Below yoga sequence should be used as a guide by yoga teachers to create their own yoga class plans
Gentle Yoga Sequence: Beginner Yoga Sequence
To begin with, Gentle Yoga does not mean Restorative Yoga. In Gentle Yoga, the poses that bring no excess strain to our muscles or joints are practiced. While practicing Gentle Yoga, the movement of the body is in a flow like in Hatha Yoga and breathing is done very consciously. The main advantages of Gentle Yoga are that it opens the muscles around the organs without putting too much stress and further improves the nervous system.
In this Gentle Yoga Sequence, we start by opening the muscles around the spine with prone poses and then gradually work on opening the hips with seated poses. We then go into standing poses to gain confidence and strength without contracting the muscles too much and then finally relax with supine poses.
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A. Beginning the sequences with prone poses to help build and open the root of the spine, bring your self in prone position on the mat.
B. Seated on the mat in simple Vajrasana, take a few breaths here extending the spine upwards, and pushing the hips towards the floor.
C. Then inhale and take the torso forward raising the hips upwards towards the roof and stretching the arms out on the floor in front of you place the chin on the floor, while pushing the chest close to the mat/floor.
D. This deep stretch of the spine at the lower back and at the neck, in Uttana Shishosana or Puppy Dog Pose, helps to open the tight muscles around the entire spine giving room for opening the block for easy flow of prana.
E. Uttana Shishosana, can be maintained for about 8 breaths to go deeper with every round of exhalation.
F. Feel the stretch around the lower back while keeping the hips relaxed and also feel for the stretch around the shoulders and the neck keeping the arms stretched out completely.
G. When we talk about the nervous system, the most important part of the human body is the spine which helps to communicate keeping the nervous system active and yet calm.
A. Releasing from Puppy Dog Pose, extend the torso forward going into Urdhva Mukha Svanasana Variation.
B. Inhale and stretch the torso forward placing the thighs, the lower abdomen on the floor while the upper abdomen, the chest and the neck are raised up balancing the body on the bent elbows.
C. Here in Urdhva Mukha Svanasana Variation or Upward Facing Dog Pose Variation, the stretch at the lower back helps to contract the muscles around the spine close to the sacrum, keep the root fit and clear of blockages.
D. Idea of gentle yoga is to connect with the breathing and the sensation of the deep stretch of the muscles. You need to learn to move the body gently and yet go deeper into the pose, without feeling the extra tightness around the muscles.
E. The body will communicate to you about the excess stretch and pull of any muscles or nerves, and that is when you make adjustments in the pose for better results.
F. Remain here in Upward Facing Dog Pose for about 4-6 breaths, without moving much, and watch the stretch at the spine.
G. A gentle opening of the root of the spine and the diaphragm here will create a sense of confidence to go further with the practice.
A. Moving from Urdhva Mukha Svanasana Variation, raise the body and come to Bitilasana.
B. Here balancing on the palms and the knees, bring the knees at hip distance and the arms at shoulder distance and making sure the alignment of the body is perfect, raise the chest upwards gazing up in Cow Pose.
C. The spine here is relaxed extending outwards at the sacrum and expanding upwards at the chest. This pose is for the upper back close to the chest for better circulation of blood through the flow of prana into the blood.
D. Remain in Bitilasana or Cow Pose for about 6-8 breaths and understand the movement of the spine with every inhalation and with every exhalation.
E. To remain comfortable in this pose, one can place cushions or blankets below the knees and palms for better support.
A. Releasing the body form Cow Pose, take the left leg and place the left thigh on the floor in front of you slowly raising the body and hips from the floor.
B. While placing the left thigh on the floor bending the knees, sit on the left hips, extending the right leg behind you completely.
C. Seated here in Kapotasana, on the left side of the hips, extend the spine throwing the chest out and taking the shoulder behind, and take the gaze upwards.
D. Kapotasana or Pigeon Pose, opens the hips giving the spine a great support thus improving the nervous system of the entire body.
E. Remain is Kapotasana or Pigeon Pose for about 6-8 rounds of breathing and while the exhalation happens take the chest out more pushing the hips closer to the floor for a deeper stretch at the hips and the inner thighs.
A. Inhale and move forward with the torso extending the arms out on the floor in front of you while the chin, chest is closer to the floor, in Sleeping Swan Pose.
B. The forward stretch from Pigeon Pose, into Sleeping Swan Pose, gives a better understanding of the movement of the muscles around the hips and the lower back.
C. Focus on contracting the abdominal muscles here to go deeper into the Sleeping Swan Pose. This deep stretch of the spine along the lower back and the neck, activates the nerves, while reducing the stiffness around the entire spine.
D. A very grounded pose, which helps one to connect with the earth teaching us who we are and what is our purpose.
A. Release from Sleeping Swan Pose with an inhalation and come back to Cow Pose and bring the body to perfect alignment.
B. After taking a few breaths at Cow Pose, lift the hips and place the right leg in front of you on the floor, in Pigeon Pose with the right leg.
C. Extend the spine completely pushing the hips deeper into the floor and expanding the chest outwards and upwards and gazing up remain in this pose for about 6-8 breaths.
D. Sometime the flexibility of the hips may not be the same with both hips, and hence it is important to understand the body in each pose and work on getting the alignment and the breath together to bring balance within the body.
E. Always work on correcting the side of the body which is weaker or less flexible while understanding the causes too.