How to Structure a Yoga Sequence Your Students Will Love!

by | Nov 4, 2022 | Yoga Teacher Continuing Education

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Yoga is one of the best things you can do for both your body and mind, but there is definitely an art to it. Aspiring or established yoga instructors may wonder how to create a yoga sequence that will keep their students happy and maximize the benefits they receive from doing yoga.

There are many things you must take into account when creating a yoga sequence, but the most important priority is making sure it has all the necessary parts to be successful. Keep reading to learn more about structuring a yoga sequence and some steps you can follow to prepare an excellent practice for your students.

What is a Yoga Sequence?

A yoga sequence is foundational to a yoga practice. Simply put, a yoga sequence is the various poses, or asanas, that you follow over the course of a yoga practice. A yoga sequence is typically very coordinated and is never random.

Yoga instructors have to plan their yoga sequence to make their practice as effective as possible. A yoga practice without a sequence would not be a yoga practice at all and people would struggle to see any benefit from it.

What Makes a Good Yoga Sequence?

So, we have established that a yoga sequence is essential for a practice, but it is also true that not all yoga sequences are created equally. The following considerations are all necessary to have a good yoga sequence:

  • Connectivity: A good yoga sequence will flow from one pose to the next in a way that harmonizes the body. Poses should be complimentary and make use of counter-poses and asanas that are interconnected rather than separate.
  • Gradualness: Sequences should be gradual, focusing on specific areas of the body before moving on to the next. For instance, you would not want to have a seated or rest pose and immediately move into an active, dynamic pose.
  • Length of time: On a more practical level, the length of time is also crucial. If you know how long your practice will be, you should create a sequence that will realistically fill the time and plan out in advance how long you will stay in each asana.
  • Difficulty level: Again, this will depend on your individual classes. However, the sequence you create should encourage your students to challenge themselves without pushing too hard. Select poses that will enable them to do this.
  • Modifications: When making a sequence, you should also choose poses that have easy modifications. If there is a student in your class who is not able to meet the requirements, keep in mind that your sequence will need to offer alternatives so that they can fully enjoy their practice.

With the above considerations, you will be able to create a great sequence. However, you still might be wondering what exactly are the different parts of a good yoga sequence. This information can help you choose which asanas to include in your practice.

What are the Major Parts of a Yoga Sequence?

A standard yoga sequence has several primary parts. These serve as a base to make sure that the sequence is maximizing the effectiveness of the practice. The following sections will explain each part.

Opening Meditation

The beginning of a practice should start with some sort of opening meditation. This centers the yogi and helps them prepare for the practice ahead. 

Usually an opening meditation can include the following things:

  • Setting intentions for the practice
  • Guided breathing
  • Chanting or chakra alignment

In general, the opening meditation is done seated, but some may choose to do it standing as well.

Warmup

The next phase of a yoga sequence should include poses that activate the yogis body and bring energy into their movements.

These should be low-intensity but energizing asanas, such as the typical cat and cow or a sun salutation.

Standing Poses or Flows

Once the body has been warmed up, the yogi can then move into more high-intensity poses that will activate a flow and encourage flexibility and range of movement. Depending on the focus of the yoga class, this sequence will look different.

Some yoga classes choose to focus on a variety of standing poses, such as a warrior sequence. Others with a Vinyasa aim may choose to do more integrated flows that incorporate a variety of floor poses like cobra asanas. 

If the focus of your class is flexibility or some other sort of stretching, this will be the highlight during this time.

The Most Difficult Pose

The yoga practice should culminate in a pose that tests the yogis strength and flexibility. This can be considered a peak pose that the yogi has been working up to over time. 

Remember that it is very important to offer modifications in this section, as the difficulty level may be too high for some of your students.

Floor and Hip-opening Poses

After the high energy of your flows and difficult asanas, it is time to get closer to the floor. This begins to downscale the energy of the class, and is a great time to focus on poses such as hip-openers that will make the most of the flexibility and loosened muscles that have been attained during the class.
Returning closer to the ground also prepares the yogi for the final phase, which is the meditation.

Savasana

Every yoga practice should end with Savasana, the minutes of meditation where a yogi lies on the floor in a meditative state. This is essential to reap the benefits both physically and mentally of a yoga class. Yoga instructors should allow their students about 2-5 minutes for this important phase.

How to Structure a Yoga Sequence Your Students Will Love!

Now that you know the primary components, you are ready to start creating exceptional yoga sequences. Follow this framework, and keep the goals and ability level of your class in mind.

Yoga should be accessible for everyone, and the wellbeing of your students should stay at the front of your mind while planning a holistic and dynamic class. Also, do not be afraid to take into account any feedback that students give you. Yoga is a learning process, and with a little experimentation you will soon find the perfect balance for your yogis.  

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