Intermediate Yoga Sequences

30-Minute Beginner Sequence to Reset Your Perspective on Life

For beginning yogis embarking on the journey of yoga asana, this sequence will help you take baby steps into the beautiful world of this ancient practice.

Warm-up: Sit cross-legged with your hips propped on a blanket or block, if that feels most comfortable. Allow your eyes to close, and find your breath. Stay here for five or so minutes, until you begin to feel ease in your breath.

Knees-to-Chest Pose

grace flowers, knees to chest pose, apanasana

Apanasana 

1 minute, 8-10 breaths

Lie on your back and draw both knees toward your chest. You may hold onto your shins, forearms, or hands. Gently rock side to side, massaging your back body and lower back. Play with gently curling your pubic bone toward your navel and then down toward your mat to release and lengthen your lower back.

See also Ease Low Back Pain: 3 Subtle Ways To Stabilize the Sacrum

Supine Twist, variation

grace flowers, supine twist double knee variation, supta matsyendrasana

Supta Matsyendrasana

2 minutes, 8-10 breaths each side

Keep your knees drawn into your chest. Take your arms out to your sides in a T shape, palms up or down. Ground both shoulder blades down into your mat as you inhale deeply. As you exhale, drop both knees to the right, stacking them atop one another. Take 4–5 breaths and repeat on the other side.

See also Ask the Expert: Do Twists Really Wring Out Toxins?

Cat-Cow Pose

grace flowers, cat-cow poses, bitiliasana, marjaryasana

Marjaryasana/Bitilasana

1 minute, 8-10 breaths

Come to your hands and knees, aligning your shoulders over your wrists, and your hips over your knees. On an inhale, arch your spine, moving your heart forward and up; let your gaze follow. On an exhale, round your spine, pushing the floor away with both hands, gently lifting your navel toward your spine and letting your gaze follow. Repeat 4–5 times, or more if you like.

See also Add Cat Pose and Cow Pose to a Gentle Vinyasa Flow

Cat-Cow Pose, variation

grace flowers, knee to opposite elbow pose

2 minutes, 16-20 breaths

Still on all fours, gently lift your navel to your spine to engage your abdominal muscles. Inhale and extend your right arm forward and your left leg straight behind you, keeping the inner left thigh rolling skyward. Exhale to bring your right elbow and left knee toward each other, rounding your spine and bringing your chin in toward your chest. Inhale and reach your right arm forward and left leg back. Do this 4–5 times on each side.

See also Core Yoga: A Vinyasa Flow to Target + Strengthen Your Abs

Child’s Pose, variation

grace flowers, child's pose with block assist, balasana

Balasana

2 minutes, 16-20 breaths

Touch your big toes together, let your knees slide a little farther apart, and ease your hips back over your heels with your arms extended. Give yourself a bit more space here by placing a block or blanket under your forehead. Close your eyes and breathe deeply.

See also Find Comfort in Child’s Pose

Downward-Facing Dog Pose 

grace flowers, downward facing dog pose, adho mukha svasana

Adho Mukha Svanasana

1 minute, 8-10 breaths

From Child’s Pose, inhale to all fours; as you exhale, curl your toes under to lift back into Downward Dog. If you are new to this pose, bend both knees deeply and work on keeping your hips lifted while pushing the floor away evenly through both palms. Breathe deeply as you hold for 4–5 breaths.

See also Find Proper Arm Alignment in Downward Facing Dog

Standing Forward Bend 

grace flowers, ragdoll pose, uttanasana

Uttanasana

1 minute, 8-10 breaths

Step one foot at a time to the top of your mat and separate your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees, hinge forward from your hips, and grasp opposite elbows. Take 4–5 deep breaths, then exhale and release your arms. If your shoulders are healthy, reach behind your back to interlace your fingers and clasp your palms together. Release the crown of your head down toward the earth as you breathe deeply for 4–5 breaths.

See also Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana) with Yoga Blocks

Mountain Pose, with Salutation Seal

grace flowers, mountain pose, tadasana

Tadasana (with Anjali Mudra)

1 minute, 8-10 breaths

With your feet together or hip-width apart, inhale and reach your arms skyward, externally rotating your upper arms as you stretch tall. On an exhale, bring your hands to your heart center in Anjali (heart) Mudra, with your palms together. Take a moment to stand here with your eyes closed and shoulders relaxed, breathing deeply for 4–5 breaths or until you feel grounded and centered.

See also Mom-asana: Achieving Santosha, or Contentment

Garland Pose

grace flowers, yogi squat pose with blanket assist, malasana

Malasana

2 minutes, 8-10 breaths

With your feet slightly more than hip-width apart, squat, keeping your feet firmly planted on your mat or a blanket (if your heels lift). Snuggle your upper arms against your inner thighs and hug your inner thighs into the backs of your arms, with your hands in Anjali Mudra. Inhale your heart up toward the sky and breathe deeply for 1 minute. If this posture feels challenging, it helps to externally rotate your thighs. You will notice your feet and knees turn out on a diagonal to give you more space.

See also 7 Steps To Master Garland Pose (Malasana)

Chair Pose

grace flowers, chair pose with block assist, uktasana

Utkatasana

1 minute, 8-10 breaths

From Mountain Pose, place a block between your upper thighs. With your feet parallel and toes pointing forward, squeeze the block and bend your knees deeply, reaching the buttocks back as if you were about to sit. Draw your shinbones back so your knees hover over your ankles, and continue to squeeze the block. Breathe deeply for 30 seconds, then stand to rest in Tadasana. Repeat 1–2 more times.

See also Chair Pose: Adjust Utkatasana for Better Alignment

Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend

grace flowers, wide-legged forward fold, prasarita paddottanasana

Prasarita Padottanasana

1 minute, 8-10 breaths

Turn to face the long-edge side of your mat and step your feet wide, outer edges of your feet parallel with your mat’s short-edge sides. Bring your hands to your hips. Inhale and lift your chest; as you exhale, hinge from your hips and fold forward, bringing your hands to the floor or to blocks. Breathe deeply for 30 seconds, then inhale to return to standing. Repeat 1–2 more times.

See also Watch + Learn: Wide-Legged Forward Bend

Warrior Pose II 

grace flowers, warrior 2 pose, virahabdrasana 2

Virabhadrasana II

2 minutes, 16-20 breaths

Facing the long-edge side of your mat, extend your arms out to the sides, palms down. Step your feet wide, about the span between your wrists, with the outer edges of your feet parallel with your mat. Turn your right toes to the short-edge side of the mat and your left toes in slightly. Inhale to lift your chest; as you exhale, bend your right knee, tracking it over your ankle. Push into the outer edge of the back foot to find stability as you try to distribute your weight evenly through both feet. Breathe here for 4–5 breaths, then change sides.

See also Kathryn Budig’s Dancing Warrior Moving Meditation

Extended Side Angle Pose 

grace flowers, extended side angle pose, utthita parsvakonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana

1 minute, 8-10 breaths

From Warrior II, inhale; as you exhale, extend your left arm toward the sky. On the next inhale, reach the arm overhead, palm facing the floor. Lightly rest your right forearm on your right thigh, or reach your right hand down to a block behind your right ankle. Keep your chest open and spacious, your collarbones spreading. Stay here for 4–5 breaths, then change sides.

See also Watch + Learn: Extended Side Angle Pose

Extended Triangle Pose 

grace flowers, triangle pose with block assist, trikonasana

Utthita Trikonasana

1 minute, 8-10 breaths

From Extended Side Angle Pose, inhale to come back up and straighten the front leg. As you exhale, hinge from your right hip and reach your right fingertips forward, in the same direction as your right toes. Bring your right hand to a block behind your right ankle as you reach your left arm skyward. Internally rotate your inner left thigh, ground firmly through the base of your front big toe, and hug your right hip in toward the midline of your body. Slightly lift the front side of your pelvis. Hold for 4–5 breaths, then change sides.

See also Modifications for Triangle Pose if You Have Tight Hamstrings

Tree Pose 

grace flowers, tree pose, vrksasana

Vrksasana

1 minute, 8-10 breaths

Stand at the top of your mat, feet together. Shift your balance to the left foot and leg. Hug your right knee in toward your chest with your hands, then place the sole of your right foot against your inner left thigh—either above or below the left knee. Bring your hands to your heart. Work on dropping the right hip down and pressing your pinky toe into your leg, which will help you find balance in your pelvis. If you feel steady, consider reaching both arms skyward. Take 4–5 long, deep breaths, keeping your heart lifted, then change sides.

See also Tree Pose (Vrksasana): Instructions + Arm Modifications

Eye-of-the-Needle Pose

grace flowers, reclined figure four pose,

Sucirandhrasana

1 minute, 8-10 breaths

Lie on your back and cross your right ankle over the top of your left knee. Lift your left leg as you flex your right foot, and reach through to hold the back of your left thigh with both hands. Inhale as you draw the left thigh closer to your chest while keeping your pubic bone curling down toward your tailbone. Exhale, relaxing your shoulders and neck, finding broadness across your chest. Breathe here for 4–5 breaths, then change sides.

See also 9 Yoga Poses to Keep Athletes Injury-Free

Our Pro

grace flowers, tree pose, vrksasana

Los Angeles–based teacher and model Grace Flowers started her practice 15 years ago. A student of Annie Carpenter, Maty Ezraty, Erich Schiffmann, Shiva Rea, Saul David Raye, and numerous others, Grace has a unique teaching style that encourages artistic exploration in her students. Learn more at graceflowersyoga.com.