Yoga Sequencing Blue Print: How To Combine Breath & Movement During A Yoga Sequence?

There is only one golden rule when it comes to building a sequence.  


Your job as a yoga teacher is make sure each and every pose flows gracefully into the next (unless you’re teaching Yin Yoga).  

Disruptive Flow
Standing backbend > Sitting in Lotus > Standing Forward bend

Going from standing to sitting to standing is chaotic and a waste of energy.  The transition from one pose to the next should be done with the absolute minimal amount of effort.

Graceful Flow
Standing backbend > Standing Forward bend  > Downward Facing Dog

Think harmony.  

Think flow.  

Think gracefulness.  

After getting the flow right, the next thing is to consider how to combine breath and movement.  

Four Breathing Exercises To Use During A Yoga Sequence 

Abdominal Breathing 

Ask your students to practice “abdominal breathing” during each movement.  

All you need to tell your students is to imagine their belly is a balloon that inflates on the in-breathe and deflates on the out-breath.  When they go into the pose they could inflate their balloon and when they transition to a new pose they could deflate their balloon.  

Breath Counting 

Ask your students to “count their out-breath breath” during each movement.  

You can something like this:   Today we are going to “count our out-breath” during our yoga flow sequence. Keep the breath quiet and slow.  It’s very simple.   All you need to do is count to “three” (don’t count any higher than “five”) as you exhale in the pose.  The next time you exhale in the pose you can count higher (or lower), but remember not to count any higher than “five” and count only when you exhale. 

Complete Breath 

Ask your students to practice “one complete breath” during each movement.  

This has the effect of turning the movements into slow motion (almost as if they are performing the movements in water). For example if you were teaching Downward Facing Dog, you can something like this:  “From All Fours, inhale slowly through nose to a count of 4 into Downward Facing Dog, feel abdomen, mid-body (diaphragm area), and upper chest gently expand until you fill your lungs to capacity. When coming back down to All Fours, exhale  slowly through your nose to a count of 6, gently engage abdomen, feel body and diaphragm coming back to centre as you empty your lungs.”   

Ujjayi Breath 

Ask your students to practice “one complete Ujjayi breath” during each movement.  

For example if you were teaching Downward Facing Dog, you can something like this: “From All Fours, inhale through your nose, and exhale slowly through a wide-open mouth. Direct the out-going breath slowly across the back of your throat with a drawn-out HA sound.  When moving into Downward Facing Dog inhale through your nose, and when coming back down to All Fours exhale slowly through a wide-open mouth.”  

If you like the idea of creating yoga sequences quickly, take a peek at Yoga Sequence Builder within The Yoga Teacher Lesson Plan Kit.  

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George Watts

BWY Yoga Teacher at George Watts Yoga
This post was lovingly morphed into reality by BWY yoga teacher, George Watts. If you're looking for a treasure trove of yoga lesson planning goodness, take a quick peek at Yoga Teacher Lesson Plan Kit.

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