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
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.
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
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