While we were having dinner with a couple of good friends last week, the guy mentioned that he had just started practicing yoga poses again, after a long break (many years I think). He was browsing through Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar and noticed that the Appendix included yoga practice courses for beginning, intermediate, and advanced yoga students. In these courses, B.K.S. Iyengar lists sequences of poses for practicing each week. Our friend is starting at Week 1 of the Beginning Course and plans to proceed at his own pace through the recommended sequences of poses week by week.
What a simple but effective plan for practicing yoga!
Students often ask me if they should practice yoga poses between classes (yes, please do!), and if so, what should they practice. I usually tell them that they could do what they remember from class each week. They'll learn and remember more as time goes by. In general, doing the standing poses, downward facing dog pose, a twist or two, and the inversions that they're comfortable with will give them a good solid base for their home yoga practice.
I've talked about the benefits of practicing in between yoga classes and given tips for practicing in The Importance of a Yoga Home Practice. You can refer back to that for ideas on how to develop your own home practice. You'll also find a link there to Yoga Practice Sequences to get you started.
Also read Seven Basic Yoga Standing Poses to familiarize yourself with these important yoga postures. This includes embedded YouTube videos of Senior Iyengar Yoga teacher, John Schumacher, giving good, clear instructions while demonstrating these seven yoga standing poses.
For more variety in your practice, look through your yoga books for inspiration. Many of my favorite Iyengar Yoga books included practice sequences for different experience levels. Some of these sequences are for general practices, and some sequences are used for specific health purposes. Following these sequences and referring back to the instructions in the books are a great way to familiarize yourself with the yoga poses.
DVDs are fine as well, but I personally get more out of studying the pictures and instructions in a book to more fully understand the yoga poses that I'm practicing.
Below are three of my favorite Iyengar Yoga books that also include practice sequences for different levels of students (at the back of the book). You may be able to find copies in the library, and many bookstores will carry them. Amazon.com, of course, has them.....