Sequencing a yoga class is like writing a story. It needs structure and flow, a logical beginning, middle and end to incorporate levels of complexity to the practice.
- On a physical level the practice can be enhanced by anatomically piecing together postures that safely bring you to a peak pose and then back to the point of savasana (relaxation).
- An emotional journey can be experienced though a thoughtful sequence that releases places of tension.
On a somatic level we experience voluntary movement in a sequence that makes sense in our bodies.
First and foremost we must understand the body, for safety. I’m a deep believer in the power of our ‘intuitive body’. The sense we have which allows us to move intelligently and embrace our intuition.
We don’t always need our eyes or our mind to tell us whats ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ or left and right
Tapping into our ‘intuitive body’/ our ‘feeling body’ is to me the practice of yoga. To eliminate preconceived ides of ‘how’ we are supposed to look and go further in to ‘how’ we feel. This attention and awareness of the self, coupled with moving freely is an utterly divine way to experience yoga. And to calculate a sequence that embodies this essence is a real skill.
Getting down to the fundamentals
There are a tone of ways to create sequences but I’ll be honing in on what works for me.
I like to start with a peak posture or a peak set of postures and work out how to get there.
I dissect the core fundamentals of the posture(s) i.e, a deep twist, a backbend, an inversion and make sure to target the vital elements of that said pose before landing in its full glory. When you break down the bio mechanics and build the body up piece by piece, you can create your sequence. Be specific. Its tempting to try and cram in everything you’ve ever learnt which can then overshadow what you’re trying to focus on. We’ve all been there!
Ok, lets get to work!
Parivrtta Hasta Padangusthasana aka Revolved hand to foot pose
Its a twisted posture so we need to explore the functions of the spine. Generally a Cat/Cow or a circular movement in all 4’s is a solid place to start any class as it will also draw attention to you foundations – your hands and feet.
Enhance the visualisation of the spine through flowing together Downward facing dog into high plank. Repeat this fluid movement going forward and back a few times to articulate the vertebrae and connect with the breath.
Anjaneyasana (crescent moon pose)
Parsvottanasana (Side stretch)
Parivrtta Trikonasana (revolved triangles pose)
Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide legged forward bend)
Parivritta Parsvokonasana (Revolved side angle)
It is however the transitioning between these postures that will enhance your sequence and flare as a teacher. Transitions are beautiful, thoughtful, continuous movements that remind us to keep breathing consciously on and off the mat. Transitional movement is the embodied journey of your practice.
“Understand and utilise what your strengths are as a teacher.”
I see myself as a more anatomical teacher, I love to delve into alignment and bio mechanics and all things physical. I focus on physical cues, the occasional fact and demonstrate through more biological language.
You do you, never compromise what makes you the individual teacher that you are. If you love to theme your classes, create your sequence around your theme and keep it consistent. There should be a lovely through line that continues throughout the class. You can create your lesson around the elements and include a Mudra or a Mantra which correlates with it.
I’ve found Mudra’s and Mantra’s to be incredible additions to any class, a nice seal at the beginning and end to enhance the structure of your lesson. However only include these additional features if it feels natural to.
Create something that speaks to you. Make it relatable, humble and honest. Teach the class you would want to go to!
Written by Alice Trow