Yoga Sequencing Tip: Home Base Pose

I learned about using a “home base pose” in sequencing from Schyuler Grant in her Art of Teaching Kula Style Yoga training, which I highly recommend. It’s pretty simple, but can profoundly shift your teaching by lending a LOT of creativity and exploration to your sequencing, while still being smart. (Because I’m not a fan of fancy sequencing that doesn’t make any sense. More on this in another post).

A Home Base Pose is a symmetrical, midline pose to which you keep returning with each round of the flow.

In the Vinyasa practice, we often use Tadasana (Mountain Pose) as the home base pose. Downward Facing Dog is also a common home base pose. It’s where the beginning of the flow starts and ends up. Sukhasana (Easy Seat) and Child’s Pose could be other common home base poses.

But could we think outside the box? Remember, we want a symmetrical pose, so think about poses that are centered and even.

How about these?

  • Tabletop (Hands and Knees)
  • Vadrasana (Sitting on Heels)
  • Dandasana (Staff Pose)
  • Sphinx (lying on belly)
  • Navasana (Boat Pose)
  • Malasana (Yogic Squat)
  • Supta Tadasana (lying on back)
  • Bridge Pose
  • Handstand (haha…)

You can really get creative when you challenge yourself to start the main part of your flow in one of these less common home base poses. Where will you go from there? How will you get back to where you started? WHY is it your home base pose for this practice?

Try this: roll out your mat, pick one of the poses above and start your flow there.

Choose one that is kinda wacky, like Malasana or Sphinx. See where you go! And try to make your way back there to start the second side of the flow.

I like intentionally calling attention to the home base pose as HOME, because it has a feeling of completion of a cycle, and has the warm, cozy, and nurturing feeling of getting home, which most students really appreciate. Returning back home has the effect of reminding us that we can constantly return back home: to the posture, to our mat, to our practice, to our breathe, to our Self with a capital “S.”

Sequence Using Tabletop as a Home Base Pose

Here is an example of a flow that uses Tabletop as a Home Base Pose. Tabletop evolves into Downdog in the second round of the flow, but an option is given to stick with Tabletop instead. This sample just shows the first round of the flow, but there is a full-length version of this class available, if you’d like to see where it goes!!

{Note: I’ll talk about some other elements of this sequence in another post, so stay tuned!!}

Tabletop as Home Base Pose (Sample of Full Practice)

The full practice, “Slow Flow: Open the Front Body” is part of my online class library, so if you’re a member, hop on over and practice along with me! If you’re not a member yet, consider signing up! I add classes on an ongoing basis and it’s only $15/month (less than most single drop in classes), so join me in home practice!

If you like written sequences, you can try your hand at deciphering my notes below!! Everyone has their own shorthand. Enjoy!!

Open the Front Body Sequence

(2 blocks are optional)

Centering and Warm Up

* Vadrasana (sitting on heels)

* Child’s Pose arms wrap back to perhaps hold heels –> Roll up to sit on heels, head comes up last –> bring fingers behind toes, roll shoulder onto back, lift chest and look down your body with gaze

* Perighasana (Gate Pose) –> side bend over straight leg 3x –> Side bend to opposite side with hand under block –> Add psoas release by bending straight leg and letting knee dangle down like a magnet for 5-8 breaths, rolling top shoulder back –> round into Child’s, hands holding heels –> roll up to stand on knees and reach for sky, palms touch –> Eagle arms, lift elbows and gaze and then bring elbows down and sit back (2x) –> Release arms to sky  –> Hands and knees –> Child’s, holding heels –> Roll up –> hands behind toes, roll shoulders back, option to lift hips into Half Camel

Round 1 Flow

* Tabletop (Home Base Pose)

* Tiger Pose Crunches (opposite knee to elbow – 3x) –> Modified side plank with bottom knee down, top hand to heart, gaze up –> Lunge –> Anjaneyasana, hook thumbs –> Supported Warrior 3 (option for hands on blocks) –> Knee crunches (3x) –> Last one, sit for Ardha Matseyandrasana –> Step into front foot to come back into a Lunge, hands to inside of front foot –> Tap back knee down, straighten both legs and fold (3x) –> Heel/toe front foot over to behind opposite wrist –> Straighten leg for IT Band Love –> back to Lunge –> Hover front foot and lay shin down for Pigeon, fold –> Downdog –> {Cactus arm vinyasa with Wide Fingered Cobra (3x) back to Child’s, hands holding heels, then roll up and bring fingers behind toes, lift hips to Half Camel} –> Tabletop (back to Home Base)

Round 2 Flow (here are the changes/additions to the second round through the flow): 

* Tabletop (Home Base) –> Downdog

* Downdog Split to Twisted Core Plank (3x) in place of tiger crunches

* Full side plank with hand at heart, step foot behind, turn heart to sky (in place of Modified Side Plank)

* Full Warrior 3 or Supported Warrior 3

* Pigeon – hold back foot and take heel toward seat, lay forehead down on front forearm –> Twist with Thread the Needle in Pigeon, option to add half bind with back arm

* Vinyasa flow: Option to walk hands closer to feet in Camel, maybe holding onto heels for Full Camel –> Tabletop (back to Home Base)

Backbend/Forward Bends:

* Rabbit

* Child’s –> Full Camel, holding onto heels

Reclined:

* Core roll down

* Happy Baby

* Savasana

What other home base poses can you think of, remembering that they should be symmetrical, centered, and accessible to your students from the beginning of practice? 

I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section!!

subscribe
receive nurturing and playful ways to connect more fully through functionally-based yoga + movement + breathwork