Overview of Sequencing Guidelines: Choosing & Arranging Poses

Here the focus is on the specific task of choosing and sequencing poses. But of course, poses are only one part of a yoga practice. To learn more about sequencing other practices, please see Sequencing to Balance Energy and Class Elements.


  1. Have a clear reason for the choice and placement of every pose in a sequence.
  2. It’s generally accepted that a balanced yoga practice will move the spine in each of its directions.
  3. Moving joints through their full range of motion can help prevent injury as well as relieve joint pain and stiffness.
  4. Use knowledge of the agonist / antagonist muscle relationship when sequencing and class planning.
  5. Be mindful of promoting overall balance, noting in particular the area of strength and flexibility.
  6. When preparing for a peak pose, introduce a progressive sequence of poses that educate the student and imprint actions in the body.
  7. Consider length (or proportion of lengths) of each segment of class. This will help to avoid having a backbending series take too long or finding that the proportion of standing vs. seated poses doesn’t feel right or that the cool down is rushed or Savasana is too short.

Reasons for Choosing Poses

Poses are chosen for such reasons as:

  1. To connect breath and movement.
  2. To heat or cool the body.
  3. To loosen up or engage a body part.
  4. To support an energetic arc of class.
  5. To imprint an anatomical action via a pose that is less demanding than one to come.
  6. To move the spine in a particular way.
  7. To neutralize between different spinal movements.
  8. To counter the effects of a deep pose.

A Purpose for Every Pose

When I train teachers, I always ask, “Why did you select that particular pose?”  If they can’t answer, I make them go back to the drawing (sequencing) board. – Bernadette Birney

See Also