Updated: Oct 1, 2019
One of the most satisfying things about developing a home yoga practice is the ability to be able to move in a way that expresses and supports how you are feeling physically and energetically IN THE MOMENT.
In fact, I would say that that is the basis of EVERYTHING yogic – being in the moment.
So when we can develop a practice at home that truly reflects us in the moment – it can feel like a little fountain of pure liquid gold!
Liquid gold… aaaah, yummy.
So how to create creative yoga sequences?
The biggest problem with a home practice is getting to your mat and feeling “stuck” with what to do and how to move – so I’m offering my top three tips for developing a creative yoga sequence at home!
1. To develop a creative yoga sequence you need a good movement “vocabulary” The most foundational thing to creating creative sequences at home is developing a varied “vocabulary” of asanas/poses. In order to be able to move in and out between poses, you need to KNOW some poses. Creative yoga sequencing is a bit like poetry – it’s beautiful, rich and filled with feeling. If we compare our standard yoga poses to “words” – then it’s easy to see that the more “words” we have in our toolbox, the more poses we understand and know, the easier it is to develop rich, colourful and vibrant poetry. So if your stock of available yoga poses is limited to down dog, warrior one and chair then the “poetry” you are able to create is pretty limited. (A bit like asking a 3 year old to write a sonnet!). So the very first step to creative yoga sequences is getting yourself really familiar with a variety of yoga poses. Go to classes, teach yourself, learn how these poses feel in your body, get really familiar with them so that you have an extensive vocabulary that allows you to play with the words to create magic.
2. To develop creative yoga sequences you need to have a good understanding of your own body, how it moves most optimally and what its limitations are. Being able to create creative yoga sequencing means you have to have a very good understanding of how your body moves – if you know your own personal range, strength and limitations – you will more likely be able to move to the edge of those boundaries. Truly knowing your body and how it moves will enable you to explore different options based on the movement vocabulary that you have established. Knowing your body means knowing that your body can take a twist in this direction, that it can take a fold in this direction, it can take the strength and grounding a little bit more in this position, that you can take flight in this position, that you can challenge your balance in this position, that you can shift your gaze in this position – it allows you to get really playful in a safe way.
3. Start by altering the poses or pose vocabulary that you already know and are familiar with There are so many ways we can bring creative sequencing into the poses that we already know – from the tip above let’s break down those options –“twist in this direction, a fold in this direction, strength and grounding, taking flight, challenge your balance, shift your gaze in this position” and apply them to the very basic movement vocabulary of “down dog”, “warrior one” and “chair”. Not all options will be easily applicable to each pose, but that is where knowing your body and it’s limitations really comes into play Down dog – is there a way to create a rotation or a twist? maybe through the balls of the feet or through the upper chest? What would a fold look like – maybe it means walking the feet forward to fold in half?, How can you find more strength here – maybe it means rolling forward to plank, or drawing the knee into the chest? What would taking flight look like from this position – maybe bunny hops or coming towards handstand, maybe the shift in gaze forward draws you towards plank again?
Warrior one – how can you create a twist/rotation here? Maybe the chest twists slightly or maybe the back foot rotates in? What would a fold look like – humble warrior? How could you challenge the balance – maybe it’s bringing the back leg off the ground or lifting up to the balls of the feet? What does shifting the gaze bring you in this posture?
Chair – If you twist here, where does that take you? What does a fold look like from here? How can you create more strength and grounding, maybe its dropping lower or bringing the chest to the thighs? What does “flight” look like for you from here? Maybe it’s hands on the ground and feet up, or maybe its hover one thigh on top of the other? How can you challenge your balance – maybe you come up to the balls of your feet as you dive the chest down – maybe the arms follow behind you? Maybe it’s lifting a foot? How does a gaze shift change this posture for you – what does it lead to? As you can see – even with that very limited vocabulary of three poses – we have created a whole myriad of choices, options and places to explore based on knowing and understanding how your body moves.
If you are interested in creative yoga sequencing then I would definitely encourage you to take the yoga poses that you already know and apply those options to them in an exploration of your body.
Creative yoga sequencing really is about trusting and moving with intuition with a deep knowledge of your own body and it’s capabilities. If something does not feel right, then it is not right for you. If something feels challenging but is open spacious and breath led then it’s an opportunity and an invitation to explore. Important to note: that an invitation is merely that – an INVITATION. When you’re creatively sequencing yoga at home the beauty is that you don’t have to accept the invitation.
You don’t need to go to the party at all –
In which case, Savasana is always ready and waiting for you!
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A LITTLE SOMETHING FOR YOU TO USE TO CREATE YOUR OWN CREATIVE YOGA SEQUENCES!
I’ve spent a long time thinking about how to create a yoga “framework” that allows anyone to move in whichever way they want but being guided by suggestions and open-ended prompts (for those who truly do feel “stuck” when it comes to practicing/creating creative yoga sequences on their own!).
What I ended up with was creating literally a yoga “choose-your-own-adventure” audio guide! (Yes it is as good as it sounds!)
Two people could be using this audio-guide practicing side by side and they may end up with two entirely different practices! And you can use the audio guide again and again….and again! and get a different flow each time!
It really gives you the opportunity to choose the flow depending on your own mood and energy levels.
If you’d like to receive this audio guide and play with it at home – feel free to sign up to the 7 day self discovery series! (Note: the choose-your-own-adventure yoga flow will be shared a few days into the series as it guides you through inspiration to move your body, soul search and get creative!)
For more about Yoga and Creativity, go to https://chedyer.com/ and follow her on instagram @indieyogalife