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Yoga Sequencing

How To Create Your Own Yoga Sequences (For Beginners and Teachers)

October 11, 2022

You don’t have to be an advanced yogi to be able to practice yoga at home independently. With just some basic understanding of how yoga sequencing works, you can create and practice simple yoga sequences from the comfort of your own home.

Learning to sequence yoga flows empowers you to create a regular, consistent practice rather than wait until your next studio class. So to help you bring yoga into your daily routine, we’re sharing exactly how to sequence a simple yoga sequence. Let’s dive in!

How To Create Your Beginner Yoga Sequence in 5 steps

1. Warm-up postures

Yoga poses for beginners printable warm up
Yoga poses for beginners printable: cat-cow, thread the needle, butterfly

One of the worst mistakes you can make when practicing yoga at home is not warming up properly. For example, if you start your practice with a challenging pose like Warrior 3, the muscles needed to execute that posture will be cold. This not only makes getting into the stance difficult, but it significantly increases the risk of injury.

Therefore, don’t rush into your favorite standing asanas and backbends. Instead, choose a few gentle stretches to warm up the entire body. For example:

  • Cat Cow makes a fab first asana as it gently wakes up and stretches the spine and back muscles. 
  • Butterfly Pose is an excellent warm-up for the hips, low back, and inner thighs. 
  • Thread The Needle warms the entire body; the shoulders, chest, upper back, arms, and neck.

Sun salutations are a great full-body warm-up sequence that you can do too. Check out this video for an awesome demonstration of how to do Sun Salutation A.

2. Standing postures and balances

Once your body is warm, you can move into standing postures, like the warrior poses. Here is a mini-standing sequence that you can try:

Yoga poses for beginners printable standing poses
Yoga poses for beginners printable: Mountain Pose – Warrior 1 – Warrior 2 – Reverse Warrior – Extended Side Angle Pose – Warrior 2 – Mountain Pose – Standing Forward Fold

We recommend doing one to two gentle standing sequences like this. Afterward, you can practice some standing balances. Tree Pose is ideal for beginners, Dancer’s Pose for intermediate, and Eagle Pose for advanced yogis looking for a challenge.

3. Peak Poses (backbends, inversions, and arm balances)

Yoga poses for beginners printable backbendings, balance, inversions
Yoga poses for beginners printable: Camel pose – bow pose – headstand – tripod headstand – crow pose – firefly

At this point, you’ve thoroughly warmed up all your muscles, increased your flexibility, and built some strength. This is the time to practice those challenging asanas you’ve been keen to try, such as advanced backbends, inversions, or arm balances. 

If you’re a beginner, stick with gentle backbends like the Locust Pose or Bridge Pose. For those with some experience, you can try Bow Pose or Camel Pose with the hands supporting the lower back.

If you’re new to yoga, the idea of inversions may seem scary. However, there are gentle inverted postures you can practice to get used to bringing your heart above your head. Dolphin pose (like Downward Dog on the forearms) is an excellent way to prepare for more advanced inversions.

Similarly, not all arm balances require extreme strength and flexibility. Plank Pose, Upward Tabletop, and Side Plank will help you build your upper body strength and confidence in balancing weight on your hands. Or, if you’ve recently nailed Crow Pose, Side Crow is the natural next step in your arm balance journey.

Note that peak poses are always optional. Moreover, standing balances, including Tree Pose, can be the peak of your sequence.

4. Seated poses 

Yoga poses for beginners printable seated poses
Yoga poses for beginners printable: pigeon pose, half split or split, seated twist, seated forward fold.

Challenging backbends, inversions, and arm balances (known as peak poses) are the postures you build up to. After doing one of these, the sequence’s tempo slows down so you can stretch out the muscles you just worked.

So now it’s time to move to your mat for some seated postures. Here, we recommend including a few hip and thigh stretches like Pigeon Pose and Half Splits. Then, a Seated Twist followed by Seated Forward Fold always feels good.

5. Slow down (reclined postures)

Yoga poses for beginners printable slow down
Yoga poses for beginners printable: knees to chest, supine twist, feet up the wall, savasana.

All yoga sessions end in a reclined position in what is known as Savasana (Corpse Pose). This is when you take the final few minutes to relax all your muscles, let your breath slow down, and allow the effects of the practice to take place.

However, in between transitioning from seated poses to Savasana, we recommend doing a few reclined slow-down postures, such as:

  • Knees To Chest – To relieve any tension in the lower back.
  • Supine Twist – To neutralize the spine after all the flexion and extension.
  • Feet up the wall – A restorative position to calm the mind and bring fresh blood flow to the brain and all the organs.

Then, enjoy your well-deserved savasana. Wondering how long your savasana should be? As a general rule of thumb, your final resting pose should make up 5 to 10% of your practice. So, if you do a 30-minute routine, you should spend 3 to 6 minutes of that time resting in the Corpse Pose (Savasana). 

How to take your yoga sequencing to the next level

As you can see, with just a bit of knowledge around yoga sequencing, creating your own flows no longer seems daunting. However, to create effective yoga sequences and building a strong self-practice that dramatically improves your strength, flexibility, and more, you’ll need some additional tools and guidance.

Use the PlayPauseBe deck

Playpausebe yoga deck
Yoga poses for beginners printable: The PlayPauseBe Yoga Deck

Because we’ve experienced the incredible benefits of a daily yoga practice ourselves, we’re incredibly passionate about helping all yogis bring this mindful practice into their everyday lives.

That’s why we created the PlayPauseBe yoga deck. This innovative deck of cards is the ultimate tool for self-practice, no matter your level of experience. The illustrations, prompts, and sequencing referencing system helps you quickly and effortlessly create endless sequences.  

We highly recommend using the deck in conjunction with the guidance above. This is easy as the asana cards are divided into their correct categories: warm-up, standing, balances, backbends, inversions, arm balances, advanced, seated, and slow down. Thanks to the clever color-coded system, you can easily see which posture goes where in the sequence.

Want to know more? We’ve created this short video explaining how to create yoga sequences with the PlayPauseBe deck.

Take the PlayPauseYoga course

If you want to learn the ins and outs of the science of sequencing, check out the PlayPauseYoga online course. The course will help you understand the reasoning behind why yoga classes are sequenced the way they are. The lessons are suitable for all levels, and you can go at your own pace.

The PlayPauseYoga course also features comprehensive demonstrations of all the poses mentioned in this article (and more!). Moreover, along with learning how to prepare for and do the poses, you’ll gain a deep understanding of counterposes, which are necessary to prevent injury. Click on the image below to discover more!

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Beginner: no or little experience in yoga
Intermediate: a few years of experience in yoga
Teacher: you teach yoga or you are in YTT