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Tag Archives: 30-minute sequence

Essential Sequence: Winning in Warrior III

WHY THIS SEQUENCE WORKS

I spent my first two years of yoga avoiding Warrior III. Then, I spent another year avoiding it. Finally, after avoiding it for an additional 15 years, I’ve made it a mainstay of my practice. What can I say? I guess it takes me a while to warm up to things that expose my weaknesses, knock me off balance, and frustrate my ego. I have to admit, I actually like it now.

Part of the reason I avoided the pose was that I didn’t feel that I should struggle with it nearly as much as I was. The degree of difficultly that I experienced didn’t seem commensurate with the challenge of the pose. After all, standing postures like Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, arm balances like Eka Pada Galavasana, and balancing in inversions like Forearm Balance and Handstand weren’t very difficult for me. But, three seconds into Warrior III and I would topple over.

Now that I’m no longer avoiding the pose, I’ve figured out a few things that make it much more accessible and effective. Go figure, now that I’m not avoiding something, I’m actually learning about it—shocker. What incredible insights yoga teachers have, right?

Here are the things that I’m focusing on in the pose:

1) Strongly rooting down through the base of the big toe.
2) Strongly adducting both thighs toward each other like I’m squeezing a block.
3) Engaging the spinal muscles and hamstrings (of the top leg) like I’m doing Locust Pose.
4) Firmly pressing my hands together in Anjali Mudra for a few breaths to help me feel the midline of my body before reaching my arms forward.
5) Holding my breath, thinking about the future, judging myself, and assigning blame to others.

Here’s a quick sequence to help you build up to Warrior III. I’ve been enjoying this sequence quite a bit lately.

POSES 1-2

Simple, straightforward reclined Hamstring and Adductor lengthening to prepare for the upcoming demands of Warrior III.

POSES 3-4

Paripurna Navasana and Ardha Navasana pair perfectly to strengthen your core. Bringing your attention to your center early in this sequence will help you keep your attention focused on your midline when you get the wobbles in Warrior III later.

POSES 5-6

These two poses help you transition from the reclined and seated postures to the upcoming standing postures.

POSES 7-9

This is a progression of standing balances with the legs abducted and externally rotated. These postures will get you tuned in to standing balances and they’re typically easier than the upcoming standing balances.

POSES 10-12

These three postures shift the orientation of the legs and hips into the same orientation as the upcoming Warrior III.

POSES 13-15

Parsvottanasana gives you one more opportunity to prepare your hamstrings for Warrior III. Many teachers transition into Warrior III from Warrior I. I prefer transitioning into Warrior III from a high lunge. I think it makes more sense for the hips. Check it out and see what you think.

Want to practice this sequence at home? When you sign up for our newsletter we’ll send you a free printer-friendly PDF of the sequence!

AND, if you want to feel more confident and knowledgeable about your sequencing skills, check out my e-course, The Art of Yoga Sequencing. It’s great for yoga teachers and students who want to better understand how the body works and how to stretch and strengthen effectively.

{illustration by MCKIBILLO}

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30-Minute Morning Sequence

30 Minute Morning Yoga Sequence | Jason Crandell Vinyasa Yoga Method

Practicing first thing in the morning has never been easy for me. But, I’ve adapted to the early hours by creating a simple, brief sequence that slowly eases my body open. It’s illustrated above. In fact, doing a mellow practice in the morning is something I’ve started looking forward to—and, yes, I usually savor a cup of coffee prior to the first pose, or along with the sequence. Call the yoga police if you must. If I want to do a more demanding practice—which I usually save for the afternoon—I can easily use the sequence above as template. Once I get my body moving and generate some momentum, I can insert more challenging postures or include some demanding standing pose combinations.

This sequence is simple, balanced, and brief since it’s designed to help you be consistent with your practice in the new year. You’ll start in Child’s Pose to release tension in your back before transitioning into a simple twist and forward bend. I start 99% of my home practices this way.

You will pick up intensity once you get into Down Dog and do both sides of Lunging Quad Stretch. Linger over these poses as long as you like. While you’re doing these postures, establish a long, slow breathing cadence. From there, you can insert any style of Sun Salutation you want to practice at this phase of the sequence. Do between 3-10 rounds. (Check out this infographic for Sun Salutation A and Sun Salutation B, if you need more info about Sun Salutations.)

Poses 7-10 are a straightforward combination of standing poses that will strengthen your legs, open your hips, and condition your entire body. If you want to include additional standing poses or sneak a few arm balances into your sequence, this is where they should go.

The sequence concludes with a mild backbend, a neutral posture, and seated meditation. You’re welcome to intensify your backbends by including Bow Pose (Dhanurasana) or Upward Bow aka Wheel Pose. (You can go here for a tutorial on Upward Bow.

And if you sign up for our newsletter, we’ll send you a free downloadable PDF of the sequence above. Make sure to print it out and get as many coffee marks on it as want. Enjoy.

6 TIPS FOR LAUNCHING A SUCCESSFUL HOME YOGA PRACTICE IN THE NEW YEAR!

The most important thing about practicing this time of year is to be consistent about getting on your mat. Sequence, duration, and intensity matter less than the habit of practicing. In my experience, students who fail to launch a consistent home practice do so for three reasons:

1. Their expectations and practice are overly ambitious given their time constraints and competing demands.

2. They try to do too many postures and make their practice overly intense.

3. They expect their home practice to feel the exact same as their favorite yoga class. When home practice doesn’t feel the exact same, they throw in the towel.

If your resolution for the New Year is to practice more consistently at home, try avoiding these pitfalls and including the following three keys to success for launching a home practice:

4. Focus on postures you love. Practice them frequently and shamelessly.

5. Focus on brief, sustainable practices that you look forward to returning to time and time again.

6. Once you’ve established a consistent home practice, scale up your intensity and focus on postures that are challenging for you.

{illustrations by MCKIBILLO}

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16-Pose Sequence to Help You Progress in Compass Pose

16 Poses to Help You Progress in Compass Pose | Jason Crandell Yoga Method

Before we get to the post, a quick, shameless plug for my upcoming trainings. You can join me live at my 500-Hour Yoga Teacher Training in San Francisco, London, or Hong Kong. I also have three separate online teacher trainings, focusing on arm balances & inversions, sequencing, or anatomy.

I hear more sweet sighs of relief when I teach sequences that focus on side-bends than any other posture category. Side-bending in poses like Compass releases tension in the lats, obliques, and QLs, leaving students in a momentary state of suspension where everything feels better than it did a moment ago.

Compass Pose is a deep side bend that differs from its close relatives, Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana and Parivrtta Upavistha Konasana (poses 14 & 15): The upright, regal nature of the pose requires you to engage your core and spinal muscles. Instead of using gravity and laying your torso down into the pose, you have to work a little harder to lift up and lengthen your spine.

To meet these increased demands, this 16-pose sequence will:
1) Open your hamstrings and adductors.
2) Bring your awareness to your core and spinal muscles.
3) Stretch your side-body, including your lats, obliques, and quadratus lumborum muscles.

Here’s a closer look at the logic of my Compass Pose sequence.

Poses 1-3

: These three versions of Down Dog will help you settle into your practice and begin opening your body for Compass pose. The one-legged variation of Down Dog will accentuate the stretch in your bottom leg, while the one-legged variation with the twist will provide your first side-bend of the sequence. Feel free to lean back—almost like you’re going to “flip your dog”—and indulge the stretch in your side-body. Stay for as many breaths in these 3 poses as you like.

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Peak Pose Sequence: Tittibhasana (Firefly Pose)

Tittibhasana (Firefly Pose) Yoga Sequence | Jason Crandell Vinyasa Yoga Method | JasonYoga.com

Before we get to the post, a quick, shameless plug for my upcoming trainings. You can join me live at my 500-Hour Yoga Teacher Training in San Francisco, London, or Hong Kong. I also have three separate online teacher trainings, focusing on arm balances & inversions, sequencing, or anatomy.

In my 500-hour Teacher-Training Programs I have my students compare Bakasana and Titthibhasana, or Firefly Pose, with the aim of learning how to create effective sequences for each of these postures.

When the trainees look at the two poses side-by-side, they see something they usually haven’t noticed before: Bakasana and Tittibhasana (Firefly Pose) are nearly the exact same pose. However, the one major difference between the two postures has significant sequencing implications. We’ll get to the yoga sequencing implications in a moment. But first, let’s look at the similarities between the two poses. Take a moment to compare Bakasana and Tittibhasana (Firefly Pose) below.

titthibasana va bakasana images | Jason Crandell Vinyasa Yoga Method
Bakasana and Titthibhasana share the following similarities:

1. Both poses flex the spine.

2. Both poses broaden the scapulae while strongly engaging the serratus anterior.

3. Both poses require strong core engagement, most significantly the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominus, and the illio-psoas.

4. The shoulder joint (or gleno-humeral joint for you fact-checkers out there) is at approximately 90 degrees of flexion in both poses.

5. Both poses strongly flex the hip joints and require the adductors (inner thigh muscles) to engage to prevent the legs from sliding down the arms.

In simple terms, the arms, shoulders, shoulder blades, spine, core, and hips are doing the same thing in Bakasana and Tittibhasana.

The one significant difference between the two poses is that the legs are bent in Bakasana and they’re straight in Tittibhasana. That’s all folks.

But—and this is a big BUT—straightening the legs has far-reaching implications that makes sequencing for Tittibhasana different than sequencing for Bakasana. When you straighten your knees in Tittibhasana (Firefly Pose) you:

1. Stretch your hamstrings. The hamstrings are contracting in Bakasana, but they’re stretching in Tittibhasana. This means your students need plenty of hamstring preparations in the sequence that you create.

2. Stretch and contract your adductor muscles. Tittibhasana requires you to stretch the adductors since the legs open at a slight angle when you straighten the knees in this pose. At the same time, the pose requires you to engage your adductors so that your legs don’t slide down your arms. To facilitate this, your sequencing needs to include both adductor opening and strengthening.

3. Engage your core (even more). If your hamstrings and adductors are the least bit tight, they will pull the weight of your body down as soon as you start straightening your legs. To counteract this downward pull, you have to fire up your core and create even greater lift than you do in Bakasana.

4. Engage your quads: Engaging your quads straightens your knees in Tittibhasana (Firefly Pose). Your quads also work with your core to flex your hips and support the weight of your pelvis. Your sequence and your verbal cueing should include postures that help your students tune into these muscles so they know how to engage them once it’s time for Tittibhasana.

Practice the 16-pose sequence above and notice how all of these layers are incorporated. Let me know how it goes in the comment section below!

See also Essential Sequence: Bakasana 

When you understand the nuances of postures like Bakasana and Tittibhasana, you can help demystify these poses for your students. Even more, you can create logical, effective sequences that keep your classes fresh and help your students do more than they ever thought they could.

Developing effective sequencing for all levels, including more advanced postures like these arm balances is one of the pillars of my Teacher Training Programs.  I offer my 500-hour Advanced Certification in San Francisco, London, and Hong Kong. If you want to deepen your practice, advance your teaching, and learn to create more effective sequencing, please join me!

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{illustrations by MCKIBILLO}

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Peak Pose Sequence: Build Your Vasisthasana (Side Plank)

Before we get to the post, a quick, shameless plug for my upcoming trainings. You can join me live at my 500-Hour Yoga Teacher Training in San Francisco, London, or Hong Kong. I also have three separate online teacher trainings, focusing on arm balances & inversions, sequencing, or anatomy.

Vasisthasana | Side Plank Yoga | Jason Crandell Yoga Method
In order to prepare your body for Vasisthasana, you need to open your hamstrings, adductors (inner leg muscles) and outer-hips. It’s also a good idea to awaken your core and learn how to work your shoulders safely in the posture.

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to the peak pose sequence above:

Poses 1-2: Honestly, I love to start practice on my back—especially when I’m going to tackle demanding postures later on. Supta Padangusthasana is the perfect way to settle in, slow down, and open the hamstrings and adductors.

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