Posted by: eveyoga | August 15, 2010

Yoga Practice Cycles

A yoga teacher trainee whom I was working with asked a smart question: What should I practice when?

If you do the same sequence of poses every single day, as in Astanga Vinyasa Yoga, it’s not a problem. However, what do you do if your practices are more flexible?

Well, it depends on quite a lot of factors – season, age, menstruation, pregnancy, menopause (male or female), time of day, day of the week, etc.

To help my trainee, I sat down and worked out the attached scheme. It covers every possibility I could think of, but please let me know if you think of others. These cycles work well for teachers as a structure for hanging your one-to-one sessions or group classes on, too.

Seven Day Cycles


Monday: Standing poses & salutes

Tuesday: Forward stretches & twists

Wednesday: Backbends

Thursday: Salutes to the sun & standing poses

Friday: Hips & abdominals

Saturday: Restorative/Menstrual

Sunday: Inversions & Misc.


Every day do sirsasana, sarvangasana & variations

Monday: Standing poses, forward stretches & simple backbends

Tuesday: Supta padangusthasana cycle & arm balancings

Wednesday: Ekapada sirsasana cycle, twists, & padmasana cycle

Thursday: Preparation for backbends, advanced backbends & supta padangusthasana cycle

Friday: Supta padangusthasana cycle, arm balancings, & twists

Saturday: Forward stretches – long timings

Sunday: Hips & misc.

Monthly Cycles


Week 1: Standing poses

Week 2: Forward Stretches

Week 3: Backbends & twists

Week 4: Inversions & pranayama

II. Lunar

Full moon: Backbends & twists

Waning: Forward stretches

New Moon: Inversions & pranayama

Waxing: Standing poses

Age Cycles:

Young – varied poses, short timings

Adolescent – Salutes to the sun & standing poses

Middle years – all poses, increasing timings

Old – Fewer poses, more pranayama & meditation

Woman’s cycles

Menstruation: Menstrual sequence

Prenatal/Postnal: Poses appropriate to trimesters, savasana

Menopause: Inversions, forward stretches, backbends, twists, pelvic floor exercises, savasana, pranayama & meditation

Diurnal/Nocturnal Cycle

Morning: dynamic, energising poses

Evening: inversions, savasana, pranayama

Seasonal Cycles

Winter: Dynamic poses to warm the body

Spring: Twists to cleanse internal organs

Summer: Passive backbends, cooling, restorative practice

Autumn: In wet weather, abdominal strenthening poses



  1. Hi Eve,
    Thank you for today’s blog, perfect timing. We have just begun the sequencing for classes to teach in our Teacher Training course at Qi today. I have sent the blog to the whole class. Hope you are feeling better.
    Love Tania

    • At your service, Tania. All we ask for is credit 😉
      If you read it and it doesn’t make sense, ask away!

  2. That’s a good list. I’ll pass it on to Donna. I notice in Light On Yoga, that BKS likes to start pretty well every session with extended headstand and shoulderstand. Which made me wonder: did he ever change his mind about or revise the courses at the back of his book? And also what your thoughts are on doing THAT MUCH sirsasana and sarvangasana?

    • OMG!
      How old is Light on Yoga? Fifty years or more? The practices are out-of-date. The current bible in the Iyengar church is Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health (my opinion). If you and Donna don’t have it, lash out. It has general sequences arranged as a progressive course, and sequences for what ails you. There are other modern yoga books with good sequences, my fave – Awakening the Inner Body by Donald Moyer, for instance. Long headstand and shoulderstand used to be in fashion, and maybe the King still does them like that, but I do 6 – 8 minutes each of them, and 3 – 4 min. in halasana.
      How’s your neck? XO Eve

      • Sorry, 6-8 minutes? That is about 3-5 minutes longer than me! Especially in headstand. No, the neck is fine, but I’ve ordered the Holistic Health Path book from the library and I’ll have a good squizz and probably buy. I do have Moyer on your recommendation as well – I think he’s great except the last chapter/sequence which I think is a bit dodgy. I also remember Liz Bird in her intermediate class delving into some forgotten corners of Light On Yoga for interesting sequences – and the rumour that Shandor started yoga by working his way through Iyengar’s classes by himself.

      • Hi John,
        I stumbled on this comment you made last year. I must have overlooked it. Holistic Health book is very cool for its therapy practices. How are you going in your yoga practice these days?
        Enjoying your skills in WWF’s.
        XO Eve

  3. Wonderful, Eve. Thank you! Heaps of love and a heart hug,
    PS Have just completed facilitating another Magic of Allowing weekend – it was beautiful. Two men participated in the group this time – gorgeous handsome hunks of real men, too . it is an honour to be present when men allow vulnerability. Out of vulnerability comes strength and freedom and power.

    • I’m very proud of you, Kate…the way you make a difference on the Planet!
      I agree completely with vulnerability = power.

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Daniel Weinstein, Eve Grzybowski. Eve Grzybowski said: Yoga Practice Cycles: […]

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