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Pranayama sequence for experienced students

A few restorative postures followed mainly by seated pranayama.



This session is a little shorter than usual, where we take time to settle into a few quiet postures to prepare for pranayama. It is a simple sequence and a simple pranayama class, which means we can observe ourselves more closely to reduce unwanted tensions and imbalances.

Start in Supta Baddha Konasana with a bolster or blankets. Take 4-5 minutes to just watch where your mind is, your normal breath, and how observant you are at this stage. Bring your attention to the chest, and notice how lifted and open the sides of the chest and central rib cage are.

Simple cross-legs forward, focussing on spreading the area from the neck to the shoulders, reducing tension in the trapezius and head area.

Uttanasana with feet as wide as the mat, to create stability and steadiness as you release the spine and side chest downwards.

Adho Mukha Svanasana, repeated twice and holding for a little longer, observing the legs, the arms and the length in the spine. Notice how the breath starts to slow down.

Now go to Prasarita Padottanasana, with the crown of the head resting on the floor or a folded blanket, according to your access in the pose. Keep the legs straight as you extend the trunk towards the floor. With the head supported, the mind becomes more still and our nerves continue to quieten.

Cross bolsters, set up as for Viparita Dandasana. Take extra height if you have enough equipment to get a fuller opening in the chest. As a minimum, set up folded blankets under the lengthways bolster, feet to the wall. If you have two bolsters or extra blankets, use them here.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, over a bolster plus two blankets to get space in the armpit chest and top torso. This pose also facilitates the spreading of the diaphragm, a good preparation for pranayama.

Savasana, lying over two half-folded blankets with an extra blanket for the head. Today we have positioned the support to start from just below the shoulder blade tips, in order to open the back of the sternum and the front “eyes of the chest.”
Start to observe your normal breath, and let it gradually deepen and become more conscious.

Set up for sitting in simple cross-legs, with a folded blanket or two under the buttocks, and a half-folded blanket over the thighs to rest the back of the hands on. This helps to keep the shoulders and neck soft, whilst holding the length in the spine.

Start in Ujjayi, first with a deeper exhalation and then add a deeper inhalation. Watch how the eyes tend to tense during inhalation. Keep the face, the facial skin, and muscles soft even as you inhale. That will create your restraint and can help us find inner quietness throughout the pranayama breaths.

After some cycles, bring the head up and change the cross leg.
Now you will be doing a deeper inhalation and Viloma exhalation, exhaling in stages.
After some cycles, change over to Viloma inhalation, three or four cycles, keeping the eyes soft and the skin of the face descending towards the mouth.

Lie out for Savasana, and observe that the breath is often quite slow and steady. This allows the nerves to settle and can create a quieter, internal experience in the pose.

View sequence

Supta Baddhakonasana
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Join your feet together, your heels pressed to your pelvis. Lie back over a bolster or other form of support. Relax and let your chest open. If necessary, use a strap to hold your feet in place.
Adho Mukha Sukhasana Simple Cross Legs Forward
Simple Cross Legs Forward
Sit with your legs crossed. Keep your sit-bones pointing downward as you fold forward over your legs to capacity, lengthening your spine.
Standing Forward Bend
Starting in Tadasana, exhale and reach down towards your feet. Let your spine release downwards. You can bend your knees or place your hands on blocks if you lack the necessary flexibility.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Press evenly into your hands and feet. The main aim is to elongate the back of your body and lift your hips up as high off the ground as possible without losing the stable foundation created by your hands and feet. If you lack the hamstring flexibility, bend your knees a little.
Virasana Forward into Adho Mukha Svanasana
Forward Facing Hero Pose into Downward Facing Dog Pose
Back and forward transition from Virasana Forward to Adho Mukha Svanasana. Change poses on the breath, attempt to go deeper into each pose with every repetition.
Prasarita Padottanasana (Head Down)
Wide-Legged Forward Bend
Plant your feet as wide apart as you can. Place your hands on the floor and lengthen forward through your spine. Once you have achieved the concave spine, start to walk your hands backward to capacity, aiming to lengthen and release your spine as evenly as possible.
Mountain Pose
Stand up tall and straight, place your feet close together, with your heels and big toes touching. Imagine as if you are standing with your back against the wall. Extend your whole body from the heels up through the crown of your head.
Supported Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Supported Bridge Pose
Lie down over support placed under the whole of your body from the thoracic spine down to your knees. The shoulders swoop down to touch the floor. Spread your arms outward or slightly at your side. Activate your feet and press them into the wall.
Supta Swastikasana
Simple Cross Legs Lying Back
Cross your legs and lie back over support or straight onto your mat.
Adho Mukha Sukhasana Simple Cross Legs Forward
Simple Cross Legs Forward
Sit with your legs crossed. Keep your sit-bones pointing downward as you fold forward over your legs to capacity, lengthening your spine.
Lying Back Over Bricks Step 3
Place support under your upper body, buttocks, and thighs. Lie down and breathe.
Pranayama sequence for experienced students
Cross Pose
Cross your legs and sit upright, extending upward through the crown of your head.
Corpse Pose
Lie down on the floor. Spread your arms and legs slightly at your side. Relax and concentrate on your breath.