How to Design a 20-Minute Yoga Routine

John Friend offers advice for designing a 20-minute yoga sequence.

grace flowers, extended side angle pose, utthita parsvakonasana

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I am a college student greatly in need of something to take my mind off of school. Can you suggest a 20-minute yoga routine? —Teraissa McGovern, Winona, Minnesota

Read John Friend’s response:

This 20-minute beginning yoga routine will not only help you clear your mind of the stresses of school, but will increase your flexibility, strength, and vibrancy.

When performing this routine, breathe slowly and evenly through yournose.

  • Balasana (Child’s Pose)—one minute to say a prayer or set a spiritual intention for your practice
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)—2 minutes
  • Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)—10 breaths
  • Parsvakonasana (Side Angle Pose)—10 breaths each side
  • Prasarita Padottanasana (Widespread Standing Forward Bend)—10 breaths
  • Vinyasa/Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)—flow slowly from one pose to another
  • Uttanasana—5 breaths
  • Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)—3 breaths
  • Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)—5 breaths
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana—5 breaths
  • Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I Pose)—10 breaths
  • Chaturanga Dandasana—3 breaths
  • Bhujangasana—5 breaths
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana—5 breaths
  • Virabhadrasana I—10 breaths
  • Chaturanga Dandasana—3 breaths
  • Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog Pose)—5 breaths
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana—5 breaths
  • Uttanasana—5 breaths
  • Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)—1 minute
  • Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knee Forward Bend)—1 minute each side
  • Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)—1 minute
  • Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Big Toe Pose)—1 minute each side
  • Child’s Pose—give thanks

You can use the book Yoga: The Iyengar Way as a visual and instructional reference for all of these asanas.

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