In yoga teacher trainings, the query I most regularly ask of our college students is WHY? And this query could be very typically in the context of sophistication sequencing.
Because lots of you in all probability train vinyasa yoga of 1 type or one other, it’s useful to actually dissect the which means of the phrase to give focus and objective to your class sequencing. Vinyasa breaks down into two elements in Sanskrit—vi which means “in a special way” and nyasa which means “to place.” Which begs the query, what does “special” actually imply right here?
A vinyasa is a progressive and evolutionary sequence that unfolds with function, intelligence, and concord, very similar to the remainder of Nature. So, the “special” right here refers to your intention behind the sequence you create, the logic of every of your decisions and the inherent feeling of Natural stability that outcomes from the expertise.
The Essence of Intentional Sequencing: What’s the Purpose?
Before it exploded in reputation, many practitioners in the West started their journey into yoga asana with the extra orthodox and structured methods of Pattabhi Jois’s Ashtanga and BKS Iyengar’s faculty of yoga. It was the emergence of vinyasa move from these traditions, although, that basically catalyzed yoga’s large reputation. Vinyasa offered a chance for extra variety in the apply in contrast with conventional techniques and for academics to categorical extra creativity in their class creation. But as this type exploded onto the scene, a number of the nuance of its unique which means might have been misplaced. Many “vinyasa” courses turned extra of a free-for-all with little rhyme or cause to the sequence of postures. Perhaps this was an overcorrection from the set sequences of Ashtanga or the static nature of Iyengar? Regardless, you’ve the chance to dial it again and create skillful sequences with function and energy. Here’s how step-by-step.
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four Steps to Plan an Intentional Yoga Sequence
Step 1: Determine the aim of your sequence.
To return to the essence of vinyasa, prioritize intention and objective in your sequencing. Before we lay down a single asana, we would like to be clear concerning the intention of the journey so that each one of our decisions can help that intention. Try starting with an inspiration which will have roots in a number of of the next 4 areas:
1. Anatomical or biomechanical
For instance, you may plan a category round:
- The 5 actions of the backbone
- Stretching hip flexors
- Shoulder mobility
2. Energetic or feeling state
For instance, you may plan a category to have one of many following results in your college students:
three. Enhancing or balancing the power of a macrocosmic occasion
For instance, you may plan a category with the aim of balancing:
- world occasions
- holidays or celebrations
four. Supporting a selected demographic or the wants of a group
For instance, you may plan a category to help:
- high-stress populations like first responders
- athletes, or recreationally lively populations
- bigger-bodied practitioners
- pre- or post-natal moms
- trauma survivors, practitioners with PTSD, or at-risk populations
- medical circumstances
Step 2: Consider the character of every pose.
A pose isn’t a pose isn’t a pose. Once you’ve decided the aim of your sequence, you possibly can start to make skillful pose decisions to help your intention. While all poses might have worth, when it comes to their results, they don’t seem to be all created equally. Some postures are inherently extra targeted, require nice bodily effort, and have an enlivening and activating impact, like Warrior III. Others are extra enjoyable, require much less muscular effort, supply a chance to soften your focus, and have a grounding, centering impact, like Reclined Butterfly. When you’re able to see all asanas on the spectrum of their energetic impact, you can also make extra skillful decisions in your class sequences to help your intention for the category.
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Step three: Explore the relationships between poses.
Once you develop the talents to perceive the character of every particular person asana, take a look at how asanas are associated to one another in sequence. For instance, ask your self:
- Do these poses share the identical base or foot sample?
- What are the important thing bodily actions of those poses? Where do they overlap?
- What are the important thing energetic actions of those poses? Where do they overlap?
- Does this sequence of postures unfold harmoniously and easily?
- How does every pose have an effect on the posture that got here earlier than it AND the one which follows it?
- Am I being artistic for creativity’s sake or can I again up each posture in this sequence with logic and function?
Step four: Take a step again and stability your sequence.
Once you’re clear in your intention and have crafted a sequence that helps it, your subsequent take a look at your class must be via the lens of stability. Keep in thoughts that ha–tha refers to a union of polarities. In different phrases, stability. For instance, should you want is to activate your college students, can you discover the suitable stability of robust postures to ignite that in them however then additionally know when to give pause in order that they will discover sustainable effort? One perspective which will assistance is to see your class sequences as pranic (energetic) recipes. Is there a lot of 1 “flavor” that it will get overwhelming? Or, is there not sufficient of one other to improve and stability the first “taste”?
A sensible approach to study to do that is to start with pose decisions that clearly and absolutely help your intention for the category. Then take a second cross and search for apparent locations to insert one thing that might be balancing to the power of that sequence. Visualize a sequence of poses constructing one to the subsequent after which once you attain a crescendo of that exact power, insert one thing that balances it. I name these “digestif” moments. They aren’t all the time about taking relaxation, typically they’re only a pause or a shift in the motion to permit the scholars to digest the expertise you’ve simply co-created with them.
Embracing the definition of vinyasa in sequencing your courses might, in the brief time period, outcome in your courses taking twice, 3 times, or 4 occasions as lengthy to create! But as you regulate to this manner of crafting your courses, you will discover your self imbued with a sense of confidence and readability that comes from being so completely in alignment with intention. And whereas your college students might by no means know all the aim behind your choices on an mental degree, they may definitely really feel the holistic impact of your efforts!
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Teachers, need extra knowledge from Gina Caputo? Join her free webinar, Simple Is The New Advanced: Vinyasa Sequencing For Mindfulness, on Tuesday, July 25 at 2 pm EDT. Sign up today!
About Our Expert
Gina Caputo is the Founder and Director of the Colorado School of Yoga. Learn extra about her and the place you possibly can follow together with her at ginacaputo.com.