Have a Clear Objective: Sequencing Fundamentals & Guidelines

Preparatory Questions

The most fundamental aspect of sequencing is setting a clear objective. Your objective will guide your choice of asana, breathing practices, thematic elements and other tools. The objective also helps in deciding against options, thereby narrowing the focus and increasing effectiveness. Questions that will help lead you to your objective include:

  • Who are my students?
  • What do I want them to learn?
  • What do I want them to be able to accomplish by the end of class?
  • What do I hope they will take away after practice?

Some types of objectives include preparing for teaching a peak pose, repeating a pose as a way to guide students to new aspects or a deeper expression of the pose, responding to a particular condition or energetic state, or teaching an anatomy-related principle. For more thoughts on setting an objective, see Inviting Inspiration.

Your objective should be specific and clear. Consider also, the value in clearly communicating the learning objective to students.

Be Specific

Before you show up, make sure you know exactly what you want to teach that day. Be specific: is it a pose? Is it a movement that happens in the body during the pose? Is it a region of the body? Is it an energetic or philosophical theme? Ask yourself: if my students could walk away learning ONE thing from my class today, what will it be? And let your sequence communicate for you. – Adrienne Kimberley

Avoid “Everything But the Kitchen Sink”

In any yoga practice one element is always dominant. If you want to make it asana, that’s fine, then breath can support it along with meditation and other things. If you want to make the breath a dominant element… then the asana and other things play a supportive role. Otherwise the practice can become an example of “everything but the kitchen sink”. You can organize your yoga practice around an idea, or meditation, or chanting, or ritual, or mudra – whatever you think will help you manifest the intention that you have for the class, as long as it’s one main thing. – Olga Kabel

Introduce the Learning Objective

A teacher may hope to help their students find balance in Tree Pose… If that teacher starts class introducing foot anatomy and weight placement in balance poses, they are setting their students up for success when it is time to practice Tree Pose. Starting class with a personal anecdote or discovery, a yoga philosophy lesson, thought-provoking question, etc. are also great ways to develop and introduce a class aim. – Ling Beisecker