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Creating your Own Yoga or Pilates Practise

In my last blog I talked about how to create a general home practise/selfcare routine. In this blog I want to outline how to create a Yoga or Pilates session for yourself – You can create a home class to work on anything you like but for the purpose of this blog I am going to focus mainly on creating a full body session.

Firstly decide what you want to get out of the session - are you looking for a relaxing, slow stretchy class, something to energize and get you moving or do you need to focus on the breathing and meditation, this will then determine what type of class you want to create for yourself and then you can add in the desired elements which could be a full body session or a class designed to work on a specific area of the body.

The session will need to start with some time preparing the bodymind, which could include some breath work, a warm up of sorts (even if you are mediating you might want to spend a couple of minutes with some gentle movement before asking the body to be still). Then move into the main body of your practise before finishing with some wind down/cool down time to signal to the bodymind that your practise is finishing.

If you are planning on working with a specific body area then the warm up will need to focus on mobilising or moving the joints involved in that part of the body, so for example if you want to release tension in the neck and shoulders you might spend sometime breathing to help the body relax and release tension before moving into a warm up. Focus on movement of the neck such as nodding, twisting and rocking the head side to side and then taking the shoulders through some circles and adding in some cat stretches and twists for the body could be useful too. Then your practise might move into some stretches and muscle relaxing techniques for the neck and shoulders before finishing with a relaxation, again helping to release overall stress and tension in the bodymind.

If you want to create a full body class then there is a lot more choice on what to include. After some breath work, the warm up will want to get the whole body moving, then the main part of the class could include some standing work and balances, poses or exercises to bend the back, some abdominal or core work and then stretching for the shoulders, hips and legs. Finally finishing with a relaxation.

Always pay attention to the body, and the signs the body is telling you, this could be a direct sensation in the muscles, changes in the breathing or some unexpected emotions, and respond accordingly. There is never a need to push the body past the point of a challenge and out and out pain any where is definitely a sign to stop and reassess what you are doing.

Here are some suggestions on what to include in as the main part of a full body session:

For Pilates:

T Balance

The roll down

Swan dive



Shoulder bridge

Spine stretch


For Yoga Flow:

The sun salutation

High Lunge - warrior II - triangle - wide leg pose

Chair Pose

Warrior III

Boat pose

Locust Pose

Childs pose

Seated Forward Fold

Seated twist

Bridge Pose

For a Deep Stretch Class:

Lying twist

Happy Baby

Reclined pigeon

Low lunge


Childs Pose

Down Dog

Seated Forward Fold

Supported Bridge

Feel free to include anything in your practise - some self massage with balls or a roller to release the muscles, some equipment to create resistance or help you stretch and release. Once you get started the options are endless! At the end of the day it is the attention to the breath and yourself as you work that makes it Pilates or Yoga more than a certain pose or exercise. What ever you decide to put in your session it should be enjoyable and leave you feeling great. Even just 10 minutes can leave a big impact on the bodymind and your day, so go for it there is no such thing as a bad practise :)

If you want more exercise or pose ideas then head to the YouTube channel for all my videos for full body sessions or to work on a specific body area.

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