Benefits of the Circle of Joy

The Circle of Joy is one of my favorite yoga sequences because it’s simple but powerful. It doesn’t require much room and can be done in about 5 to 10 minutes depending on how many repetitions you do.

I can easily perform this sequence in the cockpit of my boat, so I include it in all my personal yoga sessions.  Some of the many health benefits I get from practicing the Circle of Joy regularly include:

  • A sense of inner peace and calm
  • Ability to remain more focused on tasks
  • Improved decision making ability
  • Balanced energy
  • A healthier, stronger, more flexible spine
  • Mobilised shoulder joints
  • Stronger torso
  • Improved flexibility
  • Improved respiratory function

If you are time poor but want to keep your spine healthy, then try the Circle of Joy first thing in the morning and/or last thing at night. You will be amazed at the results.

Why not try it out for yourself?

Movement of the spine

When performing this sequence, the spine moves slowly and gently through forward bends (flexion), back bends (extension), side stretches (side flexion), and twists (rotation), which helps to keep the spine flexible and healthy.

In today’s world, we rarely get to move our bodies through its full range of movement. We lead pretty sedentary lives.

If you don’t move your spine through its full range of movement regularly, it may begin to seize up. This means that as you age you will find it harder and harder to get around. Movement is key.

This sequence is easily adapted to sitting in a chair, with a slight adjustment for the forward bend. If you would like more information on how to adapt the Circle of Joy for a chair (wheelchair or other), please contact me.

Self awareness

When performed correctly, this sequence is meditation in motion. The secret is to move slowly, with awareness, with the flow of your breath. There is no hurry. The slower your movements and your breath the better. Don’t force it. Set your own pace. Feel into it.

As always, when performing any form of physical exercise be very self aware and stop immediately if you feel any discomfort or pain. If you have, or are recovering from an injury or a medical condition please check with your medical practitioner before performing the Circle of Joy.

The key with any yoga pose is to move with the flow of your breathe. Inhale as you open out and look up, breathing deep into your belly and expanding your ribs. Exhale as you draw your body inwards, fold forward, twist, or stretch sideways.

When performing this series ensure both sit bones stay firmly connected with your mat or seat of the chair.

Main poses for the Circle of Joy

This sequence has 5 main poses, some of which are repeated. The 5 main poses are:

  1. Hands to the ceiling – sitting nice and tall
  2. Push hands away from you, out in front – rounding through the shoulders
  3. Hands clasped behind your back – slight back bend, expanding your chest
  4. Side stretch – stretching your side waist
  5. Forward fold – lengthening the spine, stretching arms and shoulders
  6. Seated twist – massaging internal organs and realigning the spine
Circle of joy
Circle of joy sequence

FREE handout

I’ve created a handout with simple instructions for you to practice at home, Request your FREE copy now!

I trust you will enjoy practicing the Circle of Joy. If you have any feedback or suggestions please contact me, I’d love to hear from you.


Circle of Joy – a sequence for maintaining a healthy spine