joan white

beginning asana sequence:
beginning your practice

This practice sequence is suggested for beginning students. It will help you construct a home practice. Start by picking just afew poses and practicing them for a week to see what sort of effect a home practice has.You could, for example, pick a couple of standing poses and viparita karani which would mean that you would be doing two active poses and one relaxation pose. As your class progresses you can add more or different poses to your practice.

Remember to spend 5-15 minutes doing relaxation at the end of your practice. A good relaxation will help you to face your daily life from a quieter and calmer perspective.

For more information about these poses, please refer to Light on Yoga, Yoga: a Gem for Women, and Preliminary Course. See our links page for the IYNAUS store.

Click the triangle for instructions on each asana:


Feet together, big toes and inner heels touching. Balance the weight on each foot evenly between front and back and right and left. Contract the quadriceps to lift the kneecaps. Bring the navel to the hack and lengthen the tail hone downwards. Lift the sternum and roll the shoulders back and down. Head level, throat soft. eyes passive. Keep breathing easily from the diaphragm.

Raise arms over head palms facing each other then palms forward




Fingers entwined, raise arms overhead, change sides.

Jump feet four feet apart, feet parallel.

Turn the right leg out to 90 and the left foot in 10.


Stand in Tadasana. Bend your right leg and bring your right foot against your left thigh. Create resistance by pressing your foot into your thigh and your thigh into your foot. Keep your pelvis level while attempting to open the groin of the bent leg.

Bring your palms together and raise your arms over your head. In the beginning you may need to go to the wall to work on your balance. If this is the case just fold your arms in front of your chest bringing the palms together in Namaste. When learning to bring your arms overhead start by having them run parallel to each other and then work to bring the palms together when everything else is in place. Alternate sides.

Stand in Tadasana. Bend your elbows in line with your chest and jump the feet 4 to 4 1/2 feet apart. Turn you entire leg from the hip to the foot 90 degrees. Turn the left foot about 10 degrees towards the right foot. Align the right heel with the center of the left big arch. Move your buttocks away from your waist bringing the right sit bone in line with the center of the right heel. Extend your arms level with your shoulders palms down. On an exhalation reach out over your right leg as far as possible making sure not to bend from the waist and then bring your hand down. You may rest your hand on your leg, a block or the floor depending your your level of flexibility. Normal breathing. Open your chest well by spreading your collar bones and bringing your shoulder blades into your back ribs as you do in Tadasana. Turn your head to look up at the thumb of your left hand. Inhale to come up. Alternate sides.

Stand in Tadasana. Stretch out your arms then take them behind your back. Join the tips of the fingers of both hands, with your fingers pointing down.

Rotate your wrists so your fingers point inward, then move your spine forward and up. Press your palms together and slide them up between your shoulder-blades. Draw your shoulders and elbows down and back, and press your fingers and palms together. Exhale and jump your feet 3 to 3 and a half feet apart. (90 cm)

Turn your left foot in 60°, your right leg and foot 90° to the right. Turn to your right side so that your entire pelvis is facing the wall in front of you. . Inhale, lift your abdomen and chest, and look up. Curve back over your fingers.

Straighten your head and, on an exhalation, extend forward from the tops of your thighs. Press your palms together to open your chest and extend your spine until your torso is parallel to the floor.

Continue to extend your torso evenly to bring your chest forward toward your right thigh and your head toward your shinbone, until your nose, lips, and chin rest beyond your knee. Hold for 20-30 seconds. breathing evenly. Inhale, lift your trunk , then repeat to the other side. Finish in Tadasana.


Stand in Tadasana arms on your hips. Exhale and jump your feet 4 to 4 1/2 feet apart. Then walk the feet out as wide as you are able without doing a side split. Keep the outer edges of your feet parallel and your front thighs and knees well lifted. Bend from the hips and place your hands on the floor arms extended creating a concave spine. Do not overarch your lower back. Look up keeping your shoulders away from your ears. Then bend your elbows and take your head down to the floor. Walk your hands back so that the upper and lower arms form a right angle. If your arms don't reach the floor place a block under each hand. If your head doesn't reach the floor you can place a support under your head. Inhale to come up and walk, don't jump your feet back together. END STANDING


Sit on the floor with the legs extended knees and feet together. Keep the knees firm . Extend the spine upwards from the sitting bones through the crown of the head. Elevate the buttocks if the back rounds place your arms by the sides of your hips. Lift the sternum and roll the shoulders back and down. Keep the abdomen soft and moving back towards the spine. The Chest is well lifted and the collar bones spread.


Raise arms up over head palms facing each other

Holding the big toes, you can use a belt. Concave spine.

Stand in Tadasana with your feet hip width apart and bend over and place your palms on the floor. Step back with your feet until you feel your weight is evenly placed between your arms and your legs. You will resemble a triangle with the buttocks being the apex. Spread your palms and extend your fingers. Spread your toes and extend the heels back. Rotate your outer armpits towards your inner armpits maintaining space between your neck and your shoulders. In the beginning most people cannot take their heels to the floor. If you are very stiff in the shoulders try taking your palms to the wall placing them well over your head with your arms straight. Then step back as far as you can maintaining straight arms and keeping your palms firmly on the wall. This pose has many variations which your yoga teacher can show you. to come out either walk forward or bend your knees and come down.

Place your mat on the floor and place 3 folded blankets at one end of the mat. Make sure that the folded edges of the blankets are evenly placed. You can fold your mat so that the bottom half is covering three quarters of the blankets. Place either a folded blanket or a block at the rear of the blankets. Lie down so that the tops of your shoulders are about one to one and a half inches from the edge. Bend your knees and place your feet near your buttocks, hip-width apart. Rest your arms by your sides, palms up. Roll your shoulder bones back and down, and lift your chest.

Turn your palms downward, press them into the floor and, exhaling, swing your legs overhead, raising your hips and torso and supporting your back with your hands.

Drop your feet to the floor in Halasana and stretch your legs, pressing your toes down. Clasp your fingers, extend your arms, and lift your chest and hips, making your torso vertical.

Place your palms on your back and lift your spine even further. Then exhale, raise one foot, and lift the leg in line with your torso . Once your torso is at right angles to the floor, follow with the other leg, keeping both legs straight, until your legs are together.

Extend your heels and your toes upward, keeping your knees firm and elbows in line with your shoulders. Hold for up to 5 minutes, breathing evenly. Exhale, bend your knees, bring your thighs to your chest, then lower your buttocks and back, releasing your hands. Lie over the support to rest, feet on the floor and knees bent.

Begin in Salamba Sarvangasana. Keep your palms pressed against the middle of your back as you move into the next step.

Exhale and lower your legs, taking your chest and hips slightly back. until your toes touch the floor. Hold for 1-5 minutes. After the first minute or two stretch your arms and interlock your fingers. (halfway through, change the interlock of your fingers). Release your hands and reverse the actions to return to Salamba Sarvangasana. Gradually unroll your spine to the floor, then lie back and relax.

From Dandasana, On an exhale extend your arms upward and bending from your hips reach towards your feet. Lift and extend the front body forward, taking the sternum towards the toes. Keep both legs pressing into the floor. Elevate the buttocks if the back rounds and use a belt to catch the feet if you are unable to reach your feet. People with tight hamstrings or extra weight around the waist should take their legs hip width apart.


Lie on your back in a straight line, balancing the left and right sides of your body. Lift hips slightly and lengthen the lower back by moving your buttock flesh towards your feet. . Separate the legs 4 - 6". Move upper arms away from side of chest, palms facing up. If the chin lifts and the head tilts back, support the back of the head with a folded towel or blanket, keeping the chin level with the forehead. Gently close the eyes to help them relax. Allow yourself time to rest. Use your breath as a vehicle to help you soften your abdomen with each exhalation. sLet your eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin soften Remain alert and attentive. When the mind wanders, refocus on the breath flowing softly and smoothly. If you low back is uncomfortable , bend your knees and place a rolled blanket or a bolster under the knees. Stay 10 -15 minutes.