Twists and Transitions Yoga Class

After Labor Day, we enter into a time of transition. Students and parents settle in for the school year, the fall season starts to change the colors of the trees and the temperature of the air, and everyone seems to buckle down for a different rhythm of life. The transition from the free and fun summer season to the more regimented and busy fall season can be tough.

In yoga, instructors often theme our classes to what is happening in the world at the present time in the hopes that the message and practice will help students with whatever they are facing off the yoga mat. At this time of year, I like to theme my classes to reflect this transitional time.

This yoga sequence is all about Twists and Transitions. When we twist, we detox the body; but we can also detox the mind. As you hold a twisting posture, I encourage students to release the energies of the previous season to make room for those of the new season; I ask them to make room for change. When we play with difficult transitions, like my crazy tri-pod headstand to side crow transition, I ask students to take the challenge with an open mind and heart in the hopes that when they face difficult transitions off the mat, they can apply that same open outlook.

So here is my Twists and Transitions Sequence for an Intermediate-Advanced Vinyasa Flow Yoga class. This is probably best read by an instructor who has a strong grasp on working out a sequence. However, if you have a strong home practice, feel free to give it a shot! If you’re a fellow instructor, feel free to copy the parts that you like. And of course, I always welcome your feedback as it helps me grow as an instructor! Again, I will say that I am not a yoga guru of any kind, but merely and explorer of yoga who chooses to share my own experiences and knowledge. Namaste.

*Disclaimer: Practice at your own risk.

Twists and Transitions

Formula = Posture Name in English – Posture Name in Sanskrit if I use – (Breath to enter Posture, Number of breaths while holding posture, Special Notes where applicable)

Integration:

  • Child’s Pose- Balasana (several breaths)
  • Table Top – (inhale)
  • Cat & Cow (Flow Cat & Cow, inhale cow, exhale cat)
  • Downward Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana (exhale)
  • Ragdoll (step to top of mat, exhale, 3-5 breaths here)
  • Ragdoll Twist (3 breaths each side)
  • Equal on all sides – Samastitahi (exhale, 3 breaths while setting intention for practice)

Sun A:

  • Mountain Pose – Tadasana (inhale, 3 breaths)
  • Vertical Twists right then left (exhale, 3 breaths on each side)
  • Mountain Pose (inhale, 1 breath)
  • Back Bend – (exhale, 1 breath)
  • Mountain pose (inhale, 1 breath)
  • Forward Fold – Uttanasana (exhale, 1 breath)
  • Halfway Lift – Ardha Uttanasana (inhale, 1 breath)
  • Chaturanga Dandasana (exhale)
  • Upward Facing Dog – Urdva Mukha Svanasana (inhale, 1 breath)
  • Downward Dog (exhale, 1 breath)
  • Gaze to top of mat, play with transition to top of mat – option to step, float, or handstand to the top. Take it at your own pace with grace.
  • Repeat the above 2 times moving breath to movement

Sun B:

*Start with right leg and right side first, then left*

  • Knee to Nose (exhale)
    • Shift forward to high plank
      • Step through low lunge (1 breath transition, really focus on this challenging transition)
    • Low Lunge Twist (inhale, 3 breaths)
    • Rise up into Cresent Lunge Vertical Twist (inhale, difficult transition)
    • Vertical twist (3 breaths)
    • Warrior 2 – Virabhadrasana 2 (inhale, 3 breaths)
    • Extended Side Angle – Utthita Parsvakonasana (exhale, 3 breaths)
    • Reverse Warrior – Viparita Virabhadrasana (inhale, 2-3 breaths)
    • Low Lunge (exhale, 1 breath)
    • Standing Splits (inhale, 3 breaths)
    • Forward Fold (exhale, 1 breath)
    • Halfway Lift (inhale, 1 breath)
    • Forward Fold (exhale, 1 breath)
    • Chair Pose – Utkatasana (inhale, 2 breaths)
    • Vertical Twists in Chair Pose Right then left, (exhale, 1 breath)
    • Chair pose (inhale, 1 breath)
    • Chest Expansion Forward Fold (exhale, 1 breath)
    • Halfway lift (inhale, 1 breath)
    • Chaturanga (exhale)
    • Upward Dog ( inhale)
    • Downward Dog (exhale)
    • Repeat on other side
    • Then repeat entire sequence 2 more times moving breath to movement

Core:

  • Eagle Crunches (inhale down, exhale up, 10 times each side)
  • Leg lowers and lifts (inhale down, exhale up, 10 times)
  • Boat Pose Navasanha Twists (inhales center, exhales twist, 8 times each side)
  • Hold High Plank Dandasana for 10 seconds

Strength Part 1:

*Start with right leg and right side first, then left*

  • Crescent Lunge – Anjaneyasana (inhale, 3-5 breaths)
  • Revolved Crescent Lunge – Parivrtta Anjaneyasana (exhale, 3-5 breaths)
  • Runner’s Lunge (exhale, 3-5 breaths)
  • Side Plank – Vasisthasana ( inhale, 3 breaths, face right side of room first time around then left)
  • Chaturanga (exhale)
  • Upward Dog (inhale)
  • Downward Dog (exhale)
  • Repeat on left side

Strength Part 2:

  • Play with step, hop, or handstand to top of mat, finish with feet together
  • Chair Pose (inhale, 1 breath)
  • Eagle Pose – Garudasana (exhale, 3-5 breaths, right arm under and right leg over the first time around, then do on left later on)
  • Chair Pose (inhale, 1 breath)
  • Prayer Twist – Parivrtta Utkatasana (exhale, 3-5 breaths, facing right side then left later on)
  • Gorilla Pose – Padahastasana (exhale, 3-5 breaths)
  • Repeat on other side with left arm under and left leg over in Eagle pose and prayer twist to the left side)
  • Forward Fold (exhale)
  • Take a seat and have a break

Peak:

  • Tripod Headstand
  • Transition to Side Crow
  • Repeat twice making sure to do both sides of the body in side crow
  • Option to play with one posture or the other, or option to play with both separately without the transition

Break:

  • Child’s pose to recover
  • Meet in Downdog when ready

Hips:

*Right leg then left

  • Half Pigeon – Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (exhale, 1-3 breaths)
  • Sleeping Pigeon (exhale, 10 breaths or a little over a minute
  • Repeat on other side

Spine:

  • Cobra Pose – Bhujangasana (inhale, 3 breaths)
  • Bound Locust Pose (inhale, 3 breaths)
  • Bridge Pose – Setu Bandhasana (inhale, 3 breaths)
  • Reclined Angle Pose – Supta Baddha Konasana (rest, easy breath)

Folds/Rounds:

  • Legs up the wall (inhale, 3-5 breaths)
  • Plow Pose (inhale, 3-5 breaths)
  • Shoulder Stand (inhale, 3-5 breaths)

Finals:

  • Happy Baby Pose – Ananda Balasana (inhale, 3-5 breaths)
  • Supine Twists right side then left (exhale, 3-5 breaths per side)
  • Final Savasana ( exhale, rest for 2-5 minutes)

Namaste!

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