When sequencing for yoga classes, it can be very helpful to break the class down into several sections that build off of each other. Once the students are centered and breathing deeply, they are ready to get moving. If the students are standing, sitting or reclined, the next series of poses should flow organically from one place to the next. This time of the class is when people connect their breath and movement so the sequencing should be simple and smooth. While some people are able to get out of their heads in the creating presence part of the class, many students need to be in their bodies to really let go and embody a meditation in motion. Artful attention to a few key points when sequencing for yoga classes will ensure that the sequencing, cueing and overall space you hold will help your students safely ease into the first flows of the class.
Create a seamless shift from stillness into the first few poses.
What position did the students start in? If they are reclined, have the students draw one or both knees into their chest for various hip, spine and hamstring stretches. If they are seated, reach the arms up and move into simple twists and side bends. If they are in child’s pose, lift them up onto all fours for cat/cow and spinal balance variations. If they are in tadasana, start with some easy side bends or half sun-salutes. The first couple of poses should come easily and naturally from whatever position the students began the class in when sequencing for yoga classes. The image below is a great series that can be done from child’s pose.
Keep it Simple and Connected to the Breath When Sequencing for Yoga Classes.
One of the main focuses of this part of the class is for the students to connect their breath with the movements. Whether they are flowing through a variation of Surya Namaskar or cat/cow, teach the breath. The sequence should be simple and come easily to the majority of the bodies in the room and gently target the spine, hips and shoulders. Emphasize the cue for them to “make the breath last as long as the movement,” or “the breath initiates each new movement and the body follows.” When the postures are simple and easily accessible, people can pay more attention to connecting with the breath and less on whether or not they are doing things “correctly” or in perfect alignment. Aim to loosen everyone up both in body and mind during this stage of the class.
Drishti and Bandhas
In addition to the breath, other things to bring awareness to are the gaze (drishti) and the energy locks (bandhas). This will help them to establish this important connection early on when the poses and transitions are still relatively simple. It will be easier to integrate them as the class becomes more challenging.
Voice and Music
At this point of the class if you play music, it can be gradually building into more dynamic tunes. As the energy of the class starts to build, so can the vibe of the music. The voice starts off a little quieter but it too gradually builds with the music, using more projection but still staying a bit soft.