Yoga Sequencing Lesson Plans

yoga sequencing lesson plansBy Sangeetha Saran

Is designing yoga sequencing lesson plans rocket science? Not really, but there are some basics involved in creating a sequence. Your human body is designed to move, move, and move! It is not, however, designed to move in all shapes and forms. When designing a safe yoga asana sequence, it’s important to remember one thing: Don’t take chances. Sounds simple enough, but accidents are more likely to happen in quick paced, kick-butt, boot camp, push-push classes with a demanding instructor, and a pinnacle pose of falling students who leave physically and emotionally injured. Worse yet, these carefully designed, ego crushing classes may leave students thinking: “Is that all there is to Yoga?” Nobody could crush an ego quite like Bikram and many people still copy his method and ideology. The concept is to torture students into lovers or haters and if they hate you enough, only the lovers will remain. However, let’s get back to keeping class safe with a solid sequence.

 

Here are some things to consider before designing yoga sequencing lesson plans at home. You can find lesson plans online or write out a sequence from your favorite video online. There are paid subscriptions, but DailyMotion, YouTube, Facebook, and this blog have plenty of free videos to keep you coming back for more. You can add or subtract techniques as you continue. That said, I would recommend staying with the same routine and an instructor you like, so that you know one or two yoga sequencing lesson plans by heart. For the sake of creativity, I have provided tips below that will help you, when you decide to create on your own.

 

Create at Your Own Sequence Home

Make sure you are practicing in a comfortable position and safe position. Clear anything out of your way on the floor or on the tables. You don’t want your computer monitor, for example, to suddenly create a new hole in your floor – the size of your foot.

Make sure that you do not stretch your body in a different shape than it is supposed to be in. Be very careful with any sequence steps regarding your head, neck, and arms. As your arms are going to be supporting your body weight any time you bend, you may need to limit your bending sequence activities.

Make sure that you feel comfortable with the asana sequence. Practicing a safe yoga sequence is all about being kind to your body. Learn how to use props, if you share what you learn with family and friends.

 

Step One: Decide how many steps the sequence is going to have. This may seem obvious, but think about it: how many steps is your asana sequence going to have? Don’t allow it to have too many, because otherwise you’ll be completely exhausted. Instead, just relax, take a deep breath and decide the number of steps that you can complete. Remember that you can always add more steps later.

Step One, Part A: Design the first move of the sequence. Design each move of the sequence, and make sure that it is safe. Watch videos from other Asana sequences. To first begin the sequence, you should be on the floor, not moving. Some people will start the sequence sitting normally, while others will just sit down. Your hands will likely be residing in your lap for this sequence. Deciding how you are going to sit will help decide when to start your sequence.

 

Step Two: Design the next moves of your sequence.

Design the following moves of your sequence. How you design this will ultimately depend upon you and your preferences of Yoga learning and how you best interact. Some people prefer to sit their Yoga sequence sitting in a certain position with their arms crossed and move to other positions. Other people prefer to start standing up.

Yoga Asana Sequence Example

Start standing up and warm up in a standing position. Hip circles, arm swings and Sun Salutations are great for stirring up energy in the early part of the day. Continue with a standing series and a balancing challenge with options or modifications for all. Move to a Table series on all fours. A kneeling series is next and a Half Camel is always a beginner friendly option for students. Move to a seated series, prone series, and supine series. This just one of a million options, but it’s a simple start before the relaxation or meditation practice.

 

Asana sequences can be anything that you want them to be, but here are some good guidelines to follow: You could start by sitting down. Spend a few minutes relaxing your mind so that you can clear it of all the thoughts that might be destructive to the Yoga practice. Move slowly to a standing position. Do not strain your body by making a sudden move too fast.

Throw in a few classic Yoga poses that are used in almost every sequence. The Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) in morning hours and Chandra Namaskar (Lunar Flow) during the evening are two great ideas for working with classic sequences. You can always add your own creativity later. Remember to cool down after your safe yoga sequence is complete.

 

After all that, you might still want a written sample of just one of the many Yoga sequencing lesson plans? I understand, but want you to understand that your creativity in designing a lesson plan is a great mental exercise for Yoga teachers. The mental exercise of designing lesson plans keeps your brain healthy by creating new neural pathways! Nevertheless, a sample sequence is listed below. Breathing counts are supplied in the beginning to gauge time. You can add your own breathing counts, if you like. Always repeat the opposite side, if there is one. Please feel free to modify this sample and add your own notes.

Opening Greeting

Rooting / Standing Warm Up

Move to Easy Pose (Seated)

Bhastrika Pranayama in Easy Pose 10-30 breaths

Seated Head to Knees 3-6 breaths

One Legged Boat 2-4 breaths

Bound Angle Pose

Staff Pose 1-4 breaths

Forward Bend 3-6 breaths

Table Pose 3-5 breaths

Cat and Cow x5

Calf Stretch

Sun Bird Pose

Balancing Cat (Table) Pose

Elbow to Knee x3

Child’s Pose 3 breaths

Downward Facing Dog

Walk Feet to Hands

Half Forward Bend

Swan Rise Up

Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Swan Dive to Feet

Half Forward Bend

Plank

Chaturanga

Upward Facing Dog

Downward Facing Dog

Walk Feet to Hands

Half Forward Bend

Swan Rise Up

Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar) with Ujjayi Pranayama X3

Wide Legged Forward Bend

Runners Lunge

Crescent Lunge

Warrior III Pose

Lizard Pose

Twisted Lizard Lunge

Downward Facing Dog

Pigeon Pose

Knees to Chest Pose

Bridge and/or Variations x3

Supine Twist

Knees to Chest Pose

Happy Baby Pose

Shavasana

Meditation and/or Relaxation

Optional Mantra Practice

Closing

This is a sequence to work with, modify, add, subtract, multiply, or divide. Each facility, with have different scheduled times. Many classes are around an hour, but be prepared for facilities that vary from 30-minutes at Noon to two hours in the evening. This means you have to do a “dry run” first. Practice creates familiarity. If there is no clock in the facility, use your phone or a watch. Most of all: Have fun, learn from mistakes, and be patient with yourself.

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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Perfectionists demand excellence, and excellence can contribute to safe, effective yoga practice. However, perfectionists may have a difficult time trying new things and striving for continued improvement; instead, they may prefer to stay with what they know they know they can achieve. In other words, the fear of making mistakes can result in excellence, but it can also result in stagnation.

As a yoga teacher, coaching students to push themselves to accomplish new skills is important to help them achieve their fitness goals. However, demanding teachers can also fall into the perfectionistic trap of asking for too much from their students. Caution and care are always important to avoid injury; the student who pushes too hard may be at risk. Additionally, a demanding teacher can potentially make a perfectionist student feel like she or he is failing, and it may cause her or him to discontinue studies. These types of teachers demand students to fit into yoga sequencing lesson plans that may contain a nearly impossible peak pose.

 

Yoga is about each student doing his or her best, achieving personal goals and not comparing oneself to others. It can be difficult to not notice how much more accomplished a classmate is during a yoga class; this can lead to a feeling of inferiority or competition. An encouraging, reinforcing teacher will be mindful of each student’s individual progress and praise noticeable improvements. Each student should work happily within the scope of his or her body and current skills, with a comfortable pose and alignment that avoids injury and allows the student to gain strength.

The yoga class should be free of critique and filled with supportive energy. Yoga can provide peace of mind for a perfectionist, and it will assist both student and teacher in finding calm. Yoga assists the student in finding a focus on big-picture importance rather than the minute details of life. A focus on breathing, comfort and personal goals will allow students to use yoga class to focus only on their own bodies and to set the same mindset for other aspects of their daily lives.

The beauty of yoga is that there is no competitive aspect. Although yoga sequencing lesson plans are important, we know asana is not yoga. Asana is not the most important aspect.  Yoga is an individual art, with simple goals to improve health and relieve stress. Yoga should make students feel good about themselves, with the encouragement of a supportive teacher who is neither demanding nor looking for perfection.

© Copyright Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

3 thoughts on “Yoga Sequencing Lesson Plans”

  1. By watching videos with asana sequences we could design each move of the sequence, and make sure that it is safe for us. Never thought of creating a sequence by using the video as a template. It’s obvious now, but it’s a great idea!

  2. Yoga is all about being kind to our body. So when you are designing a safe yoga asana sequence, make sure that you feel comfortable with the asana sequence.

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