The art of sequencing!

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    Jane McQueen

    A carefully planned sequence can help move the body and mind toward the desired direction.
    The placement of postures moving in stages and steps (vinyasa krama) include attunement, intention, preparation, main postures, compensation, rest, pranayama and final relaxation.
    Attunement sets the stage for the class. Shifting the mind from the activities of daily life into mindful presence. Centering, focused breathing and setting an intention facilitates the mind into a relaxes state.
    Preparation stage incorporates breath centric gentle dynamic movements to increase circulation to warm up the body for demanding postures.
    Standing postures utilizing repetition and stay are more demanding and require compensation to avoid repetitive stress, balancing postures maybe incorporated into the sequence, abdominal or core work can be woven into the sequence from simple Uddiyana bandana techniques to more advanced sit-up type movements. Inversions are optional and should be incorporate based on the student’s readiness and condition. It depends!
    Resting is always essential!
    Backbends, forwarding bends and twists required compensation and rest as needed.
    Prayanama as time allows and final relaxation complete sequence designs.
    When designing a class keep in mind Who, What, Where and When!
    Who is taking this class? Beginner, Age of student etc.
    What is the intention of this class.
    When are you teaching this class. (Time of day, season)
    Where is the student coming from or going.


    I agree that you should know your audience and modify for them but when teaching large groups it could be difficult to show each person a modification. There is always someone who is not aware of what level they are at, some who will try to compete with his/her neighbor or even those who feel the know more than the teacher!! It is the teacher’s responsibility to observe students and help them thru the planned sequence allowing the individual to finish feeling good and wanting to return for more.


    I can honestly say that a well sequenced yoga practice is the most important aspect of teaching yoga, any style of yoga. As we set the stage or a particular goal, we begin to design a practice around how best to prepare the body for that particular pose so that the body is well prepared. Once the goal pose is reached, it is important to compensate for any restrictions or challanges the pose may have created. It is also a great idea to think about the possible modifications as we prepare the body as well as a an easier version for the “goal” pose. This is particulary important when teaching large groups. As we are watching our students, we will have a greater idea how our sequence is working or not. I like to remember to teach for the least able and offer modifications along the way for those that can do more. Always encouraging to listen to their own bodies, staying aware of the breath as a guide to how they are doing.

    Brenda Feuerstein

    I agree with knowing your students and making modifications as needed.Sequencing is important but within that knowing there are options. Teaching to the least able and offering modifications along the way for those that can do more seems like a healthy approach.


    I agree that listening to the body and being aware of the body as we move through a well-designed/compensated sequence can lead to contentment after a class.

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