Designing Transformative Yoga Classes
By Mark Stephens
(North Atlantic Books, Paperback, 9781583944974, 528pp.)
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
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Yoga Sequencing: Designing Transformative Yoga Classes presents the essential principles and methods for planning and sequencing yoga classes. Addressing one of the most popular topics in the yoga profession, this book offers sixty-seven model sequences of yoga poses (asanas) that cover the broad range of yoga student experience, including multiple sequences for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students; yoga for kids, teens, women across the life cycle, and seniors; classes to relieve depression and anxiety; and sequences for each of the major chakras and ayurvedic constitutions. Each sequence provides guidance for teaching the different breathing (pranayama) and meditation techniques that give yoga its transformative power.
Enhanced with over 2,000 instructional photos and an elaborate guide to the constituent elements of over 150 yoga asanas, the book draws equally from ancient yoga philosophy and contemporary insights into functional anatomy, biomechanics, and kinesiology. The nuanced interrelationships among asanas within and between the seven asana families are explored and the anatomy of opening and stabilizing each pose is explained for sequences designed around specific needs and intentions. A comprehensive appendix includes a glossary of yoga-related terms, an alphabetical asana index with thumbnail photographs of each asana, a class planning worksheet, representative sequences from several popular styles of hatha yoga, and a list of resources for further exploring sequencing and the larger practice of teaching yoga.
Mark Stephens took his first formal yoga classes in 1991, completed his initial yoga teacher training in 1995, and began teaching yoga in 1996. In 1997, he founded Yoga Inside Foundation, establishing yoga programs and training yoga teachers for service in over 300 treatment centers, schools, hospitals, prisons, and other settings across North America. He received Yoga Journal's first Annual Karma Yoga Award for his nonprofit work in 2000. Stephens has founded and directed two yoga studios, L.A. Yoga Center and Santa Cruz Yoga, and has taught workshops and retreats worldwide, including outdoor adventure retreats combined with sea kayaking, trekking, skiing, and rock climbing. He returned to his native Santa Cruz in 2004, where he teaches classes, workshops, and teacher trainings at Santa Cruz Yoga.
“A must-have for any yoga teacher. … Offering terrific insights on philosophy, practice and pranayama (the three big ‘P’s’), Yoga Sequencing - while keeping an emphasis on asana practice – nicely compiles these three subjects in an authoritative way.”
—Yoga Teacher Magazine
“Mark Stephens has made another enormous contribution to the field of yoga teaching. This book is a deep well that will nourish aspiring as well as seasoned yoga teachers and students. It provides a wealth of practical techniques and invaluable insights, filling a vast gap in the yoga literature. I highly recommend using it as a resource.”
—Ganga White, codirector of White Lotus Foundation and author of Yoga Beyond Belief
“Yoga Sequencing is a great service to the yoga community as it covers the power of sequencing that all teachers can benefit from, as intelligent sequencing is the embodiment of the elegant design and unfolding of nature which Stephens understands and loves.”
—Shiva Rea, founder of Prana Vinyasa Yoga
“Yoga Sequencing is going to be very helpful to a lot of people, both teachers and students alike. Sequencing is an art. It is one of the most interesting and most important elements in class and practice in terms of safety, creative class design, and effectiveness. It plays a pivotal role in terms of orchestrating the kind of experience the practitioner will have. Ultimately you learn to be sequenced from within, but familiarizing yourself with the strategies in this book will go a long way toward promoting that end.”
—Erich Schiffmann, author of Moving into Stillness
“A comprehensive, timely, and much-needed work on the important art of sequencing. Mark’s well-researched and systematically laid-out book is certain to become an instant classic and a reliable resource for all teachers of yoga asana, both beginning and experienced. It is essential reading for any teacher training program that wishes to be considered state-of-the art.”
—Leslie Kaminoff, yoga educator for thirty-three years and coauthor of Yoga Anatomy
"Mark Stephens, a master teacher of teachers, has given us a wise, practical guide that should be in every yoga maven's library."
—Sally Kempton, author of Meditation for the Love of It
"Moving from philosophy and principles to methodology and technique, Yoga Sequencing gives yoga teachers and students alike a rich resource for designing wide-ranging classes for different intentions, needs, and aspirations."
—Stephen Cope, director of the Kripalu Center and author of The Wisdom of Yoga
“Yoga Sequencing addresses fundamental questions that yoga teachers face in designing classes. While making clear that the ultimate source of guidance comes from one’s own yoga experience, Stephens untangles the interrelations of yoga postures and provides insightful mapping principles for linking them into effective classes. This unique, practical book empowers yoga teachers to be their best in working with a diverse array of students.”
—Joel Kramer, coauthor with Diana Alstad of The Guru Papers
“A contemporary yoga classic. As a yoga educator and teacher trainer, the deficiencies I see in trainings nationally and worldwide are largely one of substance. There’s no lack of heart and spirit in the field, but there is a notable lack of depth and educational content. This text should be required reading in all yoga teacher training schools and by all serious practitioners. Needless to say, Stephens is driven by an intense passion to enrich the transmission between teacher and student with new clarity and a three-dimensional understanding of the yoga body that is unequalled. Thank you Mark.”
—James Bailey, LAc, E-RYT 500, health educator
“A thoughtful, detailed, and unique treatment of the art of sequencing and the power held within each living expression of this practice of yoga.”
—Janet Stone, yoga teacher, Yoga Tree, San Francisco
“Mark Stephens provides a comprehensive map for the creative exploration and construction of yoga classes that cover a breadth and depth of options. This meticulous matrix will certainly advance any yoga teacher’s service to their students’ practice.”
—Jill Miller, creator of Yoga Tune Up®