5 Ways to Creatively Sequence a Yoga Class

Need yoga lesson planning inspiration? Use these tips to stay inspired when creating new sequences for your yoga classes, so you and your students will never get bored.
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Need yoga lesson planning inspiration? Use these tips to stay inspired when creating new sequences for your yoga classes, so you and your students will never get bored.
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Use these tips to stay inspired when creating new sequences for your yoga classes, so you and your students will never get bored.

As yoga teachers, we are continuously planning our next class, coming up with creative themes, intelligent sequences, meaningful messages, epic playlists, and on and on. The more classes we teach, the greater our risk of becoming uninspired.

In the case that you’re stuck in a rut or are new to teaching and feeling a bit lost, find some inspiration in these five tried-and-true ways to sequence a yoga class. Become adept at sequencing in one or two of the ways below, and over time you’ll be able to deliver a great class—even on the fly.

See alsoSequencing Primer: 9 Ways to Plan a Yoga Class

5 Ways to Sequence a Yoga Class

1. Well-Rounded

A well-rounded yoga sequence includes all of the various groups of poses, focusing on equal parts strength, flexibility and balance, as well as moving the spine in all directions (flexion, extension, side bending and twists).

When you follow the basic template for a balanced sequence (opening, warm-ups, standing poses, inversions, backbends, twists, forward folds, and closing postures ending with savasana) you can easily swap out one pose for another in the same category to keep things simple yet interesting.

2. Peak Pose

Picking a peak pose to build toward, such as Side Plank (Vasisthasana) or Upward-Facing Bow Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana), is a fun and creative way to sequence your classes, introducing your students to a variety of asanas while showing them the path to get there.

Once you’ve picked your pose, consider what needs to be warmed up, opened, engaged, and taught in order for your students to feel some success in the apex of class. Of course, remember to incorporate counter poses in the cool down before final relaxation.

See also3 Ways To Help Students Conquer Their “Scary” Poses

3. Anatomical Focus

Focusing on a particular area of the body (whether that’s hips, shoulders, hamstrings, etc.) is an easy and effective way to plan a class that students will love and leave feeling the difference. But be sure to rotate the anatomical focus if you see the same students each week.

4. Teaching Point

Depending on the style of yoga you teach, pick one or two key actions to drive home each class. This will not only help you determine the poses in your sequence but also become more creative with your delivery and use of props.

5. Theme, or Bhavana

Choose a theme or bhavana (feeling) to sequence your class around, incorporating poses or groups of poses that help your students embody and experience the feeling, attitude and/or lesson your imparting. For example, your theme could simply be "gratitude" and your sequence (along with your instructions) could focus on the gentle lift of the chest and expansion of the torso moving toward heart-opening poses. Or your theme could be "knowing your own strength" and then you have your students hold Warrior poses. Themes are endless, there’s no right or wrong answer so be creative!

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ABOUT OUR WRITER
Meagan McCrary is a 500 E-RYT and writer with a passion for helping people find more comfort, clarity, compassion, and joy on the mat and in life. She’s the author of Pick Your Yoga Practice: Exploring and Understanding Different Styles of Yoga, an encyclopedia of modern yoga systems. You can find her teaching and retreat schedule, along with her latest offerings atMeaganMcCrary.com, as well as on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram.