Written by Jon Dyer.
One of the things I love doing is creating my own yoga routines. Yes, I still follow routines I've learned from classes, books and DVDs; however, now that I know quite a few poses, I enjoy putting them together myself.
Principles of designing your own yoga routines
There are many theories in yoga routine design; I'll tell you what I do. Generally, I either go with a specific routine purpose in mind or put together a routine that hits all the main positions.
A specific purpose routine might be one where I focus on my hip flexors (which are routinely stiff), shoulders or another part of my body. Another specific purpose routine might be one where I want to relax. In this instance I'll include simpler poses and hold them longer. Essentially, it's my DIY yin yoga routine. And then there are routines I create that focus on strength and intensity. In this situation I'll create a fast-moving flow routine incorporating plenty of sun salutations and strength poses. Usually once a week I'll do a routine that includes quite a bit of core work. It's not all core, but enough to give my mid-section a run for its money.
In a general routine I incorporate the following:
My closing sequence:
I end my routines almost always the same. Old habits die hard, as they say. In this case, I tend to wrap up almost all of my yoga routines with a gentle procession of poses that include the following:
If you're new to yoga, continue following established routines.
However, it won't take you long until you start experimenting with mixing up the order and postures. Eventually, one day you'll end up doing your own yoga routine. It's rather freeing and a lot of fun. Of course continue learning and expanding your posture knowledge by reading and watching other routines. Attending yoga classes is also excellent for expanding your yoga knowledge (as long as it's a high-quality studio).
What about only following books, DVDs and online yoga routines?
There's no rule that stipulates you must get to the point where you come up with your own routines. I do it because I enjoy it the creativity of it. It's creative because I plan it and do it. However, there are so many books, DVDs and online routines that you could do a new routine at home every day for years.
Should I do different routines or do the same routine?
Again, there are no rules. when I started, I followed the same routine for a long time with the only exception that variations were introduced in the book as well as more poses added throughout the weeks and months. This formed an excellent foundation. If you prefer the solace and comfort of doing only one or a few routines over and over, that too is a fine approach to yoga. Some styles of yoga are very routine based while other styles incorporate variations. It boils down to your preferences. At the end of the day have fun with yoga because that's what it should be.
Jon Dyer is a contributor to YogaBaron.com.