How to Create a Yoga Flow for Yourself at Home
There are tons of ways to set up a yoga sequence. If you’re stuck, here are a few of our favorite methods.
Sit Down, Breathe & Check in with Yourself.
Before beginning a home practice, take a moment to check in with yourself. How are you feeling? Is there an area of the body that is sore or tight? That's always a great place to start.
So sit in Padmasana with the legs crossed and the back upright, and just breathe for a few moments.
Yoga is so much more than asana practice, and much of the tension we hold in our bodies is related to emotional state and thought patterns. So much of yoga can be practiced before you even start moving.
Move Freely Without Inhibition
Maybe your heart is extra open right now or you’ve been working on your tight shoulders. You can pick pretty much anything and move intentionally around it. You can pick an area of the body, a muscle group, or a chakra and run with it.
The key is to move intentionally and to sync breath to movement. Say you have tight shoulders. Simply lifting the arms and lowering them to your breath can be practice. Move slowly and allow the breath to guide you.
Maybe this is totally free movement. Maybe it looks kind of like a dance.
Sometimes it even feels good to stamp the feet or shake the limbs. It's great if you can find some alone time to move in ways that may "look ugly" but actually feel amazing. Sometimes the ugly movement is truly what you need.
Focus on the feeling and go from there.
Plan a Sequence Toward a Challenge Pose
Pick a challenge pose like handstand, and practice it daily or at least a few times a week. Think about what poses and exercises would help lead you toward achieving that challenge pose.
For Handstand, Downward Dog Pushups and half handstand with the legs up the wall are good options. You may also add in targeted mobility exercises.
If you try this, it's good to start off by just building a short sequence that you repeat. Add only a few asana leading up to your pose. And then repeat them. The second time, add dynamic movement or add your personal touch.
It's so easy to forget about this part, and it's important to add a cool down after any exercise, not just yoga. The cool down can help to relax the nervous system so you don't leave your practice feeling wired.
Great postures to cool down in are inversions like shoulderstand and anything that puts the feet over the head or allow you to be in a supine position.
Lay on your back with your palms facing upward for a few minutes after your practice. Having the hands upward is a position of receptivity, and laying on the back allows the nervous system to calm down. This posture also allows the spiritual or energetic body to enter into a special state of connection to the divine, which allows for deep restoration and healing throughout the physical body, helping the body to recover from practice in minutes.
It is advised to rest for at least 5 minutes, but up to 15 minutes can be needed after a long or physically demanding practice to properly recover. When you rise from rest, often called Savasana (corpse pose) or Sukhasana (the act of no asana), feeling rested and refreshed, it will almost feel like waking from a deep sleep.
This is where you feel the beautiful, clear, and bright feeling often called the “yogi high.”
The moments after asana practice can be the perfect time to meditate, read, and journal as the mind is sattvic, peaceful and clear. In your newfound clarity, your practice may illuminate parts of yourself and your life of which you may have been previously unaware. Never fear these realizations. These are gifts to help you see more clearly and make the best choices possible with more information. It’s a great idea to write these realizations down as they come, so you can go back to them later.
A Generic Sample Flow
Any well balanced practice, regardless of the theme or style should have a beginning, middle, and end. What is the warmup? What is the peak, and how will you wind down?
Self Check in
Calming the mind
Begin syncing breath to movement
Arching and rounding the back, maybe even adding circles
Peak (The middle of your practice can be anything you want it to be!)
Asana toward a peak pose
Adding dynamic movement to asana
Free movement with or without music
Following a pre-planned sequence