What's the Best Full Body Yoga Sequence at Home?
By: Steph Ball-Mitchell, E-RYT-500, RPYT, RCYT, YACEP
"What is the best full body yoga sequence at home?," is a question I'm often asked.
There are many options for beginner yoga for people who are just getting started. This sequence is one of my favorite yoga sequences that can be adapted over time. When we are practicing yoga, we are always improving our stamina, increasing our strength, improving balance and increasing flexibility.
As a beginner to yoga, you are are at the entry point of your journey. The longer you practice, the more you grow in stamina, strength, balance and flexibility. You eventually reach the point that you want to kick up the intensity a little bit. Once you reach that point, this is a great adaptable sequence for you with many yoga accessibility options.
You can always hold plank a few breaths longer, add in some additional sunbird crunches or warrior II pumps. You can repeat the sequence if once doesn't feel like enough. I hope that you enjoy this best full body yoga sequence at home as much as I do.
Here’s the best full body yoga sequence for home:
Start in easy pose, a cross legged seated position. Take a few breaths here. Inhale, reach the arms up over head and as you exhale, drop the left hand down beside you and reach the right arm up and over to the left. On the next inhale, come back to center and reach both arms overhead. As you exhale, drop the right hand down and sweep the left arm up and over to the right.
Gently twist to look over the left shoulder, with the option to bring the right hand towards the left knee and walk the left fingertips behind you. Inhale, lengthen the spine. Exhale, twist a bit deeper. On an inhale, release and come back to center. On the next exhale, gently twist to look over the right shoulder, with the option to bring the left hand towards the right knee and walk the right fingertips behind you. Inhale to find length through the crown of the head. As you exhale, see if you can go a little further into the twist.
Modification: You can also sit in a chair if it is uncomfortable for you to be on the mat.
From easy pose, rock onto hands and knees in tabletop.
Inhale to drop the belly, arch the back and turn the gaze up.
Exhale to round the spine, round the shoulders, tuck the chin into the chest.
Continue with these cat/cows, inhaling to arch and exhaling to round.
Modification: You can also practice cat/cow from a seated position on the mat or in a chair if your knees are sensitive.
From tabletop, extend the right arm out, bicep by the ear and lift the left leg parallel to the floor. Hold here for a few breaths.
If you’d like to get some core work in and increase the intensity, on an exhale bend the left knee and bend the right elbow as you crunch them in to meet. On an inhale, lengthen back into sunbird. Continue this for 5-6 reps.
Repeat on the other side.
Modification: You can do this from a standing posture.
From tabletop, tuck the toes, lift the hips and press back through the palms into downward facing dog. The feet should be about hips width apart. The palms spread wide. Keep a generous bend in the knees if needed so that the pelvis doesn’t go into a tilt and you can find length in the spine.
Modification: You can also bring the hands onto a wall or a chair if that is more comfortable for you.
From downward facing dog, shift forward into plank pose. Don’t panic if you aren’t used to practicing plank. You can always drop down on the knees. Make sure the hands are directly under the shoulders (wrists and shoulder joints stacked). Lift the belly. The toes can be tucked with the body parallel to the ground or you can drop down on the knees, but keep lifting the belly whether the knees are grounded or lifted.
Modification: You can practice plank pose against a wall or with the hands in a chair. You can also always drop the knees, as mentioned above.
From plank pose, lower down to the belly. Bring the hands underneath the shoulders. On an inhale, lift the chest and roll the shoulders open. You want to use the muscles in the back to hold you up. To make sure that you’re using the proper muscles, you can lift the hands briefly.
Modification: If you can’t get down on the mat, you can do a seated backbend in a chair.
From cobra, shift back to child’s pose. In child’s pose, the big toes come together and the knees splay wide apart. Walk the hands out in front of you. Don’t worry if your seat doesn’t touch your heels, it’s not a big deal. We’re going for hip opening and relaxation in this posture.
After your final child’s pose, lift the hips into downward facing dog to transition. Step the right foot between the hands and spin the back left foot flat. Bend the front right knee as you face the long edge of the mat with the hips open. Extend the arms wide out to the sides with collar bones spread wide. Turn the gaze out over the front right fingers. Hold here for a few breaths.
Cartwheel the hands down to the mat, framing the front right foot. Shift back to downward facing dog.
From downward facing dog, step the left foot in between the hands and spin the back right foot flat. Bend the left knee to as close to 90 degrees as you possibly can. Lift the upper body into Warrior II pose, facing the long edge of the mat with the hips open. Send the arms out to the sides and turn the gaze out over the left fingertips.
Modification: Use a chair
From Warrior II, as you inhale straighten the front knee and lift the arms overhead. Exhale to lower back down. Repeat this 5 times on each side.
11. Tree Pose
From Warrior II, step both feet to the top of the mat.
Shift the weight into the right foot and bring the left foot onto the inside of the right leg. You have a few options here:
You can keep the left toes grounded and rest the left heel on the side of the right ankle.
You can bring the entire left foot into the inside of the right ankle joint
You can bring the left foot just below the right knee joint
Or you can bring the left knee all the way up the right thigh.
Just make sure that you don’t bring the left foot on the inside of the right knee joint.
The hands can be at the heart.
Repeat this on the other side.
Modification: Use a wall or chair for support.
While in tree pose, lift the arms straight overhead. Sway to either side.
Come to sit on the mat with both legs extended out in front of you. Take an inhale and stretch the arms up overhead. As you exhale, fold forward over the legs. Don’t worry about touching the toes or bringing your nose to your knees. Think about the crown of the head extending past the toes. Press the chest forward.
Hold here for a few breaths.
Modifications: Bend the knees
Come onto the back and hug the knees into the chest. Bring the hands to the outer edges of the feet and spread the feet out to the sides, stacking ankles over knees. You have the option to rock back and forth in this hip opening position.
Hug the knees into the chest. Drop the knees to the left as you cactus the arms and turn the gaze out over the right shoulder. Hold here for a few moments.
Drop the knees over to the right and turn the gaze out over the left shoulder.
Lie flat on the back with the palms face up and relax into final resting pose for 5 minutes.