Sequencing By Action

In this mode of sequencing a practice is constructed around the theme of an anatomical action, say the outward turning of the thigh bone in the hip socket or the elongation of the sides of the trunk. This can be an extremely versatile way of sequencing as the theme can be simple or advanced.

When organizing such a practice, it is important to think of the level of complexity of the action in the poses you wish to practice.

Step 1: Find a way to isolate the action in the simplest set-up possible, preferably in a quasi-restorative mode so that rest of the body is fully supported so the student does not have to concentrate on anything else. Find a pose where the action is extremely clear and then simplify the pose as much as possible. If you select Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) as the quintessential pose that expresses the action, for example, then do "Half-Dog" in a right angle with the fingertips at the wall, the feet flat on the ground and the hips stacked up over the heels.

Step 2: Introduce your quintessential pose, but take the time to explore the action so that the students fully understand it and can execute it well. Use props or partner work to further break the pose down. With our Adho Mukha Shvanasana, for example, you could do the pose on ropes. Or the students could help each other by putting a belt around the hips and gently drawing them back.

Step 3: Play with the action and master it in a variety of different poses where the action is still fairly accessible, usually in standing poses and simple inversions or floor poses.

Step 4: If you, or your students, have mastered the action in simpler poses, you are then able to add more complexity by doing poses that are more challenging. If you find that the action gets "lost" in the pose, go back to simpler poses to recapture it.

Step 5: Integrate the action in a restorative pose. Here you want to be completely supported and passive in the pose so that you can observe the effect of your work up to this point in the body. As you move towards Shavasana (Corpse Pose) and the breath begins to settle, you can observe how the body part you have been working on relates to the whole and to the breath.

Related Posts:
Modes of Sequencing
Sequencing For Balance Within A Practice
Sequencing By Category Of Poses
Sequencing By Progression Deeper Into The Body
Sequencing By Progression According To Pose And Counter-Pose
Sequencing By Energetic Quality
Sequencing By Physiological Quality