Seven Days of Yoga | A Home Yoga Practice

Did you know that regular, consistent practice is the best route to success in yoga? Regardless of how many yoga classes you attend, an at home yoga practice will make a big difference in how quickly you increase flexibility and strength. With a daily yoga practice, the benefits begin to multiply; you will notice changes in both mind and body and feel more confident both on and off the yoga mat.

The best results also come about through a diverse and balanced practice. It is important to do a variety of yoga poses - also called yoga asanas - over the course of a week or month. The hard part for home yoga is knowing what poses to do and in what order.

To get you started, here is a set of seven sequences for home yoga practice, one for each day of the week. Each sequence has a theme or focus. Each list of asanas gives the sanskrit names with a yoga pictures guide following. Read the notes for that day for additional guidance.

Day One - Getting Started

Your first day begins with several basic yoga poses to set a foundation for the rest of the week. It starts with a few warm up poses, some standing asanas, seated asanas and relaxation. Don’t let the word “basic” lead you to think these are not important poses that you can forget about after you have done them a few times. The actions you learn in these asanas are critical to all other poses and should be revisited often, with awareness and, hopefully, increased understanding. There is always something new to discover in yoga postures, even after you have been doing them for decades.

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Light on Yoga: Yoga Dipika

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Day 1 Yoga Sequence:

  1. Adho Mukha Virasana
  2. Adho Mukha Svanasana
  3. Tadasana
  4. Urdhva Hastasana
  5. Urdhva Baddhangullyasana
  6. Trikonasana
  7. Parsvakonasana
  8. Virabhadrasana I
  9. Adho Mukha Savasana
  10. Dandasana
  11. Baddhakonasana
  12. Virasana
  13. Savasana

Day One Yoga Poses
Day One Yoga Poses

Notes for Day 1

Spend 30 seconds to a minute in each of the first two poses. Allow time for the body to stretch and lengthen and for the mind to tune into those actions. From tadasana, do the urdhva hastasana and bound fingers - baddhangullyasana - variations a couple of time each, changing the interlock of the fingers the second time.

Asymmetrical poses should be practiced to both the right and left. Repeat each of the three main standing poses (numbers 6-8), seeing if the second time on each side you get a little deeper into the pose. Notice how downward dog feels different (after completing the standing poses) than the one you did at the beginning of the sequence.

In the seated yoga asanas, differentiate between the actions of the legs and the upper body. The legs press down as the torso lengthens up. Sit on blankets if your back rounds out or if you cannot sit on the floor between your feet in virasana.

Take time with each yoga asana to relax both your face and your breath. Have a few moments of stillness once you have made all the adjustments within the pose.

Day Two - Find Your Footing

Balancing asanas are a direct path to internal focus and awareness of the subtleties of action and effort. When we stay focused on the gross outer body movements in balancing poses, we are more likely to fall. Moving within, we become still and quiet, less influenced by outside forces. We find our balance.

Day 2 Yoga Sequence:

  1. Adho Mukha Virasana
  2. Adho Mukha Svanasana - ekha pada
  3. Uttanasana
  4. Tadasana
  5. Urdhva Hastasana
  6. Vrksasana
  7. Parsvakonasana
  8. Trikonasana
  9. Ardha Chandrasana
  10. Vimanasana
  11. Marichyasana - chair
  12. Prasarita Padottanasana
  13. Dandasana
  14. Bharadvajasana
  15. Viparita Karani
  16. Savasana

Day 2 Yoga Poses
Day 2 Yoga Poses

Notes for Day 2

Leg alignment, stability and balance are all tied together in these poses. Keeping the hips square and level helps in maintaining balance. In downward dog, as you take one leg back, keep the hips level; the raised leg hip will try to roll up. Repeat two or three times, alternating legs. Again, in vrksasana, don’t let the bent knee hip roll up or move back. Keep your hips level and square.

In half moon pose, ardha chandrasana, the standing leg foot will try to turn in. Plant it firmly before you raise your back leg and keep it in place. Vimanasana is similar to warrior one, but the back heel is raised and the arms out to the side. Stretch strongly through that back heel, and pin your outer hips in toward each other.

Day Three - Building Strength

The standing yoga asanas are particularly good for building strength. Having focused on alignment during the balance poses, the major joints will stay protected and stable as strength is developed. As strength increases, alignment will be reinforced, increasing stability and helping to insure safe movement. It is important to remember that strength as a goal is no more important than any other aspect of asana. All components balance and interact with each other.

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Yoga: The Iyengar Way: The New Definitive Illustrated Guide

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Day 3 Yoga Sequence

  1. Adho Mukha Virasana
  2. Adho Mukha Svanasana
  3. Uttanasana
  4. Tadasana
  5. Urdhva Hastasana
  6. Utkatasana
  7. Trikonasana
  8. Virabhadrasana II
  9. Virabhadrasana I
  10. Virabhadrasana III
  11. Prasarita padottanasana
  12. Sirsasana
  13. Paripurna navasana
  14. Urdhva prasarita padasana
  15. Sarvangasana
  16. Savasana

Day 3 Yoga Poses
Day 3 Yoga Poses

Notes for Day 3

Time permitting, many of these poses can be repeated two or three times. Go back and forth from adho mukha svanasana to uttanasana and from urdhva hastasana to utkatasana. From trikonasana through virbhadrasana III, after you do a pose to each side, repeat it to see if you can get deeper into the pose while refining the actions and maintaining your alignment.

Keep the quadriceps engaged during standing asanas to draw the knees up when your legs are straight. Balance evenly between both feet, even when the legs are turned or the upper body is off to one side.

Use uttanasana as recovery pose between the standing asanas as needed. Also, learn to recover in tadasana.

Boat pose, paripurna navasana, can be repeated at least three times. Sit in dandasana or baddha konasana in between. In urdhva prasarita padasana, start with your arms by, or out from, your side. You can take them overhead after you gain strength in the pose.

Day Four - Bend, Don’t Break

The focus for this sequence is increased flexibility. It’s a counterpoint to strength. Many people with muscular strength lack flexibility, and vice versa. Flexible body types want to make sure they are using muscular strength to protect their joints from hyperflexibility. Twisting poses are emphasized here, helping to develop muscle length.

Day 4 Yoga Sequence

  1. Supta padangusthasana I
  2. Supta padangusthasana II
  3. Adho Mukha Svanasana
  4. Uttanasana
  5. Tadasana
  6. Trikonasana
  7. Parsvakonasana
  8. Virabhadrasana I
  9. Parivrtta trikonasana
  10. Parivrtta parsvakonasana
  11. Uttanasana
  12. Chaturanga dandasana
  13. Bhujangasana
  14. Dhanurasana
  15. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
  16. Bharadvajasana
  17. Maricyasana I
  18. Virasana
  19. Sarvangasana
  20. Savasana

Day 4 Yoga Poses
Day 4 Yoga Poses

Notes for Day 4

It is important to warm up thoroughly before attempting the twisting and backbending yoga poses. Repeat the basic standing poses a couple of times and then warrior I to begin the rotating movements. For both standing twists and backbends, emphasize repetition rather than length of time in the asana. The seated twists can be held longer.

Spend a lot of time in the restorative poses after the backbends. The backward extensions are invigorating and should be balanced with calming poses.

Day Five - Staying Put

Spending more time in each yoga pose increases stamina and allows you the opportunity to move deeper within. While some styles of yoga and classes may emphasize moving through the poses, there is much to be gained by exploring each pose more thoroughly. Calmly receive the benefits of each yoga asana rather than actively pursuing them.

Day 5 Yoga Sequence

  1. Tadasana
  2. Vrksasana
  3. Trikonasana
  4. Parsvakonasana
  5. Ardha Chandrasana
  6. Virabhadrasana I
  7. Adho Mukha Svanasana
  8. Uttanasana
  9. Prasarita Padottanasana
  10. Dandasana
  11. Virasana
  12. Baddha Konasana
  13. Upavista Konasana
  14. Janu sirsasana
  15. Paschimottanasana
  16. Setu bandha
  17. Savasana

Day 5 Yoga Poses
Day 5 Yoga Poses

Notes for Day 5

Use a relaxed, even breath to quiet the body and mind while holding each asana. Maintain lift, extension and expansion in the upper body while in the seated poses. In forward extensions, also called forward bends, length in the spine is more important than how far forward you are folding. Engage the quadriceps to release the hamstrings, bend more in the hip joints and less in the low back.

Keep the face relaxed with the temples and eyes soft. This is necessary for the mind to remain undisturbed.

Day Six - A New Perspective

Your home yoga practice for today focuses on inversions. Inversions are best learned under the direction of a qualified yoga instructor. Done properly, they are safe and do not put excessive pressure on the neck. If you have not tried headstand or shoulderstand under the guidance of a yoga teacher, do all of the other poses in this sequence. For an alternate pose, if desired, do headstand prep, working on the actions of the arms, shoulders and back without taking your legs up. Plow pose, halasana, is a preparatory pose for shoulderstand. Be sure your shoulders are elevated on blankets to protect your neck.

Experienced yogis that practice headstand and shoulderstand regularly will tell you these asanas have significant benefits for the mind and body.

Headstand Instructions

Day 6 Yoga Sequence

  1. Tadasana
  2. Urdhva hastasana
  3. Uttanasana
  4. Adho Mukha Vrksasana
  5. Adho Mukha Svanasana
  6. Prasarita Padottanasana
  7. Sirsasana
  8. Adho Mukha Virasana
  9. Sarvangasana
  10. Setu Bandha
  11. Viparita Karani
  12. Savanasana

Day 6 Yoga Poses
Day 6 Yoga Poses

Notes for Day 6

In the first part of this sequence, focus on pressing the shoulder blades in to help lift and open the chest. The trapezius muscles should draw the inner shoulders away from the ears and head. In prasarita padottanasana, continue this action. Lift the inner shoulder away from the floor. Support the crown of the head on a blanket or block if it does not reach the floor.

Bridge pose, setu bandha, is also a good alternate pose for shoulderstand. Lift the side ribs away from the back to help open and broaden your chest.

After your inversions, observe the quality of your mental state. How is different than before the inversions? How is it different from just doing savasana?

Day Seven - Breathe

While not a day of complete rest, day seven focuses on restorative poses. As with the second day balance sequence, during these asanas, the awareness should move inward, remaining with the breath and subtle fine tuning of the poses to bring additional release.

A bolster and other props are used for some of these poses to provide support and stability, allowing you to stay in them for longer periods of time.

Day 7 Yoga Sequence

  1. Adho mukha virasana - with bolster
  2. Adho mukha svanasana - with bolster
  3. Uttanasana - with head support
  4. Prasarita Padottanasana
  5. Sirsasana (optional)
  6. Sarvangasana - with a chair
  7. Supta baddha konasana
  8. Savanasana - supported

Day 7 Yoga Poses
Day 7 Yoga Poses

Notes for Day 7

This is a somewhat shorter sequence of poses, but you may elect to stay longer in each pose, a minimum of three minutes and up to five or seven, if possible. As with all of the sequences, if the yoga pictures do not provide enough guidance, seek the help of an experienced teacher.

That completes your seven days of yoga, an at home yoga practice. Four cycles of these sequences will give you just about a month’s worth of practice. An alternate approach is to focus on each sequence for a week, totalling seven weeks of yoga. However you choose to practice yoga, include variety, using different categories and types of poses to keep all parts of the body and mind engaged.

All photographs and illustrations are by the author and may not be reused without permission.

© 2015 chet thomas

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Comments 3 comments

Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 19 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Chet, this is another great hub on how get the most of your yoga home practice. It had improved my core strength and made me stronger and getting better with each practice, too. I think you should add the English translation to those yoga poses for those who don't know them. Voted up for useful!

Act 3 profile image

Act 3 19 months ago from Athens, GA Author

Thanks for reading and commenting Kristen. Good suggestion!

Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 19 months ago from Northeast Ohio

My pleasure, Chet. You're welcome. I'm glad to add my two cents into the mix.

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    chet thomas (Act 3)118 Followers
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    Chet is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher and has been practicing yoga for over 15 years. He teaches three to four yoga classes per week.

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