Vinyasa Flow Sequencing: Choosing & Arranging Poses
Prioritize Safe Sequencing Over Artistry
- When sequencing vinyasa flow, all fundamental sequencing principles apply.
- In particular, while graceful transitions, unique pose flows, and other artistry may be an element of such sequences, teachers are cautioned to prioritize safe and sound sequencing principles.
Beware of Excessive Repetition & Unsafe Alignment
When sequencing a class that features a lot of repetition such as with Surya Namaskar or “vinyasa,” be cautious to:
- Safe alignment is always of top importance, but becomes even more so when a movement is repeated excessively.
- Consider other ways to meet objectives to offer a balanced and safe sequence. For example, Chaturanga Dandasana is an excellent strengthening pose but also has a number of risks, particularly when repeated excessively in a flow sequence. There are many ways to mitigate risks such as teaching alignment and variations. But there are even more options. You can, for example, do fewer “vinyasas” and more Chaturanga push-ups or longer holds, where you can oversee alignment and lessen the likelihood of unsafe transitioning due to repetition.
- Mindful Asana Transitions
- Surya Namaskar & Chandra Namaskar – Includes many detailed variations, videos and instructions
- The Future of Flow: 7 Questions for Vinyasa Teachers to Start Thinking Critically About (by Megan McCrary)
Class Arc: Bell Curve, Not a Triangle
Every vinyasa yoga class should follow a bell curve, not a triangle, to help practitioners avoid injury and leave class in a rested state. Here are the three essential components that every practice should have: A slow warm-up… a theme… a slow cool-down. You want to cool down SLOWLY to unwind the nervous system and land in a very even and gentle way at the end of the practice. This is so important — so many people walk away from a practice shaking and it’s inappropriate, especially to get in a car and drive home while you’re still amped up. – Eddie Modestini
Varying Sun Salutations
The Sun Salutations are the perfect place to showcase your creativity. Low-lunge twists, extended heart-openers, deep forward folds, even some balancing poses – pick two things that will give the class a taste of what you will be serving, and place them delicately within the sequence. I tend to make the first set of Sun Salutations long and creative by stepping back into Downward Dog, flowing through a short sequence, and stepping forward; the second set is shorter by stepping right back into Chaturanga and jumping forward; the third set goes right from Chair into jumping back, and then the main sequence starts. – Kendall Berents