doors and gateways yoga class sequence feature

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Open Doors Yoga Class Sequence

This week’s Open Doors yoga class sequence was inspired by my grandmother’s summer garden.

For all my yoga class sequences, I use a six stage strategy for planning. If you’re not familiar with it, you might find the following blog posts helpful:

In this post, I’ll be sharing ideas and suggestions for teaching a yoga class around the theme of doors and/or gateways.

And if after customizing your Open Doors yoga class, you want more ideas for themes and sequencing, you can check out the Yoga Class Planner.

Prefer videos? Watch for sequence details and/or do a quick practice.

using this week's theme

This week’s yoga class it suitable for all levels and originally planned for a slow flow or gentle style class. If you’d like to increase the effort, you can substitute more challenging postures or add in Sun Salutations.

👉 The italicized paragraphs denote where you can customize and bring in your own story or lesson.

For a long time, my grandmother kept a garden. She had a fence that wound around it, and rickety wooden gate you had to step through to get inside. The creak as the gate opened let me know I was stepping into another world, a magical one, where plants and vegetables grew in abundance.

A lot of doorways are like that, if we only have the courage to step through.

introduction + centering

Start in: LYING RELEASE

During the breath phase focus on deep belly breathing

You can use the suggestion(s) below to customize and personalize the Open Doors theme:

  • ⁣”Still around the corner there may wait a new road or secret gate.” —JRR Tolkien

Doors, gates, portals. They all take you from one space to another. The quote I chose is from JRR Tolkien who wrote The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. I’ve watched the movies and appreciate the bravery it took for Frodo to leave the comfort of The Shire to deliver the ring to Mordor.

Another favorite magical journey series is Outlander where Claire goes through a standing stone and lands 200 years in the past.

We don’t have Shires and magical standing stones, but we have physical, mental, and metaphorical doors that once we step through forever change us.   

You can choose a different quote if it prompts a meaningful story or lesson for you. Or if you prefer, you can share the quotes throughout the class without a specific personal story.

If you like using quotes, here are a few to choose from:

  • “The eyes are the gateway to the soul.” —Herman Melville
  • “The soul is the gateway to Heaven within you.” —Choa Kok Sui
  • “Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.” —John Muir
  • “There are things known and things unknown and in between are the doors.”⁣ —Jim Morrison

warm up asanas

I’m using GATE as the inspiration asana. Many of the postures I’ve selected in the six different stages will build up to gate or mirror certain elements like stretching your side body and inner thighs.

👉 If you’re uncertain of a posture or how I’ve sequenced it together, be sure to watch the video.

  • Continue from Lying Release
  • (R) Knee to chest, ½ Happy Baby
  • Knee open to side, reclined twist
  • Repeat on (L) side
  • Both knees to chest, roll to sitting 
  • Butterfly, ½ butterfly, side stretch
  • Fold over
  • Seated twist
warm up open door yoga theme

WORKING ASANAS

Inspiration Asana: GATE

Just like a door or gate leads to another space, GATE opens your entire side body, allowing for a side stretch from your IT band all the way up and out through your fingertips.

As we work through this set of asanas you’ll be reaching up and out. When you do, visualize yourself reaching for the handle, the last step before opening it and changing everything.

Section A: Standing

  • Table/Cow/Cat
  • Thread the needle
  • GATE (R)
  • Side plank on knee
  • Foldover, leg out
  • Repeat on opposite side

Section B: Plank/Downdog

  • Table
  • Cross leg behind
  • Balancing table
  • Tiger’s tail
  • Repeat on opposite side

Section C: Standing Balance

  • Table, downdog
  • Forward bend
  • Knee to chest (R)
  • Knee out to side 
  • Warrior 3
  • Repeat from forward bend on (L)

deep stretch/floor asanas

Inspiration asana: GATE

👉 If you’re uncertain of a posture or how I’ve sequenced it together, be sure to watch the video.

  • Garland
  • Butterfly (repeated element from Warmup)
  • Pigeon (R)
  • Firelog (R)
  • Repeat Pigeon, Firelog (L)
  • Roll down to reclined
deep stretch open the door yoga sequence

COOL-DOWN ASANAS

Inspiration asana: GATE

  • Bridge
  • Reclined bound angle
  • Happy baby
  • Waterfall
  • Reclined spinal twist (L, R)

final relaxation

Final relaxation, also known as SAVASANA, allows your body’s processes to return to normal, induces deep relaxation, and prepares you for meditation. So please never skip it.

The easiest and simplest method for a final relaxation is to repeat the centering with a few tweaks. I call this “book ending” because the start and end of class mirror each other.

For the Open Doors theme, you could:

  • Bring in different quotes.
  • Read a poem or passage about doors, gates, gateways, portals, etc.
  • Wrap up your story or lesson about gates.
  • Provide a guided relaxation about doors or openings.
  • Honor silence, that moment before you step through a door.
  • Then bring participants out of savasana and end class.

enhancements for open doors yoga class

Affirmations:

  • The best is yet to come.
  • Amazing things are going to happen.
  • I am powerful and fearless.

Tarot cards:

The 7 of Cups for choices and options, moving forward without the full picture.

Essential oils:

If you like diffusing oils in your yoga classes, you’ll find some great options listed here. Try scents like grapefruit, orange, or lemon to uplift, energize, cleanse, and purifying.

Crystals:

  • Amethyst for courage, dreams, and protection
  • Bronzite to remove hesitation
  • Carnelian to raise self-worth and courage

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yoga sequence flow open doors
yoga sequence open the door
yoga class theme doors and gateways

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Shannon with Purple Lotus Yoga
hi! I'm Shannon

For 20 years, I’ve helped women of all ages and sizes to realize their dreams of becoming inspiring yoga teachers. 

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