In this exploration of yoga practice, I discuss fostering a yoga sequence that is intuitive rather than one that is done the “right way” or one that is repetitive. Of course following the body’s lead will be more or less accessible to practitioners of yoga depending on how clear and open the channel is for listening and connecting to one’s own body in movement and in life.
There are reasons and times for having and following a fixed sequence. Safety concerns may play a part in tending towards a more set practice sequence approach, which is a valid concern especially for beginning students who are learning the poses and building sequence structure or if a student is working therapeutically. In order to establish a steady practice and a regular routine, this can require basic building blocks and a set sequence to begin from.
In teaching a general class of students my teaching layout is usually specific and intentional. Certainly for workshop preparations. I create an outlined, arced and ordered posture sequence around a central theme with a progressive movement to an apex followed by counter poses and/or pranayama for overall balance. It is a sequence that speaks the language of yoga to a greater variety of bodies…
The Language of Sequencing
A sequence of yoga poses is a kind of language and communication tool within the body/mind/heart flow. Similar to stringing words together to form a sentence, there is a structure to sequencing that supports communication and understanding. If without some kind of organization, a sequence of poses or collection of words can be disjointed and therefore difficult to take in the fuller meaning or have a meaningful or beneficial impact.
In my own practice I come to the mat with a sense of both purpose and curiosity, intimacy and reverence. Even if I have the motivation to bring myself to the mat, even when aiming for a specific peak pose in the arc of my sequence, I will feel my way through my body in order to unfold and free up the physical, emotional and mental elements that invite me into a deeply satisfying and rebalancing yoga practice.
Success for a naturally inspired individual practice sequence, as well as deriving the most benefit from our practice relys on cultivating both listening inward but also knowledge. Knowledge empowers our practice potential. We can bring to our practice what we have learned from our reliable teachers and other resources about the affects of the yoga postures and benefits of a balanced yoga sequence. Certain postures are heating and other’s cooling, each one more stimulating or calming or balancing… Cultivating an experiential understanding as well as working closely with skilled, wise teachers who utilize creative and intelligent sequencing principles helps to build a solid foundation of confidence to meet one’s current needs and to embark on a solo yet expansive practice journey.
Enjoy your yoga journey!