Sequencing is the jam/cream (depending on which you prefer) in your practice. I’d go a melting moment.
The bottom biscuit is discipline, the cream/jam is the sequencing and the top biscuit is your understanding of the asana. Let’s talk about Iyengar yoga sequences in your home practice.
If you have sequencing nailed, you are a third the way there with your home practice.
A consistent home yoga practice comes down to awesome sequencing. You might know a bunch of asana and have the discipline to get on the mat, but if you don’t know how to put those asanas together to create a sequence that
Make you feel good
You will not be consistent in your practice.
I want to share with you 3 things about sequencing that will make a difference to your home practice
I want to tell you not just how to create a sequence but a sequence you actually want to follow, that you can’t wait to do, that makes you sweat and has an impact on the rest of your day.
Let's start at the very beginning (i hope you just sang that as Julie Andrews does in Sound of Music)
Let´s start at the very beginning
A very good place to start
When you read you begin with A-be-see
When you sequence you begin with A-r-c
A Sequence Arc is much like a story. It needs a beginning, middle, and end.
The Beginning is like setting the scene. Use this part of the practice to bring awareness to the body and minds current state. It is an opportunity to ease in and connect and engage your mind with your body. Start with easy poses that warm the body up.
The Middle is the bulk of your practice. Use this part of the sequence to practice more active and dynamic asana. Here is your chance to go deep into the asana, and peel back the layers. Include challenging asanas that demand your attention and focus.
The End is where we close the practice like a well-rounded story leaving the reader satisfied and wanting to come back for more. Use this part of the practice to wind down from the climax. Include asana which quietens and cool the body and mind.
As well as knowing how to create sequences that are well rounded we also want to be able to Tailor Sequences to meet our conditions.
Tailoring a Sequence to your conditions.
We need to consider our age, the season, ability, wellbeing, time of day and duration of practice.
In order to create a sequence that responds to how you are feeling follow these steps.
First, start by checking in with your body and mind and determines its current state.
Identify where you want to have your focus in your practice and set an intention.
Create a sequence of poses that compliment your intention
Practice each asana with your intention in mind
For example, if you have tight shoulders and upper back, include asana which releases and feel good for this area and practice each with that part of the body in mind.
It’s so easy to practice the same thing or similar asana each day, but boy is that boring and uninspiring and if this is you, have you noticed your practice hasn't progressed?
Here is one way to create a Challenging Sequence
Choose a challenging asana you want to reach at the climax of your practice. I like to call this the ‘Hero’ or ‘Champion’ pose.
List our asana that will help prepare you to get to your ‘Champion’ poses
List out counter poses for the ‘Champion’ pose. (for example if it is a backbend what do you need to do afterward to bring your body and mind back to neutral)
Slot your inversions in where appropriate
And there you have the starts of a more challenging sequence.
I recently created a 3 Part Video Series which goes into all the details about what I have suggested above and so much more.
In these videos, I literally step you through from A-Z of creating sequences for beginners to more experienced practitioners.
I even create sequences within these videos that you can copy down and use.
If you want more support in creating sequences for your home practice you can check out the videos I created here.
This is some feedback I have received from these videos
"You teach with such clarity and simplicity I feel, even, viewing the video replay is so very worthwhile!! I am loving every moment !! Thank you so much!!" Barbara Katz
"The nugget I’ve enjoyed most so far is the workbook 101 asana stick figures. What a time saver and a great way to compare the shapes of the poses when planning a sequence. Thanks!" Rebecca Salinas Wallace
"Main thing... watching how easily you could take a few poses from each section and create a focused sequence. You have inspired me." Debra Wheeler