right hip bone off the block and dip it down so that the edge of the block settles into the side of the abdomen. Go easy with this. Hold for a minute or two. Repeat on the second side.
• Go back to the middle for a few breaths and then lie on the back in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) for a few moments before continuing on.
• If the block is too intense, you might use a rolled up mat or a 10-12” soft exercise ball.

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined big Toe Pose 2)

Back Bend over a bolster
• Lie back with a bolster across the back.
• Support the head properly with a block or folded blanket so that the back of the neck does not shorten excessively.
• Reach the arms overhead.
• Hold for a minute or two.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)
• Kick up once with your dominant leg, once with your non-dominant leg, and once with both legs.
• Rest in Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart in between.

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand)
• Kick up once with your dominant leg, once with your non-dominant leg.
• Rest in Child’s Pose in between.

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)

Lunge Series
• Lunge with back knee down and hands on blocks under the shoulders.
• Lunge with back knee down and front foot up on a block.
• Lunge with back knee down, shin against the wall and hands on blocks under the shoulders.

Ardha Bhekasana (Half Frog Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) on bolster
• Have the bolster across the lower abdomen so that the upper body is propped up and the abdomen and thighs can release back and down.

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over a chair

Laghuvajrasana (Little Thunderbolt Pose) over a chair

Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose) over a chair

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose) with the feet on a bolster

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Padangustha Dhanurasana (Big Toe Bow Pose) with a belt
• Loop a belt around the feet and hold on to the tail of the belt.

Gherandasana 1 (Gheranda’s Pose 1) (picture is a little over half way down the page)
• Loop a belt around the Padangustha Dhanurasana foot.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) forward bend with legs only

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Year of Yoga: Week 20



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

May 14


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with the toes turned under

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 15


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) forward bend without the arm variation

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 16


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any simple variation, 3-5 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any challenging variation, 3-5 rounds

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 17


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 18


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Plank Pose

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Plank Pose with the toes pointed

Makarasana (Crocodile Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) with the toes pointed

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Ardha Bhekasana (Half Frog Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Ardha Bhekasana (Half Frog Pose)

Parshva Dhanurasana (Side Bow Pose)

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose) even if only a brief attempt

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 19


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any simple variation--3 to 5 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any challenging variation--3 to 5 rounds
• Include any variation of Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) in your sequence.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Utthita Parshvakonasana (extended Side Angle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) with some variation of the hands behind the back

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 20


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 20


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Level 1 Group Class: Strength and Mobility of the Shoulders

The Shoulder Blade
In this class we are working with the shoulder blades, the ribs underneath and the muscles around them. We need to find strength around the shoulder blade by creating a seal between shoulder blade and back. This seal happens both from pressing the shoulder blade forward onto the ribcage, but also by expanding the ribs back into the shoulder blade. Sealing the shoulder blades does not mean pinching them together. If the space between them (the rhomboids and trapezius) grips, then they will not be able to move with the arms, which they need to do for proper mobility of the shoulder. Throughout the class keep the back of the neck and the space between the shoulder blades soft, even when the arms are behind the back. Find support for the arms not by tensing the upper back, deltoids and neck, but by expanding and lifting the ribcage.

The Sequence

Reclined Hug
• Lie on the back with the feet on the floor and the knees pointing up.
• Wrap the arms around the chest to clasp the shoulder blades.
• Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds, softening and widening the back from the tailbone to to back of the skull.
• Change the crossing of the arms and hold for the same amount of time.

All Fours into Child’s Pose
• Rock back and forth between All Fours and Child’s Pose, exhale back and inhaling forward.
• Seal the hands into the mat.
• Observe and allow the shoulder blades to slide along the back: moving forward with the arms as you go into Child’s Pose, sliding back down towards the tailbone as you go back to All Fours.

Plank Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Observe and allow the same movement as you make the transition from the first pose to the second.

Reclined Chest Opener
• Lie back in Shavasana (Corpse Pose).
• Raise the right arm overhead and place the left hand on the top of the chest just below the right collarbone.
• As you inhale, reach strongly through the arm.
• As you exhale, keep reaching through the arm, fixing it in place, and press the chest down into the floor.
• Expand the back ribs on the right into the shoulder blade and the floor.
• Do this for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Child’s Pose
Plank Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Seal the hands into the floor, the shoulder blades into the back and the back into the shoulder blades as you transition through each of these poses.

Block Lifts Over a Roll
• Roll a mat up and lie back over it with the roll across the bottom of the shoulder blades so that the shoulders are not all the way down on the floor. Adjust the position of the roll to make the neck comfortable.
• Hold onto a block (a foam block is a little easier than a wooden block) between both hands and reach the block up towards the ceiling.
• Seal the shoulder blades into the back and the back into the shoulder blades.
• Slowly bring the arms and block up and over the head to the floor. Allow the shoulder blades to move with the block, keeping the strong seal. Make sure the block doesn’t wobble from side to side. If it does, re-trace that part of the arc to make the movement as smooth as possible.
• With the arms alongside the ears, reach the arms and legs away from each other.
• Brace the back into the roll and slowly lift the block back up without jerking or wobbling.
• Repeat this two or three times.

Child’s Pose
Plank Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hands Pose)
• Come into the pose through Utthita Hastasana (arms out to the side).
• Inhale bring the arms up to shoulder height with the palms facing down.
• Exhale, turn the palms, elbows and biceps up.
• Pause here and stretch evenly from the upper back and the top chest, pulling the wrists away from each other.
• Exhale and lift the arms overhead, allowing the shoulder blades to move with the arms.

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)
• As the arms grow tired expand and lift from the ribcage to support the shoulders.

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog pose)

“Up and Over” chest stretches
• Hold onto a belt with the hands wide apart.
• Inhale and bring the arms up over head. Exhale, bring the arms down behind the back.
• Inhale and bring the arms up overhead. Exhale, bring the arms down in front.
• Repeat this for a minute or two.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) chest opener
• Put a shoulder-width belt around the biceps just above the elbows.
• Bend the knees and lean forward, resting the abdomen on the thighs,
• Exhale and bring the arms overhead. Start with the elbows bent. Straighten them after a few breaths.
• Reach through the arms, but allow gravity to do most of the work for you.
• Try and clear the upper arms away from the back of the armpit to open the chest.

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation
• Hands on blocks.

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)
• Feet on blocks.
• Hold onto a belt around the ankles.

Reclined Glute Stretch with one ankle on the opposite thigh

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1) with the feet on the wall

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Fold blankets for a gentle lift under the trunk.


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Reclined Hip Stretch Sequence

I presented this series the other day in a Level 1 Group Class post, but I didn’t describe it very well. Here is an illustrated version. Hold each stage for 30 to 60 seconds. Do each stage on one leg, then repeat on the second.

Part 1


• Lie with the legs bent and the hands on the lower abdomen.
• Become aware of the release in the lower abdomen with each exhalation.
• Soften and release the lower back, the hips, the buttocks and the pelvic floor.

Part 2


• Place one ankle on the opposite thigh, take hold of the legs and draw them in towards you.
• Keep the sitting bones dropping towards the floor.
• Use the strength of the arms, keeping the leg muscles passive.

Part 3


• Roll over onto your side and place the foot flat on the ground.
• Roll the thigh away from you so that the shin and knee point up towards the ceiling.
• Lengthen the waist towards the head.

Part 4


• Either cross the legs and open out into a twist.
• If the twist pull sharply on the buttocks or the lower back, uncross the legs rest one thigh on the other.
• Return to the first position for a few breath, feeling the effects of the stretches before continuing on with the other leg.
• When you have finished both sides, keep the abdomen soft as you roll over to the right and press yourself up.


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Practice Lab: Vamadevasana 2

We sort of made this sequence up as we went along, but it turned out to be remarkably restorative. Vamadeva is the name of the aspect of Shiva that is the preserver, is female in gender and associated with the element of water.

The Sequence


[Do the following sequence all in one go, keeping the head down throughout]
Rope Shirshasana
Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)
• Place the hands on the floor, push up half way.
• Untangle the legs from the ropes and press all the way up into Hand Stand.
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• 5 min.

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)

Pigeon Pose forward bend

Pigeon Pose forward bend
• Place a thin mat or blanket roll under the front ankle.

Pigeon Pose forward bend
• Increase the height under the front ankle.

Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana 1 (Single Leg King Pigeon Pose 1) with Bhekasana (Frog Pose) back leg

Vamadevasana 2 (Vamadeva’s Pose 2)
• We found it extremely helpful to start in Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2) with the Padmasana (Lotus Pose) leg high on the opposite thigh and the foot aiming at the navel. Keeping that height, then think more of pressing the Bhekasana foot down onto the other.
• It’s also helpful to lean really far over onto the greater trochanter of the Padmasana leg.

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Pashasana (Noose Pose) facing the wall
• Place the hands on the wall, both for support and to help deepen the twist.

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose)
• 5 min.

Ardha Pindasana (Half Embryo Pose)
• With your Ardha Halasana set-up, cross the legs into Padmasana (Lotus Pose) and rest them on the chair.
• 60-90 sec each crossing.

Adho Mukha Shavasana (Downward Facing Corpse Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Intermediate Group Class: The Pelvic Floor in Forward Bends

Half Bound Lotus Intense West Stretch Pose
As with last week’s class, we are balancing and strengthening the pelvic floor. On top of the actions we were working on last week, in the seated forward bends we will be trying to keep the pelvic floor horizontal. If, say, it is tipped to the left, widen and lift the front of the pelvic floor from behind the left side of the pubic bone while you also widen and descend the pelvic floor from behind the right side of the pubic bone. You will probably find that the pelvic floor will tilt towards the center of gravity, the side you are turning to in a side pose or the straight leg in a pose such as Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose).

The Sequence

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Place a block between the feet and belt the calves at the thickest part.
• Press the calves out into the belt while anchoring the feet back into the block.
• Balance out the thighs by widening from behind the pubic bone across the hip creases and from in front of the tailbone across the buttock creases, where the buttock and hamstrings meet.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 1 (Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose 1) with the foot on a ledge

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 2 (Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose 2) with the foot on a ledge
• Make this pose a little more like Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose) by walking the standing leg further out than the hi[ and turning it in.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 1 (Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose 1) with the foot on a ledge
• Bend forward and take hold of the foot.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

[Perform the following Supta Padangusthasana sequence all on one leg, then all on the other]
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)
Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
Parivrtta Supta Padangusthasana (Revolved Reclined Big Toe Pose)
Supta Padangusthasana 3 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 3)
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) raised head variation

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)
• Three attempts, once with each leg and once with both legs.

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshva Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Shoulder Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Shoulder Stand
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Parshva Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)
Parshva Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Side Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)
• On each crossing of the legs, extend forward, turn to the right and then the left, return to the middle.

[Do each of the following hip openers all on one crossing and then all on the other]
Ankle to Knee Pose
Side Ankle to Knee Pose
• Extended forward over the side of the top foot.

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Ardha Baddha Padma Pashchimottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense West Stretch Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Year of Yoga: Week 19



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

May 7


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 8


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Intense West Stretch Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 9


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 10


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 11


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any simple variation, 3-5 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) 3-5 rounds
• Include Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1) and, if possible, Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) in your sequence.

Ardha Bhekasana (Half Frog Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Chatushpadasana (Four Footed Pose)

Ardha Bhekasana (Half Frog Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Parshva Dhanurasana (Side Bow Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 12


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any simple variation--3 to 5 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any challenging variation--3 to 5 rounds
• Include any variation of Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) in your sequence.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) or Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms

Virasana (Hero Pose) or Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) or Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Reverse Bound Hands Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) or Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms

Virasana (Hero Pose) or Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with Pashchima Namaskarasana (Reverse Prayer Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 13


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 19


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Level 1 Group Class: Softening the Outer Hips and Thighs

Half Moon Pose
The outer hip, outer upper thigh area often gets very thick and tight, not least because the outer hip rotators also serve as stabilizers for the hips. In this class we will try and stop the outer hip rolling up towards the head, shortening the waist. In each of these poses think of rolling the outer hip away from the head to lengthen the waist whenever you are folding at the hip.

The Sequence

Reclined Floor Stretch Sequence
• Reclined Glute Stretch: place one ankle on the opposite thigh, take hold of the legs and draw them in towards you with the strength of the arms, keep;ing the leg muscles passive.
• From the above position, roll over onto your side and place the foot flat on the ground. Roll the thigh away from you so that the shin and knee point up towards the ceiling.
• Either cross the legs or rest one thigh on the other and open out into a twist.
• Hold for 30 to 60 seconds in each of these positions, then repeat on the other side.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) leg variation
• Instead of sitting down between the feet, bring the ankles and shins together with the feet pointing back behind you. Put the hands on blocks to support yourself and sit back on the heels.
• Keep the shins and ankles together, even if this means you are not able to get the hips very far down.

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hands Pose)

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2) simple variation

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1) simple variation

Parshva Parvatasana (Side Mountain Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab: Separating the Ilio-Psoas

This week’s practice was not particularly complicated in terms of the poses I worked on, but I ended up focusing on quite a high level of detail. I’ve always had trouble in my sacrum, psoas and pelvic floor, and the whole area has been particularly troublesome in the past few weeks. I went to Phoenix to teach the fine folks at Gravity Center and the air travel pretty much did me in, hence all the attention to the lower body of late.

Ideally, as you go through the sequence keep in mind all of the factors presented here. If, however, you are only beginning to become familiar with this area and it’s too much to focus on straight away, work with one or two of the ideas, building up slowly. I’ve arranged the actions in an ordered progression, from what should be mastered first to finishing touches.

In essence, we are balancing the movement around the hip joint by anchoring through the femur head (top of the thigh bone) and balancing the work of the ilio-psoas muscles.

The Lesser Trochanters and the Hip Joint

First we need to stabilize the base. Strengthen and anchor the legs by moving the lesser trochanters in each of the following directions:
  • Move them away from each other.
  • Move them away from the midline of the body.
  • Move them towards the feet or the floor.
In some poses, these might all be the same direction, depending on the arrangement of the legs. When working with the lesser trochanters there is often a tendency to roll the thighs in as well, so make sure to keep the hip creases (where the thigh and abdomen meet) and the buttock creases (where the buttocks and hamstrings meet) evenly wide.

With the femurs properly grounded, center the weight evenly around the entirety of both hip joints. You might think of the wall of connective tissue that wraps the joint, balancing the weight around it. Just this part can requite a huge amount of vigilance, as we often have habitual movement patterns in the hips an legs that are very easy to fall back into unawares.

The Iliacus and the Psoas

Think of separating these two muscles. Strengthen and lengthen the psoas up the length of the body from the lesser trochanters towards the head. Think of widening the iliacus outwards away from the psoas and down towards the lesser trochanters.

In addition, to create spaciousness in the lower back, think of moving both muscles back, away from the front body.

When working with the psoas, people who tend to be more tucked back in the pelvis may well have to lengthen down through the lesser trochanters more as they draw up and back through the psoas. People who tend to be more tilted forward may have to draw up and widen back away from the lesser trochanters more.

The Pelvic Floor and the Lower Ribs

Soften and widen the fan of the pelvic floor as evenly as possible. Draw up the length of the body towards the head from behind the pubic bone. Soften and widen the lower ribs from the xyphoid process around and back towards the spine.

Once you have each of these actions working, build them up in your poses and cycle through them one to three times in each pose.

Additional Thoughts

For variety, you might also think of working with the psoas major and minor, lengthening the fibers of psoas major down towards the feet and psoas minor up towards the head (or reversing it if that works for you, perhaps if you are more tucked). Working with just psoas major, you could direct the lower fibers (say from L3 down) forward and down towards the feet while drawing the upper fibers (L2 to T12) up towards the head, or vice versa if it suits your body more.

The Sequence

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose) with the knee at the wall

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 1 (Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose 1)
• Foot on a rope wall hook or some other ledge.
• Upright variation.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 2 (Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose 2)
• Foot on a rope wall hook or some other ledge.
• Triangle Pose variation with the standing foot a little further out and turned in.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 1 (Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose 1)
• Foot on a rope wall hook or some other ledge.
• Forward bend variation.
• If you can, put more height under the foot to make it above hip height.

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Padangusthasana (Bog Toe Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Widespread Feet Pose 1)

[Perform the following Supta Padangusthasana sequence all on one leg, then all on the other]
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)
Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
Parivrtta Supta Padangusthasana (Revolved Reclined Big Toe Pose)
Supta Padangusthasana 3 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 3)
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) raised head variation

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshva Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Shoulder Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Shoulder Stand
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Parshva Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)

[Do each of the following three hip openers all on crossing and then all on the other]
Ankle to Knee Pose
Revolved Ankle to Knee Pose
• Twist to the side of the top foot.
Side Ankle to Knee Pose
• Extended forward over the side of the top foot.

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Ardha Baddha Padma Pashchimottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense West Stretch Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Intermediate Group Class: Balancing and Strengthening the Pelvic Floor

Bow to the Ear Pose
This week we are addressing the core, but without working with the abdominal wall directly. Instead, we will deal with those structures that encase the abdominal wall, allowing it to be free to do what it needs to. Consider the following:

Soften and widen the lower rib area around and below the xyphoid process (the bottom tip of the sternum). This area wraps around the diaphragm and is the anchor to which the upper abdominal wall attaches. Release the wall of connective tissue under the latissimus dorsi and widen it from back to front. At the same time, release and widen the wall of connective tissue between the front lower ribs and the skin from front to back.

The pelvic floor can be thought of as having a fan-like shape, with the hinge of the fan at the tailbone and the spokes at the pubic bone and the sitting bones. Keep the fan as wide and as balanced as possible in the following poses. Whenever taking the leg out to the side, initiate the movement in the pelvic floor by opening up the pelvic fan.

Consider the following actions to keep the pelvic floor balanced:
  • People who are habitually tucked under in the pelvis tend to be gripped in the back of the pelvic floor. They will need to stretch back from the perineum (center of the pelvic floor) to the tailbone.
  • People who are habitually tilted forward in the pelvis tend to be slack or over-stretched in the front of the pelvic floor. They will need to firm and lift from behind the pubic bone.
  • Widen the hip creases (the fold at the top of the thigh) and the buttock creases (where the buttocks and the backs of the thighs meet) evenly. Tuckers might have to widen the buttock creases more, tilters the hip creases.
  • People with an imbalance in the hips for one reason or the other might have to widen the hip and buttock creases and open the pelvic fan on one side more than the other.
  • Keep the pelvic floor either horizontal or vertical, parallel or perpendicular to the backs of the legs, depending on the pose.

In addition to these balancing actions, we are going to find strength in the pelvic floor and lower abdomen by finding grounding through the legs:
  • Widen and lengthen the wall of connective tissue between gluteus maximus (the buttocks) and the hamstrings and the bones and deeper muscles underneath away from the head and towards the feet.
  • At the same time, widen and lift the pelvic floor just behind the pubic bone as you allow the lower abdomen to settle back to wards the sacrum. This is analogous to a Mula Bandha action, but it is quite different from squeezing the perineum and pulling in just below the navel.

The Sequence

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) on the ropes
• Have a bolster and blankets on which to rest the head.
• Clasp the elbows with the arms overhead and rest the forearms on the bolster.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Place a block between the feet and belt the calves at the thickest part.
• Press the calves out into the belt while anchoring the feet back into the block.
• Balance out the thighs by widening from behind the pubic bone across the hip creases and from in front of the tailbone across the buttock creases, where the buttock and hamstrings meet.

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2) with the descended foot at the wall
• Put a block under the raised leg.
• Start with the leg bent, only straightening it once you have it resting on the block.

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2) with the descended foot at the wall

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the heels against the wall

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)
Eka Pada Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Single Leg Hand Stand)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshva Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Shoulder Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Shoulder Stand
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Parshva Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Single Leg Intense West Stretch Pose)

Krounchasana (Heron Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) with the foot at the wall
• Lift the head towards the raised leg, bringing the back off the floor.

Malasana (Garland Pose)
• Have a wedge under the heels.
• Loop a belt around the body and knees to support the legs and allow the inner thighs and groins to soften.

Bakasana (Crow Pose)

Akarna Dhanurasana (Bow to the Ear Pose)
• To make the pose more accessible, hold on to the foot that’s on the ground using a belt.

Parivrtta Janu Shirshasana (Revolved Head of the Knee Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Year of Yoga: Week 18



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

April 30


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 1


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Intense West Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 2


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 3


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Makarasana (Crocodile Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 4


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lunge with the back knee up

Lunge with the back knee down and the hands on the floor

Lunge with the back knee down and the hands on the front thigh

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 5


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any simple variation--3 to 5 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any challenging variation--3 to 5 rounds
• Include any variation of Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) in your sequence.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Reverse Bound Hands Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Pashchima Namaskarasana (Reverse Prayer Pose)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


May 6


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 18


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Level 1 Group Class

Upward Extended Feet pose
We are working with two basic themes this week:
  1. Create strength and direction in the sides of the body (both the sides of the waist and the side ribs) so that they can become a third set of limbs connecting the arms and the legs.
  2. Expand the armpits and clear the back of the armpit away from the upper arm/bicep.

The Sequence

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose
Plank Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Child’s Pose
Plank Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Child’s Pose
Plank Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose) holding on to a belt around the feet

Child’s Pose
Plank Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose) legs bent or straight

Child’s Pose
Plank Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Child’s Pose
Plank Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

“Up and Over” chest stretches
• Hold onto a belt with the hands wide apart.
• Inhale and bring the arms up over head. Exhale, bring the arms down behind the back.
• Inhale and bring the arms up overhead. Exhale, bring the arms down in front.
• Repeat this for a minute or two.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) chest opener
• Put a shoulder-width belt around the biceps just above the elbows.
• Bend the knees and lean forward, resting the abdomen on the thighs,
• Exhale and bring the arms overhead. Start with the elbows bent. Straighten them after a few breaths.
• Reach through the arms, but allow gravity to do most of the work for you.
• Try and clear the upper arms away from the back of the armpit to open the chest.

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation
• Hands on blocks.

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)
• Feet on blocks.
• Hold onto a belt around the ankles.

Reclined Glute Stretch with one ankle on the opposite thigh

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1) with the feet on the wall

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab

Reclined Big Toe Pose 1
Today’s practice involves a combination of reclined poses and Padmasana (Lotus Pose) as a preparation for inversion variations.

The Sequence

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Reclined big Toe Pose 2
[Perform the following Supta Padangusthasana sequence all on one leg, then all on the other]
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)
Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
Parivrtta Supta Padangusthasana (Revolved Reclined Big Toe Pose)
Supta Padangusthasana 3 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 3)
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) raised head variation

Revolved Reclined Big Toe Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand) at the wall
• 2 repetitions.

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand) in the middle of the room
• 2 repetitions.

Recliend Big Toe Pose 3
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Parshva Shirshasana (Revolved Head Stand)
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Revolved Sing Leg Head Stand)
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshvaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
Reclined Big Toe Pose 1 (variation)

[Do each of the following three hip openers all on crossing and then all on the other]
Ankle to Knee Pose
Revolved Ankle to Knee Pose
• Twist to the side of the top foot.
Side Ankle to Knee Pose
• Extended forward over the side of the top foot.

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Ardha Padmasana (Downward Facing Half Lotus Pose)

Ardha Baddha Padma Pashchimottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense West Stretch Pose)
• Do the bound variation for 30 seconds or so, then unbind and reach forward to take hold of the extended foot.

Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
• Simple variation, lying back flat with the legs in Padmasana (Lotus Pose).

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Parshvaikapada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)
[Do this Padmasana series all the way through on both sides with the legs crossed one way, then the other]
Pindasana (Embryo Pose)
Urdhva Padmasana (Upward Lotus Pose)
Parshva Pindasana (Side Embryo Pose)
Parshva Padmasana (Side Lotus Pose)
Eka Pad Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Single Leg Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand) Drop-Back
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand) Drop-Back
• 3 repetitions.
Halasana (Plough Pose) with the arms overhead holding the feet

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Intermediate Group Class

Reclined Hero Pose over a bolster
In this practice, think of keeping the back of the neck soft and wide, allowing the head to be heavy and passive wherever possible. Also think of softening and widening the area around and below the lower tip of the sternum--the xyphoid process-- and the lower ribs.

The Sequence

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Child’s Pose with the head on a block
• 2 to 3 minutes.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with head on a block
• 2 to 3 minutes.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Loop a belt around the base of the skull and the balls of the feet to draw the head down.
• 1 to 2 minutes.

Child’s Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Child’s Pose
• Do the above sequence in one continuous flow, holding each position for a minute or longer and keeping the head heavy and the back of the neck soft.

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• 5 minutes.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• 1 minute.

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) with bolster across the back
• 5 minutes.

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Adho Mukha Shavasana (Downward Facing Corpse Pose)
• 3 to 5 minutes.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Allow the exhalations to soften and lengthen, getting slightly longer than the inhalations.
• Observe the diaphragm and allow it to release completely as you exhale so that the inhalations can be completely reflexive.
• Do this for 2 to 3 minutes.

Ujjayi Pranayama 4 (Victorious Breath 4) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Ujjayi 4 is a full and expansive breath in a reclined position where the exhalations are slightly longer than the inhalations.
• Place a belt loosely around the bottom of the breast bone so that it is around the rib cage at the level of the xyphoid process. Narrow it just enough to give you feedback, but not enough to restrict the breath.
• Soften and balance the movement into and away from the belt as you breath.
• Allow the upper abdomen/lower rib area and the mid chest to separate out in your awareness on either side of the belt.
• Do this for 3 to 5 minutes.

Viloma Pranayama 1 (Interrupted Breath 1) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Viloma 1 is a full inhalation broken up into 3 to 5 separate and equal volumes with a brief and easy pause before a long, easy exhalation, done in a reclined position.
• Do this for 3 to 5 minutes.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• 5 minutes.


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Year of Yoga: Week 17



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

April 23


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


April 24


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Intense West Stretch Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


April 25


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extend Feet Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


April 26


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose) simple variation with the legs resting on the floor

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose) with the knees bent

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose) with the knees bent or the full pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


April 27


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


April 28


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any simple variation--3 to 5 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any challenging variation--3 to 5 rounds
• Include any variation of Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) in your sequence.

Child’s Pose

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Reverse Bound Hands Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Pashchima Namaskarasana (Reverse Prayer Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


April 29


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 17


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Level 1 Group Class

Vashistha's Pose
The theme of this class is keeping the back and chest wide and the shoulders and back of the neck soft and supple so that the shoulder blades and collarbones can move with the arms.

The Sequence

Opening Wall Stretches
• Side stretch at wall: Lean the right side of the body into the wall with the right arm overhead. Bend the right elbow, take hold of it with the left hand and draw the arm up and over the top of the head. Hold for a minute or two and repeat on the second side.
• Chest opener: Stand with the right hand on the wall at shoulder height. Keeping the shoulder blade down the back, spread the fingers and palms and straighten the elbow. Hold this position for several seconds. Without lifting the shoulder blade, turn the chest away from the wall. Hold this for several seconds. Release and repeat on the second side.

All Fours
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog)
Plank Pose
Child’s Pose
• Move seamlessly through each of these poses, holding each one for 30 to 60 seconds.
• Spread the palms and fingers, and seal the hands firmly into the mat in each pose.

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with the elbows clasped behind the back

All Fours
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog)
Plank Pose
Child’s Pose

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) full seated variation with arms

All Fours
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog)
Plank Pose
Child’s Pose

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms

All Fours
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog)
Plank Pose 2 with the feet pointed
Child’s Pose

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) with the elbow bent and the forearm on the ground

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) simple variation with the knee down

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) full pose if possible
• Shown above.

Child’s Pose

Right Angle Forearm Stand at the wall

Right Angle Hand Stand at the wall

Child’s Pose

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)
• Feet on blocks.
• Hold onto a belt around the ankles.

Reclined Glute Stretch with one ankle on the opposite thigh

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1) with the feet on the wall

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab

Side Bharadwaja's Pose over a bolster
This practice is a continuation of the ideas of a few weeks ago where we were releasing the ribcage. In addition, we will be dividing the trunk into four different segments, creating softness and fluidity in each.

The Sequence


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) on ropes
• Come into the pose clasping the elbows with the arms and head resting on the support of a bolster and blankets stacked up to a comfortable height.
• Soften and widen the wall of the latissimus dorsi across the back ribs. Lengthen the outer armpits towards the elbows.
• With each exhalation, allow the rib cage to retract inwards, separating away from the latissimus in a soft and even manner.
• Soften the intracostal muscles
• Hold for 3 to 5 min.

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
• Come into the pose with a bolster across the back, supporting the lower back ribs.
• Soften and widen the wall of the lower front ribs away from the xyphoid process (the bottom tip of the sternum).
• With each exhalation, allow the rib cage to retract inwards, separating away from the wall of connective tissue between the front ribs and the skin.
• Soften the intracostal muscles
• Hold for 3 to 5 min.

Rope Shirshasana (Hanging Head Stand)
• Soften and widen the walls of the front ribs and the latissimus.
• With the exhalations allow the entire ribcage to retract inwards away from the front and back walls of the body.
• Soften the intracostal muscles
• Hold for 3 to 5 min.

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• As above.
• Hold for 3 to 5 min.

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)
• As above.
• Hold for 3 to 5 min.

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)
• Allow the exhalations to soften and lengthen, getting slightly longer than the inhalations.
• Observe the diaphragm and allow it to release completely as you exhale so that the inhalations can be completely reflexive.
• Soften and widen the very top band of the chest below the collarbones.
• Hold for 3 to 5 min.

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose)
• Soften and widen the upper back, spreading and releasing the wall of soft tissue between the shoulder blades.
• Hold for 3 to 5 minutes on each side.

Adho Mukha Shavasana (Downward Facing Corpse Pose)
• Soften the entire back body, but especially the full expanse of the latissimus, from the back of the sacrum to the outer armpits.
• As you exhale, allow the back body to fall away from the wall of the latissimus as a whole.
• Hold for 5 min.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Allow the exhalations to soften and lengthen, getting slightly longer than the inhalations.
• Observe the diaphragm and allow it to release completely as you exhale so that the inhalations can be completely reflexive.
• Do this for 2 to 3 minutes.

Ujjayi Pranayama 4 (Victorious Breath 4) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Ujjayi 4 is a full and expansive breath in a reclined position where the exhalations are slightly longer than the inhalations.
• Place a belt loosely around the waist with the buckle just below the navel. Narrow it just enough to give you feedback, but not enough to restrict the breath.
• Without pushing the breath into the abdomen, observe how the waist expands and releases into and away from the belt as you breath. Soften the circumference of the waist to allow the movement to be completely even in all directions.
• Allow the lower and upper abdomens to separate out in your awareness on either side of the belt.
• Do this for 3 to 5 minutes.

Ujjayi Pranayama 4 (Victorious Breath 4) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Reposition the belt so that it is around the rib cage at the level of the xyphoid process. Soften and balance the movement into and away from the belt as you breath.
• Allow the upper abdomen/lower rib area and the mid chest to separate out in your awareness on either side of the belt.
• Do this for 3 to 5 minutes.

Ujjayi Pranayama 4 (Victorious Breath 4) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Reposition the belt so that it is around the top chest, just under the armpits. Soften and balance the movement into and away from the belt as you breath.
• Allow the mid and upper chest to separate out in your awareness on either side of the belt.
• Do this for 3 to 5 minutes.

Viloma Pranayama 1 (Interrupted Breath 1) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Viloma 1 is a full inhalation broken up into 3 to 5 separate and equal volumes with a brief and easy pause before a long, easy exhalation, done in a reclined position.
• In this case, divide the breath up into 3 segments, expanding into each of the three areas we worked on in Ujjayi Pranayama.
• Do this for 3 to 5 minutes.

Viloma Pranayama 2 (Interrupted Breath 1) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Viloma 1 is a full exhalation broken up into 3 to 5 separate and equal volumes with a brief and easy pause before a full, easy inhalation, done in a reclined position.
• In this case, divide the breath up into 3 segments, releasing away from each of the three areas we worked on in Ujjayi Pranayama.
• Do this for 3 to 5 minutes.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Allow the exhalations to soften and lengthen, getting slightly longer than the inhalations.
• Observe the diaphragm and allow it to release completely as you exhale so that the inhalations can be completely reflexive.
• Do this for 2 to 3 minutes.

Ujjayi Pranayama 8 (Victorious Breath 8) in any comfortable seated position
• Ujjayi 8 is similar to Ujjayi 4, except that it is performed seated upright.
• Practice this in 3 stages, just as when reclined, with the belt in each position.
• Practice each stage for 3 to 5 minutes.

Viloma Pranayama 4 (Interrupted Breath 4) in any comfortable seated position
• Viloma 4 is similar to Viloma 1, except that it is performed seated upright.
• Practice this as you did when reclined, in 3 segments expanding into each band and maintaining the independent separation of each part.
• Do this for 3 to 5 minutes.

Viloma Pranayama 4 (Interrupted Breath 4) in any comfortable seated position
• Viloma 4 is similar to Viloma 2, except that it is performed seated upright.
• Practice this as you did when reclined, in 3 segments releasing each area and maintaining the independent separation of each part.
• Do this for 3 to 5 minutes.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Allow the exhalations to soften and lengthen, getting slightly longer than the inhalations.
• Observe the diaphragm and allow it to release completely as you exhale so that the inhalations can be completely reflexive.
• Do this for 2 to 3 minutes.


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Intermediate Group Class

Seated Angle Pose in Head Stand
The pelvic floor can be thought of as having a fan-like shape, with the hinge of the fan at the tailbone and the spokes at the pubic bone and the sitting bones. Keep the fan as wide and as balanced as possible in the following poses. Whenever taking the leg out to the side, initiate the movement in the pelvic floor by opening up the pelvic fan.

Consider the following actions to keep the pelvic floor balanced:
  • People who are habitually tucked under in the pelvis tend to be gripped in the back of the pelvic floor. They will need to stretch back from the perineum (center of the pelvic floor) to the tailbone.
  • People who are habitually tilted forward in the pelvis tend to be slack or over-stretched in the front of the pelvic floor. They will need to firm and lift from behind the pubic bone.
  • Widen the hip creases (the fold at the top of the thigh) and the buttock creases (where the buttocks and the backs of the thighs meet) evenly. Tuckers might have to widen the buttock creases more, tilters the hip creases.
  • People with an imbalance in the hips for one reason or the other might have to widen the hip and buttock creases and open the pelvic fan on one side more than the other.
  • Keep the pelvic floor either horizontal or vertical, parallel or perpendicular to the backs of the legs, depending on the pose.

The Sequence


Rope Shirshasana (Head Stand)
or
Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)
• Belt the calves at the thickest part and put a block between the feet.
• Press the calves out into the belt and anchor the feet into the block.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Belt the calves at the thickest part and put a block between the feet.
• Press the calves out into the belt and anchor the feet into the block.

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) sequence with the back against the wall
• Stage 1: Have a folded blanket behind the lower back.
• Stage 2: Remove the blanket, bring the back to the wall and put a block between the feet.
• Stage 3: Place the block under the feet.

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
• Have the descended leg’s foot at the wall, pressing into it firmly.
• Support the raised leg on a block so that the hips stay absolutely level,
• Start with the raised leg bent as you bring it to the side. Balance the pelvic floor and then straighten, balancing once again in the finished pose.

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
• Have the descended leg’s foot at the wall, pressing into it firmly.
• Bring the straight leg out to the side.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Eka Pada Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Single Leg Hand Stand)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshvaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Shoulder Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Shoulder Stand
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Parshvaikapada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Year of Yoga: Week 16



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

April 16


Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half Moon Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


April 17


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) seated variation only

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) seated variation only

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) seated variation only

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) seated variation only

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Intense West Stretch Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) seated variation only

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


April 18


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any simple variation--3 to 5 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any challenging variation--3 to 5 rounds

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extend Feet Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) seated upright only

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


April 19


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Intense West Stretch Pose)

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only with forward bend

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose) simple variation with the legs resting on the floor

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


April 20


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


April 21


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Reverse Bound Hands Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Pashchima Namaskarasana (Reverse Prayer Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) full pose or with one knee down

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


April 22


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 16


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Level 1 Group Class

Bound Angle Pose
Opening Wall Stretches
• Shoulder Stretch at wall: Place the forearms and elbows on the wall with the palms together. Make a right angle at the hips with the feet under the pelvis hip width apart. Draw the inner thighs back and reach the arms forward.
• Parshvottanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the arms up the wall.
• Utkatasana (Furious Pose) with the hands at the wall.

Utkatasana (Furious Pose) with the feet apart INTO Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2) INTO Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Bend the knees slightly to lengthen the trunk.

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose) INTO Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) upright with the hands by the sides

Baddha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) upright with the hands by the sides
• Place a block between the feet.

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) upright with the hands by the sides

Parshva Upavishtha Konasana (Side Seated Angle Pose) upright with the hands by the sides

Reclined Glute Stretch
• Lie on the back with one ankle on the opposite thigh. Draw the legs in.

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only with forward bend

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) with forward bend

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) with forward bend

Parshva Upavishtha Konasana (Side Seated Angle Pose) with forward bend

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)
• Feet on blocks, holding ankles with a belt.

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1) with the feet on the wall

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab

Half Bound Lotus Intense West Stretch Pose
Once again, Kristen and I found ourselves both exhausted. (A common occurrence for yoga teachers in the city, it seems.) I just got back from teaching a workshop out of town and Kristen has an infant (no more reason needed). We wanted to do something more than just flopping around, but we needed a practice that had a strong restorative effect, so we opted to do forward bends. While we were practicing, we were discussing how when the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight response) is active, the back of the neck grips. Kristen had the idea of doing the poses with the head well supported and a sandbag on the back of the skull. Boy, was that effective. We both felt like we’d woken up from a deep nap. The key is to make sure the the head is firmly supported with enough height underneath it that the sandbag puts no pressure on the back of the neck.

The Sequence:

Rope Shirshasana (Head Stand)
• 5 minutes.

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
• 5 minutes.

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose) with the toes on the chair
• 2 minutes.

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose) with the thighs on the chair
• 3 minutes.

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)
• 2 minutes each side.

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)
• Head on support and weighted with a sandbag.
• 2 minutes each side.

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)
• Head on support and weighted with a sandbag.
• 2 minutes each side.

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense West Stretch Pose) unbound variation
• Head on support and weighted with a sandbag.
• 2 minutes each side.

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Loop a belt around the base of the skull and the balls of the feet to draw the head down.

Adho Mukha Virasana (Downward Facing Hero Pose)
• Head on support and weighted with a sandbag.
• 2 minutes.

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)
• Head on support and weighted with a sandbag.
• 2 minutes.

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) on support
• Have he kidneys on the edge of the support so they can get toned.
• We did this with the body supported by two chairs and blankets and bolsters under the head, neck and arms. By the time we had built ourselves up, however, we could have just used a bolster and a couple of blankets.
• 5 minutes.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with the legs on a chair
• 5 to 10 minutes.


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Intermediate Group Class

Four Feet Pose

We go to great lengths to strengthen the upper body and the core and lower body, but the middle back often gets neglected and can become rigid and relatively weak. In this sequence we will think about the upper and lower limits of the psoas, the deep hip flexor that links the upper and lower body. While practicing, consider the following actions:
  • Move the lesser trochanters away from the midline of the body.
  • Widen the buttock flesh.
  • Widen the hip creases.
  • Widen and strengthen the lower back ribs from the level of the bottom of the sternum down.
  • When twisting, turn from the lower back ribs, keeping them even.

The Sequence:

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) on the ropes

Parivrtta Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Revolved Downward Facing Dog Pose) on the ropes

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart on the ropes

Parivrtta Uttanasana (Parivrtta Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart on the ropes

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only with forward bend

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Belt the calves and put a block between the feet.
• Press the calves out into the belt and the feet into the block.
• Widen the buttock flesh and the hip creases evenly.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Belt the calves and put a block between the feet.
• Press the calves out into the belt and the feet into the block.
• Widen the buttock flesh and the hip creases evenly.

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
• Belt the calves and put a block between the feet.
• Press the calves out into the belt and the feet into the block.
• Place a sandbag across the lower ribs and widen the back ribs into the ground.

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
• Belt the calves and put a block between the feet.
• Press the calves out into the belt and the feet into the block.
• Place a sandbag across the lower ribs and widen the back ribs into the ground.

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Ropes 1, 5 to 8 rounds

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Ropes 1, 5 to 8 rounds

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) sequence with the back against the wall
• Stage 1: Have a folded blanket behind the lower back.
• Stage 2: Remove the blanket, bring the back to the wall and put a block between the feet.
• Stage 3: Place the block under the feet.

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
• Support the leg on a block, bolster or blankets.

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
• Bring the leg all the way down to the floor.

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)

Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose)
• Support the middle and lower ribs on a bolster across the back.

Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose)
• Add more support to the bolster to lift the trunk higher.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Chatushpadasana (Four Footed Pose)

Reclined Glute Stretch
• Lie on the back, place one ankle on the opposite knee and draw the legs in.

Chatushpadasana (Four Footed Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
• Support the leg on a block, bolster or blankets.

Chatushpadasana (Four Footed Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Place a bolster under the knees.


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Year of Yoga: Week 15



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

April 9


Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) full pose

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) forward bend only, no arms

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


April 10


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) seated variation only

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) no arms, forward bend only

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Intense West Stretch Pose)

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


April 11


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any simple variation--3 to 5 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) one simple round,
jumping or stepping from Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog pose) into Dandasana (Staff Pose)
and then going into
Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) one simple round,
jumping or stepping from Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog pose) into Dandasana (Staff Pose)
and then going into
Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) one simple round,
jumping or stepping from Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog pose) into Dandasana (Staff Pose)
and then going into
Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extend Feet Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) one simple round,
jumping or stepping from Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog pose) into Dandasana (Staff Pose)
and then going into
Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) one simple round,
jumping or stepping from Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog pose) into Dandasana (Staff Pose)
and then going into
Malasana (Garland Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) one simple round,
jumping or stepping from Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog pose) into Dandasana (Staff Pose)
and then going into
Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


April 12


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


April 13


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Pashchima Namaskarasana Virasana (Hero Pose with Reverse Prayer Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Parshva Dhanurasana (Side Bow Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)

April 14


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Reverse Bound Hands Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) full pose or with one knee down

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Pashchima Namaskarasana Virasana (Hero Pose with Reverse Prayer Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


April 15


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 15


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Level 1 Group Class

Single Leg Frog Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Have a block between the thighs and pull it back.
• Grip the edges of the mat and pull them forward.

Child’s Pose
• Grip the edges of the mat and pull them forward.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Seal the hands into the mat.

Child’s Pose
• Seal the hands into the mat.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lunge with the back leg up

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Have the knees a little bit bent.
• Hold onto the elbows and draw the upper arms down towards the floor.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vajrasana (Downward Facing Thunderbolt Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
• 3 rounds.

[Perform the following series flowing from pose to pose, holding each for 30 seconds or so.]

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose
Plank Pose on the tops of the feet
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose
Plank Pose on the tops of the feet
Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose
Plank Pose on the tops of the feet
Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose on the tops of the feet
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)
• 2 repetitions.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose on the tops of the feet
Lower yourself with control to the floor

Makarasana (Crocodile Pose)
• 2 repetitions, both finger crossings.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose on the tops of the feet
Lower yourself with control to the floor

Shalabhasana 2 (Locust Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose on the tops of the feet
Lower yourself with control to the floor

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose on the tops of the feet
Lower yourself with control to the floor

Lung with the back knee down

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab

At the studio in Brooklyn two of the teachers (Eve Holbrook and Jen Kagan) are teaching a series of workshops of sequences that they were taught in RIMYI, the Iyengar center in Pune, by Geeta Iyengar. I have yet to make it to them, but Kristen has and she’s been wowed by Geeta’s sequencing. So she had the idea of us doing a sequence from Geeta’s book “Yoga: A Gem for Women.”

“Gem” is a tough book to read. It’s full of great information, but it is really badly laid out, which is a shame. Published in 1990, it has tips and sequences that are useful not just to women. Her sequencing is extremely interesting and unconventional, by the standards of what is thought acceptable in the Iyengar community at large. In the sequence that Kristen and I practiced (reproduced below from p.112 of the 2002 Timeless Books edition) Head Stand is this first thing you do, without a warm-up, and you do twists, ropes and back bends after Shoulder Stand. All of these things would be considered no-no’s in a class taught in the West these days. And this sequence is part of what she calls the “Elementary Course.”

Geeta is, however Mr. Iyengar’s successor and what she says, goes. I find it interesting how there is a constant discrepancy between the way things are supposed to be done and the way senior teachers and the Iyengars themselves actually do things. Iyengar yoga is increasingly presented as this rigid, militaristic practice in the West, when the truth is there is still a great amount of playfulness in the way it is taught in India. [There are, of course, horror stories of aggressive and damaging behavior from senior teachers that filter back from Pune, so let us not paint too rosy a picture of the mothership.]

Try this sequence out and see how you feel afterwards. I’m writing this the morning after the practice. My back is sore, in a good way, and I had an excellent and refreshing night’s sleep. There’s definitely something in this way she is sequencing that makes me want to explore it more.

The Sequence

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 1 (Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose 1)

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 2 (Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)
• Toes on a chair.

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) seated portion only

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose) on the ropes (She calls this Yoga Kurunta I)
• Leaning forward holding onto the ropes with the feet away from the wall.

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) on the ropes (She calls this Yoga Kurunta 2)
• Leaning forward holding onto the ropes with the feet at the wall.

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over a chair
• She presents it over a bench so that the body is horizontal. We used 2 chairs.
• Reach the arms through the front chair legs to grab the back chair legs.

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over a chair
• Still on the two chairs, slide off until you can get your head and arms to the floor in the classic set-up.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand)
• This first variation is presented with the hands on the back as in Sarvangasana the hips and legs horizontal and the feet pressing against a bench at the wall. We just used the wall.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand)
• This second variation is presented lying over a high Setu Bandha Bench so that only the pelvis is on the bench. We used two chairs and bolsters under the shoulders. IO found this really hard on the sacrum and had to come out of it pretty quickly, though Kristen didn’t have a problem

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Intermediate Group Class

Marichi's Pose 6 or F
Developing the theme of working with latissimus dorsi and pectoralis major, in this practice we are going to look at twists. If you remember from previous practices, the lats continue through the back of the armpit to the upper arm bone, just as the pecs continue through the front of the armpit attaching right next to the lats on the bone. We will be taking our twists from these two muscle groups, so that means we need to take the armpit into consideration as well as we turn. In addition, the whole lumbar/sacral area tends to get a bit thick and fibrous. We need to ensure that the lat fibers widen and move towards the head in a uniform manner, rather than getting stuck and crunched in that area.

Consider the following actions as you go through the poses:
  • Soften and widen the palms, the pecs and the lats.
  • Think of the inner and outer armpits as four pillars of connection and support of the arms into the trunk. Distribute the weight and/or stretch evenly between each of the four pillars of the armpits.
  • Soften and widen the deltoid (the shoulder cap muscle), wrapping it around the shoulder joint.
  • Hollow out the armpit deep into the joint.
  • Stretch the apex of the armpit, where the lat and the pec come together, towards the palms as you either take the sternum towards or away from the head, depending on the pose. Generally, when the arms are overhead move the sternum away from the head. When they are in front of you, move them towards the head. When the arms are clasped behind the back, widen the sternum and move it deeper into the body.
  • Initiate twists in the lat--the left lat, for example, when turning to the right-- and complete the thought by widening the opposite--the right when turning to the right--pec.
  • Complete the twist by firming the back of the left armpit (when turning right) and moving it across the body, while widening the front of the right armpit.

The Sequence

Shoulder Stretch at wall: Place the forearms and elbows on the wall with the palms together. Make a right angle at the hips with the feet under the pelvis hip width apart. Draw the inner thighs back and reach the arms forward.

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)
• Do the pose with a block between the thighs.
• Set yourself up close to a wall so that you can place your elbows and forearms on the wall without leaning forward any more than you would normally be in the pose.

Parivrtta Hasta Padangusthasana (Revolved Hand to Big Toe Pose) with the raised foot on a ledge

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Have the hands up on blocks set to the lowest level. You might want to set yourself up with the blocks against a wall and the mat folded over the blocks if you find yourself slipping.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Have the feet up on the lowest level blocks.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Hands on the blocks turned up one level.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Feet on the blocks turned up one level.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Hands on the blocks turned up to the highest level.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Feet on the blocks turned up to the highest level.

Uttanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Have the hands flat on the floor on either side of the feet. If you are unable to get the whole of the hand down, put blocks underneath.

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) with the hands on blocks
• Two stages: first the hands under the shoulders; second the arms alongside the ears.

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand) with the hands on blocks

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)
• Simple variation with the Padmasana (Lotus Pose) leg in Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) against the inner thigh of the opposite leg instead. Bind with a belt around the foot.

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)
• Have the hand that is on the floor flat on a block turned up as high as you like.

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)
• Either the full variation, if possible, or some other modification as necessary.

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)
• Have the hand that is on the floor flat on a block turned up as high as you like.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Head Stand

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
• Support the thigh with a block, bolster or blankets.

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
• Back against the wall, sitting up on blankets as necessary to get the sitting bones underneath you.
• Place a narrow-folded blanket behind the lower back.
• Spend half the time with arms down by the sides, then raise the arms overhead.

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
• Back against the wall, sitting up on blankets as necessary to get the sitting bones underneath you.
• Remove the blanket in the back and place a block between the feet.
• Spend half the time with arms down by the sides, then raise the arms overhead.

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
• Back against the wall, sitting up on blankets as necessary to get the sitting bones underneath you.
• Place the block under the feet.
• Spend half the time with arms down by the sides, then raise the arms overhead.

Utthita Marichyasana (Extended Marichi’s Pose) variation
• Bind the arms as if twisting away from the bent leg in Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1).

Utthita Marichyasana (Extended Marichi’s Pose)

Marichyasana 5 (Marichi’s Pose 5) twist only
• Bind the arms and twist away from the raised knee.

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)
• Two stages: first with the elbow to the outer knee; second binding the arms, using a belt if necessary.

Chatushpadasana (Four Feet Pose)

Reclined ankle-to-knee glute stretch

Chatushpadasana (Four Feet Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Chatushpadasana (Four Feet Pose)

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)
• 5 to 10 min.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• 5 to 10 min.


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Year of Yoga: Week 14



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

April 2


Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


April 3


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) seated variation only

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) seated variation only

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


April 4


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any simple variation--3 to 5 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any challenging variation--3 to 5 rounds

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Supta Padangust