How Long to Follow a Sequence?

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Read Nicki Doane's response:

Dear Anonymous,

Your students should follow a sequence for as long as it serves him or her. This is especially true if it has been prescribed by a seasoned teacher. Before you prescribe a sequence for your students' daily practice, you should know the benefits of that sequence, and the student should feel the changes that it's making in her life. Instruct the student to monitor those changes with intelligence.

An ideal situation, of course, would be for the teacher to watch the student do the prescribed sequence. If the work she is doing on her own is correct, it will be evident. This is possible in either a private session or a one-on-one class such as a Mysore-style practice.

It can be a good idea to vary certain elements of practice daily. I like to alternate backbends, forward bends, twists, certain inversions, and arm balance postures from day to day. It feels more balanced in my body.

However, I personally have done different things over the years in my practice, ranging from practicing the same series every day for years to varying the sequence daily. Both methods have served me well and have, I believe, contributed to my having a well-rounded practice.

Nicki Doane had a wanderlust that led her to India in 1991 to study yoga. She went to Mysore to meet Sri K Pattabhi Jois and immediately realized she had found her teacher. Nicki started teaching in 1992. She cites Pattabhi Jois, along with Eddie Modestini, Gabriella Giubilaro, and Tim Miller among her most influential teachers. She is an authorized teacher of Ashtanga Yoga. Although rooted in Ashtanga, Nicki's teaching goes beyond the traditional. Her classes combine asana, Pranayama, philosophy, and poetry. The emphasis is on awareness: creating integrity within each pose that can be carried beyond the mat into daily life. Nicki lives in Sebastopol, California with her husband, Eddie Modestini. Together, Eddie and Nicki co-direct Maya Yoga Studios in both California and Maui, Hawaii.