Creating your own yoga practise 1: Playing with sequencing

Planning and building

Playing with sequencing

I just started a new class for the autumn season. I wanted to do something a bit different to my Sunday class and, as is usual with me, began over-thinking the whole thing. The class is at 5:30 pm on a Fridays. It is a difficult time as the majority of people arriving at the class will have been working all day. This suggests that I should look at a relaxing practise but, on the other hand, it would also be perfect to get the energy flowing ready for the weekend. This is where the fun starts and is one of the parts of instructing yoga that I love – sequencing. Sequencing a class really enjoyable as you can play with it on so many levels. It can also open up a whole new level for your own, home practise. Rather than giving a list of rules or ideas I will give explain the ideas I had behind this class.

I began with the idea that people may be lacking energy after a long week at work so we will start slowly.Instead of taking our pranayama breathing sitting we begin on our backs. We then go into a warm-up sequence in the hips.

After downward dog we go into a sequence of three different sun salutations, each one more vibrant and dynamic than the last. The theory is that we are increasing the energy flow. For the record I use Surya Namaskar classic, then Surya Namaskar A, followed by a modified version of B. Surya Namaskar B is modified to include Virabadrasana three instead of two because I have a lot of open hip work afterwards. It is an advantage to have to closed hip asana here.

From here on in we keep the flow. The standing sequence follows directly. We go into Utthita Parsvakonasana (extended side-angle), Trikonasana (triangle), Parivrtta Trikonasana (twisted triangle), Ardha Chandrasana (standing half-moon) on each side and then vinyasa down to the mat. This is why I kept Virabadrasana two out of the mix, as I mentioned above. Every position in this sequence is with open hips.

Seated positions can vary but tend to include Paschimottanasana (forward bend), Dhanurasana (the bow), Ananda Balasana (happy baby) and Supta Matsyendrasana (supine spinal twist). The thought behind these is that foward and back bending are both included with a smooth transition over to savasana (the corpse pose) and relaxation through the last two asana.

I hope this gives you some inspiration for putting together a practise at home but I appreciate that this can be a bit tricky and daunting. Over the next few parts of “creating your own practise” I will break it down even further to work towards making everything a bit easier. Have a great weekend.


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