When I encourage my yoga students to practice at home, many of them tell me that they don’t know what poses they should be doing, or in what order. To help them feel more confident in their home practice, I’ve put together a list of resources that they can use for guidance.
- 1 Iyengar Yoga Institute of New York Practice Sheets
- 2 More General Home Practice Sequences
- 3 For Experienced Iyengar Yoga Students
- 4 Restorative Sequence
- 5 Immune Sequence
- 6 Yoga For Menopause / Restorative Yoga
- 7 Yoga and Osteoporosis
- 8 Book Recommendations – Sequences in Iyengar Yoga Books
- 9 Other book recommendation pages
Iyengar Yoga Institute of New York Practice Sheets
The following two links are to a few good general sequences created by the Iyengar Yoga Association of Greater New York. Print them out to have next to you as you practice.
- Iyengar Yoga Home Practice – Level 1 – Four Level 1 sequences. PDF file
- Iyengar Yoga Home Practice – Level 2 – Four Level 2 sequences. PDF file
The Level 1 sequences are geared more toward general beginning level students, and the Level 2 sequences are geared toward students with more experience in the Iyengar Yoga system, including experience in Sirsasana (head balance) and Sarvangasana (shoulder balance).
Line drawings of the poses are shown with their Sanskrit name, and with the suggested number of repetitions, and sometimes with suggested timings.
But you’ll notice on each page it says:
“Wherever the time is not given, the pose should be done according to one’s capacity and time at one’s disposal. Repetitions are recommended over timings to avoid strain.“
Both sets of sequences assume that you have some knowledge of the poses that are shown, and that you know how to modify them if needed. If you are stiffer or weaker, you will need to use support to do some or many of the poses shown on these pages. Don’t do anything that you feel puts yourself at risk for injury. If you have questions or concerns about doing these poses, please get help from your yoga teacher.
While a home yoga practice is strongly recommended, you also need to continue your yoga classes with a good teacher so you learn how to do these poses in the best way for your own body.
More General Home Practice Sequences
Home Practice Sequences by Carolyn Belko, Senior Iyengar Yoga Teacher
- Sequence for International Yoga Day (June 21, 2015) recommended by Geeta Iyengar
- 20 minute Yoga Fix
- Level 1A Standing Pose Sequence for Beginning and Level 1 students
- Level 1B Standing Pose Sequence for Beginning and Level 1 students for more of a challenge.
For Experienced Iyengar Yoga Students
10 Practice Sequences for Level 2 and Above by Joan White, Senior Iyengar Yoga Teacher.
Includes well-rounded sequences that focus on different categories of poses. Since these are not illustrated, you will need to be familiar with the Sanskrit pose names for these, or know where to look up the names. If you are an experienced Iyengar yoga student, you should have no problems with this!
“Just as children need sleep in order to grow, we need deep rest in order to renew! With the internal focus on the breath combined with the release in the body our minds begin to quieten, which is what yoga is all about.”
This soothing, restorative yoga sequence, found on the Iyengar Yoga Shala Amsterdam website, is very similar to what I teach in my own classes. The page includes images of poses (illustrations by Bobby Clennell, CIYT in New York), followed by the pose names in Sanskrit. These restorative poses are done with support (including head support in all poses) to allow the body to stay in place with ease, so that the mind can become quiet.
This sequence was given to students at RIMYI (Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute) in Pune (Maharashtra, India) during a time when the institute was closed due to a virulent flu. It includes many inversions. Do what you’re able to do. If you’re not doing sirsasana or sarvangasana, you’ll note that there are other inversions that are included.
Morning Practice for Immunity (illustrated) – I used the link to a Pinterest pin with the full illustrated page. You can click through to the blog post if you want to, but it also has a couple videos that start playing automatically – not desirable in my opinion.
Morning and Evening Practice for Immunity (small illustrations) – by Marla Apt, Senior Iyengar Yoga Teacher.
A Simpler Immune Sequence with photos. This is also a nice general restorative sequence. If you don’t have bolsters, make do with blankets.
Yoga For Menopause / Restorative Yoga
Yoga for Midlife and Beyond by Suza Francina
I think that this was originally called Seven Essential Poses for Crossing the Menopausal Bridge, but really these poses are useful for both men and women.
From the page: “The photographs on this page illustrate key poses for balancing our hormones, relieving stress, supporting pelvic health and replenishing our energy reserves during all the stages of life. These poses are vital for both men and women at midlife and beyond, especially as we face the many changes that life brings.“
Yoga and Osteoporosis
Practicing yoga poses can help slow down osteoporosis and osteopenia, and perhaps even increase bone strength and mineral density.
A Dozen Poses vs. Osteoporosis by Dr. Loren Fishman, first gives an overview of a study his group did on how the intelligent practice of yoga poses helps to increase bone mineral density compared to people who didn’t do yoga (I’m assuming they weren’t doing other strength training).
Then the article goes through 12 representative yoga poses that can help strengthen bone. Each of these poses includes variations for people who cannot or should not be doing the full classical pose.
The article says we want to, “Optimize pressure on the bones – that’s what strengthens them – Too much pressure will break them, but too little will not get them very strong. You have to use your muscles, but not too much! Therefore we have graded the poses: modest pressure for people with osteoporosis, somewhat more in osteopenia, and the classical pose with considerable strain for people seeking to prevent their bones from weakening.”
Also see the book Yoga for Osteoporosis: The Complete Guide by Loren Fishman MD and Ellen Saltonstall MD
Book Recommendations – Sequences in Iyengar Yoga Books
Many Iyengar Yoga books have sequences for practice in the back. Some are illustrated, while some require you to know (or learn) the pose names (that is a very worthy endeavor in its own right!). Here are a few suggestions:
Iyengar Yoga Books with illustrated sequences in the back
Iyengar Yoga books with written sequences (you need to know, or figure out, the pose names)
Other book recommendation pages
I’ve written a couple pages of Iyengar Yoga book recommendations that review the books I’ve mentioned above.