By Faye Martins
How hard is it to design an optimum sequence for Yoga poses? Yoga sequencing can be a very complex topic, because sequencing refers to more than just the order of poses (asanas). Generally speaking, the best pose sequence depends on the school of yoga, purpose and level of the practitioner. This means that optimum pose sequences are very subjective and may vary from session to session.
Movements within an Asana
The sequence of movements needed to practice a yoga pose should be carefully adhered to. Although schools of yoga differ, the simple Warrior Pose is sequenced the same way every time. Each step within the pose, beginning with the starting stance in Tadasana, flows into the next step until finally Warrior Pose can be held and concentrated on. Achieving the final pose posture by approaching it the same way every time will ensure correct alignment and balance.
The sequence of a yoga pose series can be a bit trickier. As stated earlier, the order of asanas will differ for each person based on a variety of preferences ranging from yoga school to how a person is feeling that day. To start with, each yoga school of thought, including Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Bikram and Viniyoga, has its own ideas about the proper pose sequencing. Bikram, for example, practices 26 poses, twice, in the same order every time. Ashtanga yoga, on the other hand, follows a primary series of 75 poses, an intermediate series, and four advanced series. The practitioner advances to the next series of poses once the first sequence can be completed well.
For those who want to sequence their own yoga series, keeping the flow of poses in mind will help create an effective and smooth progression of movements. A typical session begins with breathing practice and warm ups, followed by a sun salutation series that moves into standing poses, then balancing poses, then inversions, then bends and twists and that finally ends with the corpse pose, known as Savasana. Even within this general sequence, however, poses can be substituted and varied to increase difficulty level. Some instructors will repeat sequences in the standing pose series, for example, while others will focus on a quick-flowing progression through a sequence.
With the varying schools of yoga and the wealth of information available about yogic methods and pose sequencing, a yogi should be at no loss to choose poses that help fit a single purpose. Whatever series of poses you put together on any given day, be sure it is appropriate to age, strength, and skill levels to keep injuries to a minimum.
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