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A yoga teacher trainee whom I was working with asked a smart question: What should I practice when?

If you do the same sequence of poses every single day, as in Astanga Vinyasa Yoga, it’s not a problem. However, what do you do if your practices are more flexible?

Well, it depends on quite a lot of factors – season, age, menstruation, pregnancy, menopause (male or female), time of day, day of the week, etc.

To help my trainee, I sat down and worked out the attached scheme. It covers every possibility I could think of, but please let me know if you think of others. These cycles work well for teachers as a structure for hanging your one-to-one sessions or group classes on, too.

Seven Day Cycles

1.

Monday: Standing poses & salutes

Tuesday: Forward stretches & twists

Wednesday: Backbends

Thursday: Salutes to the sun & standing poses

Friday: Hips & abdominals

Saturday: Restorative/Menstrual

Sunday: Inversions & Misc.

2.

Every day do sirsasana, sarvangasana & variations

Monday: Standing poses, forward stretches & simple backbends

Tuesday: Supta padangusthasana cycle & arm balancings

Wednesday: Ekapada sirsasana cycle, twists, & padmasana cycle

Thursday: Preparation for backbends, advanced backbends & supta padangusthasana cycle

Friday: Supta padangusthasana cycle, arm balancings, & twists

Saturday: Forward stretches – long timings

Sunday: Hips & misc.

Monthly Cycles

I.

Week 1: Standing poses

Week 2: Forward Stretches

Week 3: Backbends & twists

Week 4: Inversions & pranayama

II. Lunar

Full moon: Backbends & twists

Waning: Forward stretches

New Moon: Inversions & pranayama

Waxing: Standing poses

Age Cycles:

Young – varied poses, short timings

Adolescent – Salutes to the sun & standing poses

Middle years – all poses, increasing timings

Old – Fewer poses, more pranayama & meditation

Woman’s cycles

Menstruation: Menstrual sequence

Prenatal/Postnal: Poses appropriate to trimesters, savasana

Menopause: Inversions, forward stretches, backbends, twists, pelvic floor exercises, savasana, pranayama & meditation

Diurnal/Nocturnal Cycle

Morning: dynamic, energising poses

Evening: inversions, savasana, pranayama

Seasonal Cycles

Winter: Dynamic poses to warm the body

Spring: Twists to cleanse internal organs

Summer: Passive backbends, cooling, restorative practice

Autumn: In wet weather, abdominal strenthening poses