How To Sequence A Yoga Class

by | Feb 16, 2022 | Home Practice

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There are many different ways you can sequence a yoga class. Depending on the intention of the class and the audience it is being offered to, the possibilities are endless. Sequencing is the order and structure of a yoga class. Your sequence can be informed by theme or function and should aim to provide space for students to safely explore movement connected to breath. 

The pose you choose to begin your class can vary – if it’s the morning, you might consider keeping your students standing. If it’s an evening class, maybe you begin with the students on their backs. Your first pose would support the process of setting up the breath. Next, you might move through a series of warm-ups to help prepare the body and mind for practice. From a trauma-informed perspective, this is a good time to inform you about where the class is going so they can prepare to create space for practice.

Many teachers sequence using a technique called “flow to peak”. In this method, teachers move students towards a peak pose that leverages the movements that previous postures relied on to find expansive expression. Once the warm-up is complete, you’ll enter your flow-to-peak section. During this phase, you might guide the students through a series of asana (postures) to help communicate the purpose and theme of the class. The phrase flow-to-peak refers to the way you build on each round of flow, eventually working your way towards a peak pose.

This could look like doing the same sequence but adding on another pose before the vinyasa transition or intensifying the variation offerings with each round. This is where we can begin to establish moving meditation, inviting the students to turn their awareness inward. After your flow-to-peak, you will begin to move through a cool down. The cooldown is just as it states; it is a way for us to begin to slow down the heart and breath rate if needed. You will always want to give time for savasana at the end of your cooldown. Savasana is the time for rest and integration. It is just as important, if not more so than the movement that leads us there. 

Let’s take a look at three example yoga sequences to help demonstrate what your sequence might look like. 

Beginner Vinyasa Flow Class

Setting up the breath

  • Tadasana with guided meditation
  • Ujjayi breathing

Warming up

  • Upward salute
  • Forward fold
  • Half lift
  • Fold
  • Left hand on ground, bend left knee, right fingers to the sky 
  • Right hand on ground, bend right knee, left fingers to the sky 
  • Forward fold
  • Half lift
  • Fold
  • Upward salute
  • Tadasana

Flow to energetic peak 

  • Sun salutation A with options, three times
  • Child’s pose
  • Sun salutation B with options, three times
  • Tadasana
  • Tree pose right
  • Upward salute
  • Forward fold
  • Inhale half lift
  • Chaturanga dandasana 
  • Baby cobra or upward facing dog
  • Downward facing dog or child’s pose
  • Forward fold
  • Half lift 
  • Fold
  • Upward salute
  • Tadasana 
  • Tree pose left 
  • Upward salute
  • Forward fold
  • Inhale half lift
  • Chaturanga dandasana 
  • Baby cobra or upward facing dog
  • Downward facing dog or child’s pose
  • Forward fold
  • Half lift 
  • Fold
  • Upward salute
  • Tadasana 
  • Malasana
  • Sukhasana, easy seat
  • Dandasana, seated staff pose
  • Navasana, Boat pose

Cooling down

  • Savasana
  • Wind removing pose right
  • Wind removing pose left
  • Both knees to chest
  • Supine twist right
  • Supine twist left
  • Ananda balasana, Happy baby
  • Savasana 

Seated, Gentle Yoga Class

Setting up the breath; you are invited to incorporate yoga props as applicable. 

  • Guided meditation with box breathing

Warm-up

  • Seated cat-cow
  • Seated twists
  • Seated leg lifts
  • Point and flex the toes

Flow to energetic peak

  • Seated upward salute
  • Seated forward fold
  • Seated warrior 2 right
  • Reverse warrior
  • Seated goddess
  • Seated wide-legged forward fold
  • Seated warrior 2 left
  • Reverse warrior
  • Seated goddess
  • Seated wide-legged forward fold
  • Hands on knees dip the left shoulder, gaze right
  • Hands on knees dip the right shoulder, gaze left
  • Repeat from upward salute 2 more times 

Cooling down

  • Hands at heart center notice the breath
  • Seated forward fold
  • Cross right leg over left, seated twist
  • Cross left leg over right, seated twist 
  • Seated forward fold

Savasana 

  • Place blocks, bolster, or stool beneath feet to offer support

Beginner Hatha Class

Setting up the breath

  • Sukhasana with nadi shodhana and guided meditation 

Warming up

  • Seated twist left
  • Seated twist right
  • Seated forward fold
  • Switch the cross of the legs, repeat
  • Table top
  • Cat cow
  • Bird dog
  • Child’s pose

Flow to energetic peak 

  • Tadasana
  • Forward fold 
  • Tadasana 
  • Forward fold 
  • Tadasana 
  • Warrior one left
  • Pyramid
  • Triangle
  • Warrior one right
  • Pyramid 
  • Triangle
  • Tadasana 

Cooling down

  • Seated forward fold
  • Seated head to knee left
  • Seated head to knee right
  • Bridge
  • Reclined bound angle 
  • Savasana 

There are a lot of ways to sequence a yoga class. Various yoga teacher training courses, whether in person or online, will offer different suggestions. Ultimately, referring back to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is the best way to ensure a yoga class is sequenced with loving-kindness, compassion, consideration, and support.

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