YOGA PRACTICE: Finding Balance Between Action and Surrender

in yoga •  2 years ago 

I taught this yoga class last Sunday, and I thought I’d share my lesson plan with you.

This is from a special, two-hour mini-retreat type class I’ve dubbed “Sunshine Sundays,” including a full-spectrum practice with about 60 minutes of active asana, 15 minutes of pranayama and meditation, and 45 minutes of restorative yoga.

You don’t have to do the physical practice to benefit from this article, but I’ll put my sequence below in case you’re interested.


All yoga photos on this page taken by my amazing photographer friend, Nat Anfield.

Action and Surrender

Balance is an elusive thing, always changing.

Yoga invites us to practice cultivating strength while creating space for more flow. Yes, moving and breathing on your mat requires action — even meditation requires action to sit still and focus — yet at the same time, can we also let go?

Each breath is this yin-yang: inhale and exhale.

Take a deep breath and feel the flow, feel the balance of effort and ease that happens on a subtle level.





Round and round it goes.

The poses of yoga are the same, asking for strength and surrender at the same time, though the levels of how much effort is needed fluctuates. The trick is finding the ease even in the most challenging poses, or keeping focus in the most relaxing ones.

Balancing action and surrender applies to all areas of life.

legs up the wall

The Lesson Plan.

This sequence is offered as inspiration for people who already practice and/or teach yoga.

If you're new to yoga, generally the best place to learn is with an experienced teacher. As always, it’s your responsibility to ensure you use your body in ways that are safe and honouring. If in doubt, check with your health care practitioner before doing new physical practices. Modify as necessary, and let your breath lead.

This is a two-hour long class plan. It can be shortened by skipping poses, however I would encourage starting and ending gently, so keep that in mind if you choose to create a shorter practice from this.

Note: I added downward dog or mountain pose between many of these poses as a transition.

Center in. Be still and breathe. Open with 3 Oms.

Eye exercises

eye exercises



Bird Dog

bird dog

Downward Dog (with intuitive movements, bend one knee at a time)

down dog

Vinyasa with Sphinx (a gentler version of cobra)







Dragon Lunge

dragon lunge

Vinyasa with Shalabasana (Locust)




Tadasana (Mountain Pose)


Uttanasana with hands interlaced behind

uttanasana shoulder stretch

Crescent lunge into Virabhadrasana III (Warrior III)

crescent lunge

Vira III

Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) into Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)

vira II


Bakasana (Crow)


Pigeon thigh stretch (or any quad stretch)


Pigeon forward fold (or thread the needle on back)


Thread the needle, below, is a non-weight-bearing modification for pigeon.

thread the needle

Camel (Ustrasana) (or any chest opener)


Child (Balasana)


Twisted Child

twisted child

twisted child view 2



Janu sirsasana

janu sirsasana

Ardha Matsyendrasana

ardha matsy

Baddha Konasana

baddha k

Sit for pranayama and meditation, if desired.


After a yoga practice (even a short one) is an ideal time for breath work and/or meditation. Even if you only sit for a few minutes, it can be a kindness towards yourself that brings peace and harmony.

In my Sunshine Sunday yoga classes, I use this as a transition between the more active asana session, and the restorative session which follows. Restorative poses are typically held for longer periods of time. 3-5 minutes, or so.

Supta Baddha Konasana

supported bound angle

Supported Child’s Pose

supported child

Legs up the wall pose (Viparita Kanari)

legs up the wall

I like to include a couple of feel-good poses that clear any kinks from the longer restorative poses before going into savasana, as seen below.

Half happy baby pose

half happy baby

Simple twist




I hope you got some inspiration from that. Again, you don’t have to do all these poses, you can pick a few and make your own sequence.

I didn’t go into great detail for each pose, as this practice is intended for experienced practitioners. If you have specific questions, feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to give you my perspective.

If you’re looking for a gentle, 10 minute practice, I shared one over a week ago: A Simple Home Yoga Practice. Don’t upvote that post, as it’s no longer collecting rewards, but feel free to upvote this one if you liked it. ;)

Even if you just wanted to look at the photos here, thanks for reading!

Maybe take another deep breath or two before you go.

Peace. @katrina-ariel

Katrina Ariel

#teamcanada #steemusa #steemsugars #thealliance

the alliance


Banners by @bearone

Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  

Hello @katrina-ariel!

Juhu! Another hat picture! And such a fabulous one!!! 🎩

I wish I could do just 1/3 of the yoga exercises that you brilliantly listed here. Such flexibility needed as well. Savasana I might be able to do correctly.

I'm waiting for you next hat-post!

Love my hats. ;)

This is just what my body looks like when doing the pose. It doesn't matter how deep you go in a posture, but that you do it in a way that is safe and feels good for you. And flexibility can increase over time. ;)

Savasana is hard! You're supposed to meditate on relaxing, without letting your brain take off or falling asleep. lol!

So many moves! A whole lesson in a post! Love it. I need to increase my flexibility! Will be comin back to this later for class :)

So glad you enjoyed the post! ;)

lots of beautiful yoga @katrian-ariel!

Thank you so much for coming by and giving your support. #gratitude

Brilliant post Katrina! I can tell a lot of hours of work have been put into it.
I am looking for individual cards (much like what you have created) to use for children in the classroom, to practice a few easy poses one at a time. I wonder if I could print your photos out and laminate them... would the poses be a bit too hard for them? (3 to 6 year olds)

Hi @osm0sis! Thank you for acknowledging the time I put into this. lol! I really did spend hours and hours getting photos ready and whatnot. But it's worth it. As for your question... my guess is there is already a kids yoga resource like you're asking about, with poses more appropriate for 3-6 year olds. Not that they couldn't do these poses, but kids yoga often has fun names, and photos of kids instead of an adult. ;) Let me see...

Here, I think this is free?! Printable yoga cards for kids!

Oh those are actually exactly what I was looking for. And tons of various poses too!
Thank you dear :)

Very impressive.I need to get back into yoga had no time since my 10 month old was born. but my body is calling out for it xx

A 10 month old? Whew! That's busy, and you have other children as well. Be gentle with yourself, little bits at a time is good. But, yes, yoga is wonderful for me as a mother, and has helped me recover from pregnancy and birthing in many ways.

thank you @katrina-ariel xx

Blessings ! happy to find your Post very didactic and simple explanation, I am new in the community of Steem, happy to know and learn from so many people..Namasté @katrina-ariel

Good stuff. I've started a mini morning yoga practice ... while coffee is brewing. Some of these poses will be included.

I love a mini-yoga practice in the morning! My home practice is usually quite short, but it's fun to find inspiration for switching a few poses around. Thanks for coming by! :)

I missed that 10 minute one! I might try that one out to start with! My whole body screams I need to start taking care of it. Thank you for sharing your passion - these pictures are very helpful as well!

I have to do yoga every day, or my body gets very irritable and sore. My practice is like a reset every morning. So helpful! But, yeah, I do about 15 minutes every morning, sometimes more, but rarely a full practice like this on a daily basis. I might do a shorter practice based on this one soon... Take care of you!

I hear that often: once you start yoga your body starts asking for it. 15 minutes every morning is a great routine - full practice can be done on days where you have more time and can be seen as a 'treat' maybe ;-)

Upvoted! <3

What a great idea! Any chance you'll do some Dtube based yoga .classes? I bet you could burrow out a great niche for that!

xoxoxox always love coming across your posts sis <3

Thanks for stopping by, @stirling!

You know, I bet I could get yoga videos up on Dtube. But I don't want to. Been there, done that. Not interested. The odd yoga post, I can do, but I don't actually want to teach much these days, so it's nice to take the pressure off myself and do non-yoga things, after years of focusing on everything yoga. ;)

Thank you for sharing! I usually do yoga at home, and this looks like a very nice class during a weekend day:-)

Thank you for coming by! I usually do a short practice at home, but offered this longer one for inspiration. Glad you enjoyed it!

this is epic!

I'll try it out when I get the chance. .

would love to know your thoughts on this guided meditation if you get the chance. .

I use it at the end of breathwork sessions --
Liquid Light Body Activation

thanks for sharing! re-steeming as inspiration for more yoga and breathwork on Steemit!

So glad you enjoyed the post! Thank you for your encouragement and the comment. I'll try to listen to that meditation if I get a chance. Even if I don't, it's wonderful to see more people bringing centered, grounded energy to Steemit. Shine on!

Awesome! Truly awesome! :)
You definitely have attained a state of so perfect postures while doing Yoga.
I too am so very fond of Yoga, but...perhaps not as disciplined and experienced as "You are!" & "You Definitely are! for sure!" besides being a Very Good Yoga Teacher/Instructor!!!
Am so glad to have seen and visited this wonderful post of yours! :)
Much Love ! :)

Aw, thank you so much for the kind comment! But, even if I am flexible, I'm not all that disciplined. I mean... okay, somewhat, but I'm a wild thing too. lol! Not into too many rules or making things too serious. Still, I do love some of the philosophy and the physical practice of yoga, even if my daily practice is quite a bit shorter than this one. :)

Thanks for sharing, @katrina-ariel!


Thanks for reading. :)

Wow I love that! "Action and surrender!"

Pretty much nails the whole idea of executing in your art, and yet giving in to the feeling.

Yes. Exactly that. :)

I use to do this along with my Mom when I was a very little kid. Now I would kill myself if I did any of these. I'll start with walking first loll there I only have to worry about tripping over my own two feet :D

Walking is good. ;) There's also much more gentle yoga to get back into it, but you do you, at your own pace. ;)

Saved ;)
Thanks girl!

You're welcome! I hope you enjoy whatever practice you make from it. :)

I love how the back is always stretched and straight. I suffer from back pain so it looks very soothing to me. I am no yoga practitioner but I am looking for something to do from home.

It's so nice to have a home yoga practice. It can for sure help with back pain, though if you can access a yoga instructor who has yoga therapeutics experience, it can be helpful to consult with you to make a personal practice. But, whatever you choose to do, I hope it helps. Blessings to you and your back. :)

Amazing! Geez horrible to me for just finally commenting, but I love this post. It must have been super time consuming but those pictures and the sequence my gosh! There are so many of my favorite poses in this too. I swear while I was reading this all and looking at the pictures my body decided it wanted to speak to me and tell me it wants some of this. Thanks for all the love, knowledge and effort you put into this post.

This is topnotch and how is this blog didn't get curie (yet) is beyond me

You're so bendy 😁

This is superb! Thanks for the great quality post. I am a fellow yoga teacher and I really appreciate other yoga and wellness writers! Thanks :)