How to Sequence a Yoga Class

Stuck while planning your yoga class? Try my basic hatha yoga class template. Spice up the sequence with vinyasas between poses or slow it down by holding the poses for several breaths. Remove and add poses as you like to make it your own.

A basic class template gives me a foundation for my creativity.  


A basic class template supports your creativity

This template should be like a good recipe, a foundation for your creativity, not a restriction on it.

I teach yoga once a week after a full work day. Some days my mind is clear, but some days tired and cloudy. A basic template helps me support my inner state. When I am tired or feeling less creative, I stick closer to the template. When I am in a creative space, I range more. The class I teach is an all-level 90 minute hatha yoga walk-in class.

Additional notes on the template

  • I vary this sequence by changing my class theme, the focus of my alignment cues and/or the apex pose.
  • I always offer and demonstrate the beginner options for each pose.
  • My go-to apex or peak pose in this standard sequence is a backbend like bow pose or camel pose. I offer students with a strong practice wheel pose.
  • Because it is a mixed class, I have 5-10 minutes of “yogi’s choice” poses at the end so that level 2-3 students can practice advanced inversions like headstand. I offer newer students or students who are not inverting different options.
  • I always offer 5 minutes of meditation and 5 minutes end relaxation.

The sections of the template

I divided the 90 minute class into three 30 minute sections, each with three subsections. Sections and subsections help me with timing. Keep in mind, I never exactly make these times.  If you are over a main section by more than five minutes however, I suggest you goto the next section to have space for your peak pose and floor poses. Also, I do not teach every single pose in a subsection, rather I try to do poses from each group to give my students a well-rounded experience. The run time in the right column below is the time you should be finished by. 


The Basic Hatha Yoga Class Template

1

  • Settling in
  • Sun salutation variations
  • Shoulder opener / handstand prep

First help your students to settle in with seated meditation, cat cows and their first downward facing dog. Warm them up with sun salutation variations. I like to end this first section with a dolphin pose or L on the wall. Level 2-3 students can kick up into handstand on the wall.

2

  • Standing balance poses
  • Warriors and related poses
  • Backbend prep / backbend

The second section focuses mainly on standing poses to open the hips. I love to practice warrior poses after a long day at the office and most students do too. I wrap up with a backbend as the my standard apex pose.

3

  • Supine and seated poses
  • Optional: inversions 
  • Meditation and relaxation

The final section takes us to the floor for supine poses, seated poses, inversions, meditation, and relaxation. One of my goals is to make yoga “yoga” — a time to go inward and connect with our inner peace and wisdom. I discipline myself to give my students a proper cool down and a chance to meditate and relax.


1 Arriving and Warm-up

1a

Arrive and centering
Cat cows, child pose, first dog
Dog / plank flows

Run time: 15

1b

Low lunge to high lunge variations
Sun salutation variations

Run time: 25

1c

Arm strengthening prep: dolphin variation or L on the wall or kick up to handstand

Run time: 30


2 Standing Poses to Backbend

2a

Standing balancing poses:
Chair pose
Twisted chair pose
Tree pose
Eagle pose
Standing thigh stretch / baby dancer 

Run time: 35

2b

Warriors and related poses:
Warrior II
Side angle pose
Triangle pose
Half moon pose
Half moon pose with foot grasped or spread-leg forward fold pose
Vinyasa / AMS

High lunge or warrior I
Warrior III
Intense side stretch pose
Vinyasa / AMS

First the poses with externally rotated hips, then the poses with internally rotated hips.

Run time: 50

2c

Apex to backbend:
Cobra
Half frog pose
Bridge pose or bow pose
Camel pose or upward bow / wheel pose
Downward facing dog
Child's pose

Run time: 60


3 Cool down and relaxation

3a

Supine poses:
Wind removing pose
Happy baby
Supine spinal twist
Supine bound ankle

Seated poses:
Staff pose
Cow face
Wide split
Wide split (fold over left and right leg)
Extended bound angle
Seated forward bend

Run time: 70

3b

Free style practice:
Supported shoulder stand, or
self practice closing poses according to ability
Headstand
Shoulderstand
Plow
Fish

Run time: 80

3c

Meditation
End relaxation

Run time: 90

About the Author: Leigh Ann Kittell is a life coach, yoga teacher, and intuitive empath with an unquenchable curiosity about how to transcend the challenges of everyday life through self-development and modern spiritual practices. After a miraculous encounter with a Reiki master, Leigh Ann dedicated herself to learning as much as she could about esotericism and healing, with the goal of understanding the mechanisms through which she had healed, and how she could help others do the same. Leigh Ann teaches and works with individuals and groups internationally, sharing practices on connecting with higher forms of guidance, and helping people sense and develop a relationship with their soul. Born and raised in the United States, Leigh Ann has lived in Europe for the last twenty years, giving her a unique, global perspective on modern spirituality. She is a Martha Beck Certified Life Coach and brings more than two decades of research to her fresh approach to the topic of enlightenment.