Why Each Yoga Instructor Wants a Go-To Sequence

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Certainly one of my first educating gigs was greater than an hour from my house. I’d spend my total commute alongside Los Angeles’ notorious 405 freeway curating my sequence for sophistication. (As Rosie Acosta completely describes in her e-book You Are Radically Liked, “You don’t really drive on the 405. You progress at a glacial tempo.”) I’d flip by my sequencing binder from yoga instructor coaching, mapping out each pose and transition from the primary breath to the ultimate “goodbye.” I used to be all the time extremely excited to show what I had labored so exhausting to create.

However many instances I’d stroll right into a room stuffed with college students who wanted the precise reverse of what I had deliberate. I’d need to train an intense arm steadiness or inversion apply, however half the scholars that day could be challenged with shoulder or wrist points. Or I’d need to go exhausting however everybody was seeming torpid.

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Sequencing a gaggle yoga class might be one of many extra artistic elements of educating yoga. However our sequences are finally meant to serve our college students. Most yoga academics—even those that don’t often plan what they train forward of time—agree that it’s important to have just a few go-to yoga sequences. These are sequences that we all know inside and outside and may train at a second’s discover while not having to suppose or put together. They’re backup choices we are able to depend on when our meant method doesn’t work with the fact of our scenario.

Go-to sequences additionally present a buffer on the times and weeks that inspiration—or time—is missing. Yvonne Kingsley, co-founder of Haum Yoga in San Francisco, agrees. When she began educating, she would typically sub courses on brief discover. Counting on “go-to” sequences enabled her to be ready to show at any second with out having to continually create a brand-new sequence.

And from a pupil perspective, there’s one thing comforting about acquainted sequences. I spent a few years learning Ashtanga yoga, which consists of predetermined sequences often called “collection.” Different kinds of yoga, together with scorching yoga, additionally depend on a “set sequence.” Realizing what’s coming subsequent can be comforting for college students and reassuring for the instructor to steer others by one thing acquainted. My go-to sequences have been essential throughout anxious instances once I’m battling grief or sickness. Not having to expend power choreographing class is an effective way to apply self-care whereas educating.

Planning sequences can generally disconnect you from what college students want. For instance, you will have realized a cool new transition to Vrischikasana (Scorpion) from Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stability). But when the general temper of sophistication appears extra in want of calming, save the transition for an additional day.

What to remember if you design a go-to sequence


Keep in mind, your motivation for utilizing a go-to sequence is often about holding issues approachable for each you and your college students. The extra accessible the poses and the less complicated the transitions, the simpler it is going to be not only for college students to observe, however so that you can memorize.

The longer I train, the extra I desire sticking to less complicated transitions relatively than getting tremendous artistic because it makes class rather more accessible for the plenty. This relies on the scholars you usually train, after all. Anybody who teaches an all-level class is aware of there’ll all the time be the choose few college students—typically within the entrance row—who’re excited to strive new issues. However let’s say you may have lots of people who’re new to your class otherwise you train beginner-style courses. Folks could really feel left behind or misplaced attempting to maintain up with overly complicated sequences, main them to really feel discouraged and doubtlessly turned off of yoga altogether.

You may also create go-to sections of sequences that you would be able to swap into class at any time. For instance, I like having a go-to calm down that I can incorporate into any class.


Your go-to yoga sequences might be themed in any manner you’d method a ordinary sequence, whether or not which means a peak pose, a physique half, an anatomical motion, or a theme that’s much less bodily and extra emotional, for instance, give up or self-love.

When the bodily apply is easier, it leaves more room for the extra complicated philosophical teachings. Counting on postures which are much less anatomically difficult— due to this fact requiring fewer cues— permits you extra space to speak about issues apart from the bodily physique throughout class. (It’s so much more durable to show sutra 1:2 if you’re additionally explaining to college students rotate and stabilize their knees so that they don’t injure themselves.)

London-based instructor Mia Togo has been educating yoga for practically twenty years. Her courses are extraordinarily well-attended, whether or not she’s educating in the UK or in her hometown of Los Angeles. Togo loves educating asana courses which are sequenced equally and as a substitute altering the theme—typically a yoga sutra—that she asks college students to discover. Working towards a well-known sequence wherein college students know what comes subsequent permits them to go deeper with the internal work and permits college students to combine their internal and outer worlds.


Your go-to sequences might be the identical precise sequences you’ve been educating because you had been licensed. Or they may evolve over time. My go-tos haven’t modified a lot within the final fifteen years.


Kingsley reminds academics that it additionally helps—and, really, is important—to know just a few “variations per pose which may be related to the scholars you’re educating.” This lets you make the extent extra applicable for everybody in your class.


It’s useful to create a number of go-to sequences which are themed in another way. Maybe you create one centered on the decrease physique, one other on the higher physique, in addition to one that’s slower in nature for those who usually train one thing quicker or vice-versa.


Simply since you are reusing the identical sequence doesn’t imply you possibly can cease educating the poses. Certainly one of my favourite workouts to supply once I lead the sequencing portion of the 300-hour YogaWorks instructor coaching is to offer trainees the identical mini sequence, however have them train it in numerous methods by merely altering the philosophical focus.

Togo reminds us that something achieved repeatedly is prone to get sloppy. For instance, courses that embrace a substantial variety of vinyasas—and Chaturangas—maintain the potential for repetitively working towards unsafe alignment. Finally, this may result in overuse accidents. It’s necessary to rigorously observe college students and cue protected alignment.

At all times enable time on the finish to chill down

Consider the ultimate portion of your sequence as bringing everybody again to their heart. It may be tempting to attempt to squeeze in only a couple extra poses, however make certain to permit sufficient time for counterposing, stretching, and the ultimate rest pose. If you end up all the time having issue developing with a cool-down part on the go, create a number of completely different go-to cool downs so you may have choices on days if you use all of your creativity by the top of your peak pose and wish a little bit help in getting by the remainder of class.

Want some inspiration in your go-to sequences?

Be a part of me this month on Yoga Journal as I share a few of my favourite go-to sequences. You need to use these cue-for-cue, borrow from the, or just discover inspiration to create your personal go-tos. This week’s go-to sequence is Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand).

About our contributor

Sarah Ezrin is an writer, world-renowned yoga educator, fashionable Instagram influencer, and mama primarily based within the San Francisco Bay Space. Her willingness to be unabashedly trustworthy and weak alongside together with her innate knowledge make her writing, yoga courses, and social media nice sources of therapeutic and internal peace for many individuals. Sarah is altering the world, educating self-love one individual at a time. She can be the writer of The Yoga of Parenting. You’ll be able to observe her on Instagram at @sarahezrinyoga and TikTok at @sarahezrin.



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