5 Sequencing Tips For Online Yoga
Sequencing can be one of the most creative aspects of teaching. “Sequence” generally refers to the order of poses that make up a class. Certain styles, such as Ashtanga teach a fixed sequence, which means that the practitioner does the same posture every time.
For other styles, such as vinyasa flow or Iyengar, teachers can flexibly design different sequences for each class. But the sequence is more than just a list of poses.
I like to think that the sequence will tell a story. There is a clear beginning, middle, and end. A good sequence can systematically open and strengthen the practitioner’s body while keeping their mind focused through a clear direction.
In addition to posture, a well-executed sequence also considers the larger environment in which the classroom takes place. For example, if you lead an outdoor studio retreat in Hyderabad, there is no point in teaching an inverted workshop involving walls. Or in someone’s backyard.
Another useful part of tracking the sequence is where the student should be on the mat or in the room in each pose. This ensures that students have enough space to do what they are doing, and it can be a good way to set the next posture.
Let us now look at the specific considerations for designing home practice sequences for online learners:
1. Students May have Limited Props
When setting up yoga classes online, or even teaching private lessons at home, keep in mind that most people cannot use many (if any) yoga accessories.
You may like the restorative reclining hero pose (Supta Virasana), but without three blankets and a cushion, some students may not be able to use this pose.
This is not to say that you should not try to merge accessories. Instead, consider alternatives to standard accessories. For example, wear a normal belt instead of a yoga belt. Or towels instead of blankets. Or piles of books instead of building blocks. Use your own home as a laboratory and have fun with the solutions you find.
2. Make Sequences for Smaller Spaces
Suppose people have limited space for activities. If you have ever been lucky enough to practice yoga in a European hotel (or your child’s room), you will know for the first time that you only need the circumference of the mat to get an excellent practice effect!
Ways to modify tight spaces may include omitting the suggestion of raising your legs on the downward dog before stepping forward. Or when entering or exiting Uttanasana to pay homage to the sun, an instruction to move the arm forward instead of to the sides.
3. Have Smaller Classes
Most of the online platforms I teach are repetitive, and the course duration is only 60 minutes. Some teachers may think this is not good for the future of yoga, but I think it is actually promising!
People want to make sure they do yoga, even if they only do it for 30 minutes that day. Organize courses of different lengths to see what is best for your group of students. I found that the best time for home practice is 60 minutes.
4. Have Small Pauses in Between
If you are teaching online yoga classes, you can give your students more control over their experience. The beauty of practicing at home is the ability to adapt the classroom to their needs.
For example, I remind people that if they want to generate more heat, they can ask for a small break and do the sun salutation a few more times, or if they want, they can keep one side of the posture for longer.
I especially use this advice with savasana to encourage people to maintain their final posture when needed. Online yoga is a good way to train students to meet their own needs.
5. It is ok, If There Are Distractions
The challenge of practicing at home is everything else that catches our attention, from dirty dishes to cute dogs. With this in mind in advance, teachers can design their sequence in a way that helps focus on the present.
For example, really emphasize breathing or appearance. It is also helpful to approve students to set aside physical and mental space for practice.
At first, it seems impossible to access completely blank walls or branded accessories, which seems to be a limitation, but online yoga teaching is a great way to expand creativity. Not only will you be exposed to new people, but you may also be exposed to new parts of yourself as a teacher.
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