Take a Longer View: Choosing & Arranging Poses

A fundamental sequencing principle is the necessity of setting a class objective and this is a prime basis from which to choose poses. (See Sequencing Fundamentals.) Here we take that a step further and encourage teachers to take a longer-term view of class planning.  We call this a Strategic Teaching Plan or it could be called a teaching curriculum.

This is a high-level look at your teaching over a period of time, such as a season, month, or week. With a Strategic Teaching Plan, you clarify your intention for a particular time period or multiple time periods. The plan may be designed to:

  1. Balance the effects of seasons.
  2. Honor holidays and observances.
  3. Respond to particular conditions.
  4. Guide students deeper on a topic, whether philosophical, physical or other.
  5. Or, progress through a series of related topics.

See the expert wisdom below to consider how this impacts your choice of poses for each class.

Jason Crandell does a superb job of describing this topic here:

Crandell says, “We might end up with a really good one-off class, but if we don’t have a consistent curriculum and if we don’t have clear teaching points and if we are afraid of repetition, then we’re not really setting up a true learning environment where people are going to make efficient progress.” He believes that yoga teachers, like school teachers, should have well thought-out short-term and long-term objectives that they clearly communicate with their students; and that classes need to be consistent enough for students to truly learn appropriate technique and the poses. That isn’t happening if teachers feel like they need to be continually changing their sequences, themes, and focal points. – Meagan McCrary

And Baxter Bell offers excellent advice here:

I always consider what I taught last week in my classes. I typically teach a similar sequence in all my classes in a given week, modifying it a bit depending on the group of students who show up. Lately, I have been writing out my sequences at the start of the week… If you have a long-term goal that you’re working on, this can give you a clue about how to [plan] your practice. For example, if you are working on one of the four essential physical skills (strength, flexibility, balance, and agility)… you could select a poses or poses that focus on the area that you want to concentrate on.  – Baxter Bell

Go deeper: Creating Strategic Teaching Plans