Stuck in a Rut? Fancy Mixing Up Your Yoga Class Sequencing?
Getting a little bored with your yoga lesson plans? Looking to bring new inspiration into your yoga teaching, and mix things up for your yoga students? How about trying out some new yoga class sequencing techniques?
In sequencing a yoga class a yoga teacher draws on all their skills, knowledge and intuition to craft a journey for the body, mind and soul. Yoga students put their absolute faith and trust in their teacher to lead them on a journey that is safe, authentic and true to the teachings of yoga. This takes planning and practice, it is both a science and an art.
Lesson Planning & Sequencing
Yoga class lesson planning and yoga sequencing is in my opinion a must. I know that opinion is divided on this topic with many yoga teachers proudly saying that they don’t plan classes; I usually don’t come down heavy on anyone side of a yoga debate but on this one I am firmly in the lesson planning camp. The sequencing of a yoga class dramatically impacts your yoga students’ experience. When it’s done well, our bodies open with ease and feel fantastic but when it’s poor, the body feels tight, poses feel unnecessarily challenging, the alignment can be unsafe and the flow of prana is inhibited.
By planning and carefully crafting yoga sequences you start to teach your students rather than just lead them through yoga asanas. As a Yoga Teacher you get to truly facilitate your yoga student’s journey and create an engaging yoga experience. The science in yoga sequencing is your understanding of Asana, Alignment, Technique, Modifications and your Students Bodies, the art in yoga sequencing is in holding and creating the space for your yoga students to blossom, grow, transform and experience.
So here are a few suggestions for alternative ways to sequence a yoga class.
- Singular Pose Yoga Sequence: A great way to really teach your yoga students a posture very thoroughly, inspiring them to add it to a home yoga practice. Take one fundamental yoga pose keep repeating throughout the yoga class, use complimentary postures to teach alignment principles of the main pose and draw the energy/feel of the main pose into other posture. Such as Tadasana, Star Pose, Tree.
- Repetition Yoga Sequence: Build a yoga sequence around a repeating posture, transition, movement motif, mantra, mudra or pranayama. For instance, a flowing arm pattern you set up as a standing movement meditation, re visit as an arm variation in standing postures and then again in seated.
- Double Up Yoga Sequence: Bikram style. Perform each yoga pose twice, either increasing or decreasing the hold length. You can experiment with adding additional cues. For instance – first round physical cues, second round energetic or breath cues or visualisation.
- Wave Yoga Sequencing: Take a peak yoga pose such as crow and break it down to the easiest variation. Begin with this seed of the posture, then a warm up, revisit the seed and add the next progression, continue preparing the body with standing asana, revisit the seed, the progression and add the full posture, then counterpose. This can be used in a theme and variation approach such as variations of all fours.
- Bilaterally Symmetrical Yoga Sequence: The first half of the yoga class is mirrored and taught again as the second half in its mirror image/reverse order. This makes for a really interesting journey of observation as the yoga students experience the poses the second time they can notice changes in their body and mind.
- Book Ends Yoga Sequence: A simpler version of above. Create an opening yoga sequence and repeat in the reverse order for your closing yoga sequence so students can observe and reflect on the journey.
- Building a Chain: Take a yoga sequence such as Surya Namaskar with Warrior II, repeat right and left. Start the yoga sequence again and add on another posture to the chain, such as Pasrvakonasana, next round add Trikonasana, then Ardha Chandrasana for the final round. Can be done with easier postures and even seated sequences.
- Chorus & Verse Yoga Sequencing: Your chorus is your connecting vinyasa, the most common is the plank, chaturanga cobra/updog, down dog flow but you can create a variety of other vinyasas. A connecting vinyasa neturalises the body between sides and sequences. Experiment with other approaches.
If you’d like to explore in greater detail the Art & Science of Sequencing, Laura is teaching an 8 Hour CPD day on Sunday 15th April 2018 at Rownhams House near Southampton. Find the details here.