yoga class sequencing tipsBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

How important are class sequencing skills for teachers? There are many ways to sequence Yoga classes. The placement of particular pranayama, asana, meditation, and relaxation techniques changes the experience for your students. Instructors, who attend a Yoga teacher training, which did not allow for creativity, are the most challenged, when students commonly leave due to boredom.

For all Yoga teachers, getting new ideas and perspectives for classes can be challenging. If you teach Yoga, week in and week out, it may begin to feel as if you have done the same class over and over. The key to keeping your sessions unique, and challenging, is the class sequencing.

By sequencing your classes in different ways, asanas feel fresh, and new ideas flow easily. Remember that most Yoga classes maintain a linear sequence within the session, flowing from easier in the warm-up, to more challenging, then back to less difficult in the cool down.

Here are some tips for class sequencing of all levels:

Sequence around one main Yoga asana.

For example, one could focus on Janu Sirsasana, or Head to Knee Forward Bend. This pose would then be the culmination of the challenging portion of the class. The sequence leading up to it would include preparatory poses, such as Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend, Vrksasana or Tree Pose, Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward Facing Dog, Baddha Konasana or Bound Angle Pose, and Supta Padangusthasana or Reclining Big Toe Pose.

Sequence around several related Yoga asanas.

Poses that work the core, or backbends, or any other category are easy to sequence. Incorporate several preparatory poses, and then several asanas, which meet those criteria.

Sequence around an idea that relates to Yoga.

This could be a seasonal theme, such as poses celebrating summer. It could be a more abstract theme, focusing on opening the heart, or personal freedom. It could also be an idea of reinforcement for good habits, like “poses in which it is important to keep the shoulders down,” or “improving balance.”

Sequence around an area of the body.

Select one part of the body, and develop a well-rounded sequence that stretches and activates the muscles in that area. For example, a “hamstring” focus could include Utthita Hasta Padangustasana or Extended Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose, Parsvottanasana or Intense Side Stretch Pose, and Supta Padangusthasana or Reclining Big Toe Pose.

The sky is the limit for sequencing Yoga techniques. So long as the class remains well-developed and comprehensive, while having a focus, it benefits students. Accepting suggestions, for future classes, is a good way to encourage student input and can even offer new creative sequences not otherwise considered.

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