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Sequencing with Noah Maze- Toronto, June 2011

Three components of an Anusara class:

–       heart based theme

–       UPAs

–       Asana sequence

–       You can plan a class starting from any of those three points

–       “teaching Anusara is a creative process. Method always requires my creativity”

Three types of students (from Christina Sell)

–       mystics- get message and energy of room. Theme/heart/iccha

–       egineers- details of pose and alignment (bring their protractors to classJ) . UPAs/mind/jnana

–       athletes- how much did a sweat, did I get deeper/further than before. Asana sequence/action/ kriya


Important questions guide our teaching:

–       what am I trying to accomplish in this class/practice?

  • Trying changing your intention. Try peak pose in set amt of time- can I get there and it feels good?

–       What level class? What syllabus are we working with?

–       Who is my audience? What do they already know?

–       What are the knowns and unknowns?

–       In what pose does this (action/principle/quality/sequence) come easily? For free?

–       In what poses, when I get _____(the quality/action/principle)__ does a break through occur? Ie, the pose deepens, heart opens, pain alleviated, something new becomes possible that wasn’t possible before.

–       In what pose does the UPA/key action solve a common misalignment? Pay off…


Heart based theme:

–       philosophical teaching, mythic, life experience, stories, images, poems…

–       change tone in voice to emphasize heart qual

–       ex) patience- longer holds (use timer) of familiar poses. UPA- OTG, pausing, in pause, softening…

Planning a class using the there diff components of ME as starting point…

Three components are:

  1. hug- skin to musc, musc to bone
  2. midline
  3. periphery to core

in what pose does #1 HUG come easily?  Ex- hug- warrior 2 pose creates the action automatically, the front thigh has to hug when knees are bent. Or Utkatasana. Vs Tadasana you can do the pose w/out ME.

Ex) in bridge or Urdhva you have to work legs, but in cobra less so. So do action in bridge and then go back to cobra and tell students to remember how they worked legs in bridge, now do it in cobra.


In what pose does #2 MIDLINE come easily? Ex- block btwn thighs, Prasarita with blanket under one foot, tree, Garudasana, dog w/one hand off (unplug one part of the foundation). Pay off:: Bakasana, urdva one leg off…

In what poses does #3 P> C come easily? Ardha Chandrasana, vira 3, UHPadang, crescent warrior, Tadasana leg lifted pull foot into hip, partner arm press, lunge

Pay off: hand balancing, headed bends (for flexible people). Note: ME- floor postures- flexible students tend to flop. So teach ME in standing poses and then the pay off is floor poses.

*poses where it comes easily should be poses where you can visually measure if the students are getting the actions



warm up: 1, 2, 3,

ME #1 Hug

3 poses


ME #2 midline; 3 poses

ME #3 p>c : 3 poses

Pay off poses: 3 poses


cool down

symmetrical pose




Sequencing to a peak pose: Parivrtta Parsvakonasana


Key difficulties: (physical and psychological)- balance, back heel to floor, deep twist, flexion of front hip, arms and shoulders, sq hips, breathing- anxious, agitated, can’t get deep breath, panic

Key actions: midline (for balance), kidney loop (rounded back), shoulder loop (expanding spiral of bottom arm)

What poses teach key actions: twists w/rounded back- concave spine

What parts of the body need to be prepared (anatomy of pose/component parts): spine (twists), low body strong, hip flexion

–       hip- vira 1, Parsvakonasana, Anjaney, Parsva Utkatasana, pigeon, lunge variations, agni stombasana w/twist, pashasana prep

–       psychological- teach in poses where they’re not in the fire- breath into back body- for example child’s pose. Theme with it- trust that even in breath is short, shallow, labored, invoke a sense of trust and faith…



1 cat/cow


lunge twist

key action #1 midline


dog twist


Key action #2 kidney loop




Key action #3 twists

Malasana twist

Pigeon twist

Marichyasana 1

Pinnacle: Parivrtta Parsvakonasana in stages…

Knee down, hands in prayer

Knee up hangs in prayer

Full pose with arm outside foot (can refine the arm spirals depending on group…)


Cool down


Supta padang

Purvottanasana on elbows



Shoulder stand and headstand

–       HS is rajasic

–       SS is sattvic

–       Is it agitating to the nervous system to do HS without SS? “what’s more agitating is rigid adherence to dogma” – john friend

–       Attitude is first

–       If finding it hard to have time for SS, you need to create a culture of it- so students know how to set up props quickly. If you don’t have enough props for everyone, then you can have half the room do Shoulderstand and half do supported setubandha at the wall.

Addressing fear- psychological challenges to poses

–       clear sequencing sets students up for success so they learn component parts gradually. Gives them psychological and physical tools to go deeper

–       “I’m a professional 🙂 … I’ve done this before, will you let me help you?”

backbends at night?

– ge to peak pose earlier and have a longer closing sequence. Give suggestions for people to do at home if they’re jazzed up (like legs up the wall).