These sequences are compiled on a daily basis - using the sequences that we have practiced for that day. Please note that the names of the poses in Sanskrit are evolving and we endeavour to keep up-to-date with the latest and correct names of the poses.
There are a few pictures but mostly the sequences list only names of the asanas as they are performed. 
Please also consult other good Iyengar publications for assistance with the names of asanas.

 

If you have any questions about the names of asanas, please consult any good Iyengar publication, or write to us at   info@iyengaryogawithdavid.com
 
This site will be updated with a new sequence daily. If for some reason, there has not been a new sequence added, extra sequences will be posted later to make up for it. This usually occurs when we are traveling or hosting workshops at the Centre.

The idea is to have a variety of sequences, differing in duration and content.  There will be sequences that differ slightly even if it is merely the length of the timings.
Sometimes there are no timings added to the asana - other times the sequence has a specific theme, others again contain a mixed, well-structured class of asanas. You may notice that a sequence has been repeated, exactly as the day before or slightly altered; this is due to the fact, that sometimes a sequence has a certain effect on the body and mind - the same sequence done the next day has a totally different effect - some poses may be removed or just moved around. There are now more than 2000 sequences !
It is hoped that we cover the entire spectrum of asanas - most importantly it must be understood that these sequences are based purely on our own practice.

We have added an extra page - Yoga Therapy - 89 therapeutic yoga sequences that may be useful and beneficial. The therapeutic sequences page can be found at the end of the other pages.
 
Sequences 1 - 10 are further examples of the sequences and are for FREE  
 thereafter they are reserved for "Members ONLY" and are protected with a password

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The password will change

1 January 2020

 

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Supta Baddha Konasana x10mins

Adho Mukha Svanasana x2mins

Eka Pada Supta Virasana x10mins

Adho Mukha Svanasana x2mins

Salamba Sirsasana I x10mins

Adho Mukha Svanasana x2mins

Adho Mukha Vrksasana x 3

Adho Mukha Svanasana x2mins

Chair Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana x10mins

Adho Mukha Svanasana x2mins

Chair Sarvangasana x10mins

Adho Mukha Svanasana x2mins

Janu Sirsasana x10mins

Upavistha Konasana 5mins

Paschimottanasana x5mins

Adho Mukha Svanasana x2mins

Supta Pavanmuktasana x10mins

Ardha Halasana x10mins

Setubandha Sarvangasana x10mins

Adho Mukha Svanasana x2mins

Viparita Karani x10mins

Savasana x10mins

 

Sequence 171 – Geeta’s Class  (3) – December 2003

Adho Mukha Svanasana

Uttanasana

Prasarita Padottanasana I

Uttanasana

Tadasana

Adho Mukha Svanasana

Uttanasana

Tadasana – Urdhva Hastasana – Gomukhasana – Ardha Paschima Baddha Hastasana – Paschima Baddha Hastasana – Paschima Namaskarasana

Adho Mukha Svanasana

Uttanasana

Virabhadrasana I

Adho Mukha Svanasana

Baddha Hasta Uttanasana

Uttanasana

Virasana

Adho Mukha Virasana

Adho Mukha Svanasana

Parsvottanasana

Virabhadrasana III

Adho Mukha Svanasana

Uttanasana

Virasana

Adho Mukha Virasana

Paschimottanasana

Adho Mukha Svanasana

Salamba Sirsasana I

Adho Mukha Virasana

Adho Mukha Svanasana

Adho Mukha Vrksasana

Chair Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana

Adho Mukha Svanasana

Chair Chatushpadasana

Chatushpadasana – with support

Halasana – with support

Salamba Sarvangasana I – with support

Ardha Halasana

Setubandha Sarvangasana

Viparita Karani

Savasana​

Sample of a Sequence

Jathara Parivartanasana (knees bent)​
Padagulfasana (with support)
Salamba Adho Mukha Virasana

                     Also available on this website

 

"Blocks for a Yoga Practice"

A guide showing the versatility of the block in

your yoga practice

Blocks-for-a-yoga-practice

&

"Relaxed Body - Relaxed Mind"

A guide to Iyengar Yoga Restorative Practice

Relaxed Body - Relaxed Mind

&

"Yoga Kurunta"

A guide to Iyengar Yoga with Wall Ropes

Yoga Kurunta

&

YOGAMALA Volumes I & II

A visual guide to Iyengar yoga sequences

&

Iyengar Yoga Evolution - Practice with the Chair

Practice with the Chair

Structure is the secret to an enjoyable yoga practice

Asanas cannot be jumbled together any which way. 

The proper sequencing of poses is crucial to the effective opening

and closing of the body. 

Each posture has a specific effect on the body. 

When combined with another posture, these effects can be used

to heal, raise energetic states and soothe.

The proper combination of asanas is crucial

to an intelligent understanding of yoga,

that goes beyond mere repetition of postures.

Yoga is an art and a science.

 

The sequencing of asanas is the Science of yoga

"Perform asanas each time with a fresh mind and a fresh approach"  B.K.S. Iyengar

Asana categories

 

  • Standing asanas – utthistha sthiti

 

  • Standing backward extensions – utthistha purva pratana sthiti

                  

  • Standing forward extensions  – utthistha paschima pratana sthiti

 

  • Supine poses  –  supta sthiti

 

  • Forward seated extensions – paschima pratana sthiti

 

  • Prone  - adho mukha sthiti

 

  • Seated  –  upavistha sthiti

 

  • Inversions  –  viparita sthiti

 

  • Arm balances  –  bhujatolasana sthiti

 

  • Backward extensions  –  purva pratana sthiti

 

  • Body knotting/entwining  –  grathana sthiti

 

  • Abdominal contractions – udara akunchana sthiti

 

  • Hand/leg movement – chalana valana sthiti

 

  • Twists  –  parivrtta sthiti

 

  • Restoratives  – visranta karaka sthiti

 

BKS Iyengar on his 95th Birthday

Parinama tapa samskara duhkaih gunavritti virodhat
ca duhkameva sarvam vivekinnah  
Yoga Sutra 2:15

 

With awareness and wisdom of thought discrimination, rising impressions of distress, pain and suffering can suppressed before they manifest. Suffering is caused by change, unfulfilled longing, habits and fluctuations in energy

"If you don't take care of your body, where else will you live?"

 

 Sequencing of Asanas

Yogacharya (master teacher), BKS Iyengar is recognized as one of the worlds’ foremost exponents of yoga. He became known in the West through his classic text Light on Yoga, first published in 1966 and never out of print since then. Gradually, during the years following the book’s publication, the term “Iyengar Yoga” came into use. Mr. Iyengar has said: “My pupils, who follow me call it Iyengar Yoga to distinguish it from the teachings of others. Though I am rational, I am tradition bound and sentimental. What I do is pure, authentic, traditional yoga. The sutras I tech is purely Ashtanga Yoga, knows as the eight limbs of Yoga, expounded by Patanjali in his 196 terse Sutras.” Yoga traditionally lays great emphasis on practice – sadhana. At the age of 93 (December 2011), BKS Iyengar has not in any sense “retired.” Each morning for two to three hours, he does his extraordinary personal practice, in the hall of the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Institute (RIMYI), alongside his pupils, while most afternoons he can be found in the library, attending to correspondence, researching and writing. Through his own rigorous practice, careful study of the earliest available texts, and instructions to hundreds of thousands of students from all over the world, BKS Iyengar has reached back to the roots of yoga and brought forth a revitalization of this ancient knowledge. He has methodically practiced each yoga asana (posture), pinpointing its purpose and discovering how it works, so that each individual part of the body may function to its full potential. A demanding teacher, BKS Iyengar guides his students to practice asanas in different ways to understand not just how, but why and what happens when you do an asana. He stresses the importance of the proper sequencing of the asana practice, so the body is completely nourished and the mind quieted and focused. Yogacharya BKS Iyengar is renowned throughout the world for his knowledge his therapeutic approach to yoga, and his innovative use of supports or “props” – ropes, pillows, bolsters, wooden blocks, sticks, benches, mats and blankets. He has worked with Western doctors in the fields of heart and immune disease, spinal, orthopedic problems adapting and modifying classical postures so that the patients’ ailments and stiff bodies could be supported in asanas without strain or risk of further damage. Sporting teams, dancers, musicians and many others have been helped in recovering from injury and illness while at the same time, increasing mobility and concentration. BKS Iyengar is acknowledged as having been instrumental in bringing yoga to the West, by showing that yoga is open to all, regardless of age, race, creed, social background or infirmity. His contribution to yoga from the very early years of his teaching has been acknowledged by many awards including in 2002, the highest civic award given by the Government of India, the Padma Bhushan Award. In 2004 he was also named in Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the world. A philanthropist for many years, he recently established a trust to build facilities in his home village of Bellur, for young people to learn trades. Having taken yoga to the West, his dream now is to bring yoga to the villages of India. A prolific writer of books, essays and discourses, his first book Light on Yoga, has been translated into 16 languages including Russian, Polish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Dutch, French, Italian, German, Korean and Ukrainian. He has also written – Light on Pranayama, Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Light on Ashtanga Yoga and his latest Yogamala which contains collections of his writings and interviews.

 

   Proper sequencing of asanas within a practice session plays an important role in achieving maximum benefit from the session.   After a well-sequenced session, one can reach below the surface of the skin and muscles and bones of the body and get in touch with the energetic body at a more cellular level.   Then a yogic mind begins to develop.   In some schools of yoga, such as the Ashtanga school, practice sessions are arranged into vinyasa or practice series.   One famous and ancient vinyasa practiced by all schools of yoga is the Surya Namaskar or "sun salutation."

   Yoga in the Iyengar tradition does not have scripted sequences that are practiced by everyone.   Sequencing of poses is a complex and advanced topic that requires extensive study and experience with the effects of asana sequences from your own practice.  

You should learn from personal experience what effect doing Adho Mukha Svanasana prior to Urdhva Dhanurasana has on your own body and mind and vice versa.   This is the experiential way of understanding asana sequencing.   Many factors influence the sequencing of asanas:   the weather, your age, your experience, how you're feeling mentally and physically on a certain day.  

There are also different types of sequencing:  

(1) sequencing movements within a pose,

(2) sequencing from one pose to another within a family, and

(3) sequencing from one family of poses to another.  

All of these variables make asana sequencing a truly complex topic.

     The different categories of asanas exert different effects not only on your body, but also on your mind and emotions.   The standing poses promote emotional stability and strength.   The forward bends are calming -- even the very deepest forward bend should have a cooling effect, not a straining feeling.   The back bends are anti-depressive and elevate mood.   The inverted poses increase energy and engender equanimity and a sense of well-being.   Backbends are often given to students as a prescription for depression; and forward bends as a prescription for anxiety.

  The choice of sequencing of asanas depends in part upon the state of mind you are in at a given time.   No one sequence will be appropriate for every person, for every mindset, for every energy level, for every level of experience, for every day.   Within the topic of sequencing asanas, there are a few more or less strict rules that we try to follow essentially all the time, and then there are some more or less general rules which can be broken in order to achieve specific effects.   An example of a fairly strict rule is that, in the Iyengar system, Sirsasana should be followed at some point in the sequence either by Sarvangasana, or by a similar pose to lengthen the neck such as Setubandha Sarvangasana or Halasana.   In the Iyengar system, we do not follow Sarvangasana with Sirsasana as is done in some other systems of yoga.
 

More generally, good advice on sequencing can be thought of as general principles such as these:

1. Standing poses are a good preparation for forward bends and also for back bends.



2. Adho Mukha Svanasana is a good preparation for all poses and also a good warm down after both forward bends and back bends.
  There is almost never a bad time to do Adho Mukha Svanasana.   If you are doing Adho Mukha Svanasana near the beginning of a session, it is an active time, a time when you are moving into a working mode, so don't lower yourself into Adho Mukha Virasana (Child's Pose); rather step up into Uttanasana to maintain the energy of the session.   Conversely, if you are doing the pose as a warm down, it can be relaxing to rest in Child's Pose afterward.



3. Don't alternate back and forth between forward bends and back bends.
It is true that one good way to wind down from a session of back bends is to use a few gentle forward bends to recover and refresh the spine.   However, one way that yoga was taught in the West, especially in the early days of yoga in the West, was that you should alternate "pose and counter-pose," moving back and forth between a forward bend and a back bend to move the spine in both directions.   Generally this is not a good practice.   Generally, we devote entire sessions to a particular theme -- standing poses, forward bends, or back bends, for instance.   Even if the theme of the session includes poses from multiple classes of asanas, a strict arrangement of "pose and counter-pose" is not a skillful way of sequencing.   Generally one pose should lead you into the next pose by means of its similarity with the next pose, not by means of opposition.



4. It is not good to sequence active or heating poses after cooling poses.

Once you have warmed-up and begun to engage in the heart of your yoga session, if it is an active session, you will generate a certain amount of heat.   You want to maintain this heat for the duration of the active part of your session because it lends to the flexibility of your spine and body in general and keeps you mentally prepared for engaging in active asana work.   Once you begin to cool down from your session, it is not good to have any more heating or active poses.   Rather, you should gently move your body into preparation for Savasana.   That being said, it can be initially confusing as to which poses are heating and which ones are cooling.   Ultimately whether a pose is heating (active) or cooling (passive) may depend not on the pose itself, but on the level of the practitioner.   For instance, in general Sirsasana is heating and Sarvangasana is cooling, however someone with a regular, lengthy Sirsasana practice may find Sirsasana very relaxing and cooling, especially brief periods in the pose.   In general, heating poses include:   standing poses, inversions (which are cooling when done supported), arm balances, back bends (cooling when done supported), and active twists.   Examples of cooling poses include:   forward bends in general (especially seated forward bends), Supta Padangusthasana (especially cooling after back bends), Supta Baddha Konasana, and twists done gently.   Almost all poses with a Jalandhara Bandha-type chin lock (e.g. Sarvangasana, Halasana, Setubandha, and Viparita Karani) are cooling to the brain and body.   After doing poses in which the chin is in Jalandhara Banda, no more active poses should be done because these are definitely cooling for the body and brain.   Progress from these poses on to Savasana.



5. Generally after a deep forward bend sequence consider doing a few twists to balance and release your spinal muscles.
However, try not to end your practice with a twist due to the asymmetric feel it may leave in your spine.   Follow any twisting at the end of your session with at least one symmetric forward bend like Paschimottanasana to resolve the tension in your spine before relaxing in Savasana.



6. It is especially important to warm-down skillfully from an active back bend session.
Active back bends exert strong work on your body and you need a plan to bring your body back into a neutral mode and then down from there to the point of relaxing in Savasana.   A good pose to begin warming down from active back bends with is Adho Mukha Svanasana with your hands and feet placed wider than you usually have them.   A wide Adho Mukha Svanasana after backbends fills out your back and softens your kidney area.   However, remember to keep your low back relatively convex now in Adho Mukha Svanasana to relax it -- you don't want to accentuate any concave curve there as you might do in this pose under other circumstances -- you are recovering from back bends and you need to respect the work your back has done.   A next good choice for back bend warm down is Adho Mukha Virasana (Child's Pose) done on the support of bolsters or blankets under your torso.   (You could also then use the bolsters or blankets and do a supported Upavistha Konasana or supported Janu Sirsasana).   The important thing is that it is not skillful to move directly into a deep forward bend directly after active back bends.   Try these other poses first.   Then, you might try some gentle Uttanasana (often we do Parsva Uttanasana, moving slowly back and forth from one leg to the other leg) to place some stretch into your low back muscles.   After a backbend session, light, lengthening twists are good, but you should do no deep twisting and do not hold them for a long time.   (Also in twists following back bends, do not arch your spine, because that is what you've been doing all along in the back bends.   Rather draw your abdomen inward and don't concave your low back.)   Other poses that help release your back muscles after back bends are Supta Padangusthasana and Ardha Halasana on bolsters or blankets placed on the seat of a chair.   Ardha Halasana especially will help calm and cool your nervous system after active backbends.   Finally after backbends, regular Savasana is often not the best choice for a final resting pose.   In Savasana after back bends, it is often better for your back to do have your legs (calves) up on a chair or to put a bolster under your knees to allow your low back to release fully onto the floor and be supported by the floor.   If you have a bolster under your knees, still make sure your heels contact the floor (or put them on blocks) to have that contact (Skt. sparsa) or sensory feedback.   After back bends, you might even consider doing prone Savasana, lying on your abdomen instead of your back with your heels pointed out to the sides.

Although, again, there are not strict rules governing the order of asanas within a session, some general principles can be used to allow the asanas to work more effectively together.   

   Much depends upon the specific effect you are trying to get out of your session.   For instance, moving inversions earlier in the sequence would be good when you plan to expend a lot of energy on inversion variations since you have more energy near the beginning of your practice session than toward the end.

In general, the early months of your yoga practice should be devoted primarily, though not exclusively, to the standing poses to build strength and flexibility in the legs, especially the hamstrings, and to open the hip flexors which often limit pelvic mobility.   When you are mature in the standing poses, that is a natural time to begin focusing on the seated forward bends.

Within a standing pose session per se, it is generally good to sequence them in an order such as this:

1. Lateral bends (e.g. Trikonasana, Parsvakonasana)
2. Backbends (e.g. Virabhadrasana I)
3. Twists and rotations (e.g. Parivrtta Trikonasana)
4. Forward bends (e.g. Uttanasana)



It is also appropriate at any point to use Uttanasana between any of the standing poses as a "neutral gear" to assimilate the effect of the previous pose and prepare for the next one in the sequence.   Prasarita Padottanasana is often done at the end of a standing pose sequence because the head is resting downward and the pose is quieting, too much so to sequence this pose in the middle of an active sequence.

It is often fun and challenging to develop standing poses vinyasas in which one pose flows into the next.   Of course, you hold each pose for some duration once you have established it and try to maintain the pose with equanimity before moving on to the next one in the sequence.   You could devise hundreds of such standing pose vinyasas, selecting different poses to emphasize and performing them in different sequences.



Of course, not every session will include every type of asana.   Some sessions may be devoted to a single asana.   In fact, is worthwhile to devote one session per week entirely to restorative poses, or entirely to Viparita Karani.   If you devote a session entirely to standing poses, the ideal time to do that would be in the morning or the daytime, rather than late in the evening, since they are energizing poses.

One good approach to learning asana sequencing is to practice class sequences arranged by knowledgeable teachers.  

Examples of asana sequences can be found in these books:

Yoga The Iyengar Way, Silva, Mira, and Shyam Mehta
Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health, B.K.S. Iyengar
Yoga: A Gem For Women, Geeta Iyengar



Many changes in Mr. Iyengar's sequencing ideas have occurred since the publication of Light on Yoga when the photographs of Mr. Iyengar were taken in his late 50's.   As such, the sequences in Light on Yoga should be viewed more in their historical context, and as advanced, orthodox sequences,

not as examples for daily practice for the typical modern yoga practitioner.



(Our sincere thanks to Brad Priddy for this guide to Sequencing of asana)