Sequencing a Yoga Class - Harnessing Shiva’s Power

Sequencing a Yoga Class – Harnessing Shiva’s Power

sequencing a yoga classBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed and Faye Martins

Welcome to the world of sequencing a yoga class – where the art of arranging poses becomes a powerful tool for transforming your teaching or practice. Whether you’re a seasoned teacher or just starting your journey, understanding how to sequence a yoga class can take your experience to new heights.


Let’s explore the power behind sequencing and delve into Shiva’s energy as we unlock the secrets to creating an impactful and transformative yoga flow. Get ready to tap into your inner creative genius as we dive deep into the five sequencing elements and discover how they can elevate your practice like never before. Let’s harness Shiva’s power in this exciting exploration of sequencing a yoga class.


The Power of Sequencing

Sequencing a yoga class is like crafting a symphony, where each pose harmonizes with the next to create a seamless flow of movement and breath. It’s not just about randomly stringing poses together; it’s about creating an experience that takes practitioners on a transformative journey.

The power of sequencing lies in its ability to engage the body, mind, and spirit simultaneously. By intelligently arranging poses, we can target specific areas of the body, build strength and flexibility, cultivate mindfulness, and promote energetic balance.

A well-structured sequence can potentially ignite our inner fire (tapas) while offering moments of surrender and release. It allows us to explore various aspects of our practice – from grounding standing postures to heart-opening backbends or invigorating twists.

Sequencing also helps create a sense of rhythm within the practice. Like music with its ebbs and flows, sequencing guides practitioners through peaks and valleys – moments of intensity followed by periods of rest or reflection.

Moreover, sequencing allows creativity in teaching as instructors can design classes based on specific themes, such as hip openers for emotional release or balancing postures for finding equilibrium.

By understanding the power behind sequencing, we become facilitators who skillfully guide our students toward physical alignment, mental clarity, and emotional balance – all while honoring their unique needs and abilities. So let’s dive deeper into this art form as we explore the five elements that make up effective yoga sequencing.


The Five Elements of Sequencing

Sequencing a yoga class is an art that requires careful consideration and planning. Like the elements in nature, five key components form the foundation of a well-structured sequence.

1. Centering: Every class begins with centering, allowing students to tune into their breath and bring their focus inward. This sets the tone for the practice and creates a sacred space for self-reflection.

2. Warm-up: The warm-up phase prepares the body for more intense postures by gently loosening muscles and joints. It includes gentle stretches, mobilizations, and joint rotations to increase circulation and awaken energy flow.

3. Peak Pose: The peak pose is often considered the highlight of a yoga sequence as it challenges students physically, mentally, and emotionally. It represents the culmination of all previous poses and is a focal point throughout the practice.

4. Counterposes: After working toward a peak pose, it’s vital to offer counterposes that balance out any imbalances or tension created in the body during intense postures. These poses help restore equilibrium and provide deep relaxation.

5. Savasana: No yoga class would be complete without savasana – the final relaxation pose at the end of practice where students can integrate all they have learned on their mat into their daily lives while experiencing deep restfulness.

By incorporating these five elements into your sequencing, you’ll create a well-rounded experience that guides your students through physical challenges while nurturing mental clarity and spiritual connection – leaving them feeling balanced both on and off the mat.


What is Sequencing?

Sequencing in yoga refers to the intentional arrangement of poses within a class. It is like creating a well-choreographed dance, where each pose flows seamlessly into the next, allowing practitioners to move gracefully and effortlessly. As an architect plans every building detail, sequencing involves thoughtful planning and consideration.

At its core, sequencing serves two primary purposes: to create balance and harmony in practice and to support specific physical or energetic intentions. Instructors can guide students toward achieving their desired outcomes by carefully arranging poses that target different areas of the body or focus on particular themes such as strength-building or flexibility.

There are various sequencing approaches, each with its unique qualities and benefits. Some classes may follow a linear sequence, moving from one pose category (standing poses) to another (seated poses). This allows for the systematic engagement of different muscle groups and can provide a sense of structure for practitioners.

On the other hand, there are also circular sequences that flow continuously without distinct breaks between categories. These fluid movements help cultivate mindfulness by encouraging practitioners to stay present in each moment without anticipating what comes next.

Regardless of the approach, effective sequencing considers factors such as warm-up exercises to prepare the body for deeper postures; balancing opposing actions within sequences; incorporating breath work; and gradually building intensity before winding down towards relaxation.

Yoga sequencing is an art form that requires creativity balanced with intuition. It’s about crafting an experience that meets the needs of students while guiding them on a transformative journey through movement and self-discovery.


The Different Types of Sequences

Various sequences can create a well-rounded and balanced practice when sequencing a yoga class. Each class has its unique focus and purpose, allowing practitioners to explore different aspects of their body, mind, and spirit.

One type of sequence is the warming-up sequence. This sequence is typically done at the beginning of a class to prepare the body for more intense physical activity. It includes gentle stretching exercises and poses that help increase flexibility and range of motion.

Another type is the flow or vinyasa sequence. This dynamic style incorporates continuous movement with breath synchronization. It creates a flowing, fluid practice that builds strength, improves cardiovascular fitness, and enhances overall coordination.

There are meditation-based sequences for those looking to cultivate mindfulness and inner awareness. These sequences often involve longer holds in poses that require concentration and stillness. They provide an opportunity for introspection and deepening one’s connection with oneself.

In contrast, therapeutic sequences focus on relaxation and rejuvenation by using props such as bolsters, blankets, and blocks to support the body in passive poses for extended periods.

About Themes

Themed sequences revolve around specific intentions or areas of focus, such as hip-opening or heart-opening practices. These sequences allow practitioners to target particular areas or qualities they wish to develop within themselves.

By incorporating these sequences into your yoga classes or personal practice, you can create diverse experiences that cater to different needs at different times – keeping your routine fresh while continually challenging yourself mentally and physically.


The Benefits of Sequencing

Sequencing a yoga class is more than just putting together a random series of poses. It is an art and science that has numerous benefits for both the practitioner and the teacher.

One of the main benefits of sequencing is that it helps create flow and rhythm in yoga practice. Teachers can guide students through a seamless journey on their mats by carefully selecting and ordering poses. This allows practitioners to move quickly from one pose to another, cultivating grace and fluidity in their movements.

Another benefit of sequencing is that it helps create balance in the body. A well-structured sequence will include poses targeting different muscle groups, building strength, flexibility, and alignment throughout the body. This balanced approach enhances physical well-being and promotes mental clarity and emotional stability.

Progression in Practice

Sequencing also allows for progression in yoga practice. Students can safely explore their edge while deepening their practice by building upon foundational poses and gradually introducing more challenging ones. This progressive approach helps prevent injuries by allowing the body to adapt slowly to new movements and demands.

Furthermore, sequencing provides variety and keeps boredom at bay during yoga classes or personal practices. By incorporating different types of sequences, such as vinyasa flows, restorative sequences, or themed sequences (such as heart-openers or hip-openers), practitioners can experience diversity in their practices while focusing on specific areas or intentions.

In addition to these physical benefits, sequencing supports a deeper connection between mind, body, and spirit. When done intentionally with proper alignment cues and breath awareness woven throughout the sequence, practitioners are invited into a meditative state to immerse themselves in each moment on their mat fully.

Sequencing plays an integral role in maximizing the benefits of practicing yoga. Whether teaching or practicing alone, planning your sequences thoughtfully can significantly enhance your overall experience.
You can dive deeper into the physical benefits of asana practice by harnessing Shiva’s power to create flow, balance, progression, and variety.


How to Sequence a Yoga Class

When it comes to sequencing a yoga class, there are a few key factors to remember. First and foremost, it’s crucial to have a clear intention or theme for the session. This could be anything from cultivating strength and stability to finding inner peace and relaxation.

Once you have your intention set, you can start thinking about the structure of your class. A typical yoga sequence will include warm-up poses to prepare the body, followed by a series of standing poses, balancing poses, seated poses, and finally, ending with relaxation or meditation.

As you sequence your class, consider the flow between each pose. It’s essential to create a smooth transition from one pose to the next to maintain the energy and focus of your students. You may choose to link poses together through similar movements or themes.

In addition to creating a logical flow in terms of pose progression, it’s also beneficial to incorporate variety into your sequence. This could mean exploring different planes of movement (forward folds vs. backbends), working on specific areas of the body (hips vs. shoulders), or even incorporating different styles or traditions within your practice.

Sequencing a yoga class is an art form that requires creativity and intuition. As you gain experience as a teacher or practitioner, don’t be afraid to experiment with different sequences and find what works best for yourself and your students.

Understanding Shiva

Shiva is one of the primary male deities in Hinduism. He is frequently depicted as a reclusive, Yogic monk who spends his time practicing various spiritual austerities. He is one of three main gods, known in Hinduism as the Trimurti. Brahman and Vishnu are the other Hindu male deities referred to by this honorific title. Shiva exemplifies both the embodied and the formless divine male energy. Although Shiva is usually seen sitting on a tiger skin in Lotus Pose, he is also frequently depicted in his dancing form.

In a Yoga class, there is generally a warm-up portion of the class, a more active portion, and a series of finishing postures aimed at helping students to cool down, relax and restore their vital energy. An intuitive and effective krama, or sequencing of Yoga asanas, is a skill that is learned and perfected over time. Of course, if you teach a Yoga class to a multi-level group of students, structuring the class so that it is both challenging and accessible to all of your students is no easy task.


Changes with Experience

However, with experience as a Yoga teacher, you will be more able to choose which asanas to guide your students through and which Yoga poses to leave out of a particular class. As you select a sequence of Yoga asanas to present to your students, it is crucial to remember your students’ physical abilities, any special modifications that your students may need, the time of day, and even the time of year. A Yoga class that is skillfully sequenced will take all of these factors into account.

For instance, if it is a cold, rainy Friday evening, your students may resonate more deeply with a class that is focused on hip openers and restorative asanas to release any physical and mental tension that has accumulated during the week and to replenish their vital life force energy through restorative Yoga poses. This dance-like rhythm of warming up the body, heightened activity, and then rest the dance of Shiva. Shiva continually creates and dissolves all of creation through his divine dance or Tandava. It is a ceaseless, unified flow.

About the Pinnacle Pose

In the same way, using a sensitive and appropriate krama of asanas will assist your students in making steady progress in their Yoga practice. One method of designing a compelling sequence of Yoga poses is to choose a pinnacle pose to work towards.

A pinnacle pose is an asana that is usually the most challenging for the students in a given class. In terms of harnessing Shiva’s energy of creation, working towards a pinnacle pose increases the power and flow of the session until the pose is practiced.

Some examples of favorite pinnacle pose to structure a Yoga class sequence are Handstand, Lord of the Dance Pose, Crow Pose, Upward Facing Bow, and Hanumanasana. These poses are challenging and require most students to warm up well before attempting to practice the postures.

A pinnacle pose reflects the height of Shiva’s creative energy. Holding the posture metaphorically reflects Shiva’s ability to sustain his creation. A brief reading of a scriptural passage about Shiva’s creative energy may be a graceful way to weave some traditional Yogic teachings into your class.

Do remember to choose a pinnacle pose that is safe and accessible to the group of students whom you are instructing. After practicing the pinnacle pose you have chosen, it is recommended to slowly guide your students into a state of rest through a series of seated forward folding poses and Shavasana.



Sequencing a yoga class can significantly enhance the overall experience for the instructor and the students. By carefully crafting a sequence that flows seamlessly from one pose to another, you can create a harmonious and balanced practice that brings out Shiva’s power within.

Throughout this article, we have explored sequencing, the types of sequences you can incorporate into your classes, and the benefits of sequencing in your yoga practice. We have also delved into how to effectively sequence a yoga class, providing tips on creating transitions and incorporating variations.

One powerful pose that embodies Shiva’s energy is the Natarajasana or Lord of the Dance pose. This standing balancing posture strengthens and stretches various muscles and cultivates focus, grace, and determination – qualities often associated with Shiva.


Remember to always listen to your body when practicing yoga sequencing. Allow yourself to adapt and modify as needed while staying connected with your breath. Whether you’re an experienced yogi or just starting your journey, harnessing Shiva’s power through thoughtfully sequenced classes will undoubtedly deepen your practice and bring about transformative growth.

So embrace creativity in structuring your sequences! Explore new combinations of poses, experiment with timing and pacing, and, most importantly – trust yourself as you guide others through their unique journeys on the mat. Sequencing a yoga class is an art form designed to inspire a connection between mind, body, and spirit – it’s time for you to unlock its potential.


© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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