When it comes to my personal preferences I am more inclined to choose the traditional form of sequencing. Surya Namaskar, Standing, Balancing, Hips, Arm Balancing, Backbends, Forward Folds, Twists, Inversions, Advanced Asana, and Restorative. I select this system because I feel it is the most intelligent design to warm up the body properly. A few moon salutes, five A’s and five B’s, is optimal to generate heat within all the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones. The Surya Namaskar is pretty universal in opening the areas of the body that could be used later in a class for a peak pose. An example would be the opening of the front hip flexors in moon, also the opening through an external rotation of the inside flexors of the quadriceps in Surya Namaskar B, and the loosening of the hamstring in down dog. This intelligent flow would be ideal in the pathway to opening for a peak in Kurmasana.

What is also great about a traditional form of sequencing is the break from the dogmatic structure of a full time Ashtanga practice. The Namaskara’s can now begin to be turned into an elegant flow and the creative intuition of the yogic can become limitless. The unhindered form of Surya Namaskar can be transformed into the dancing warrior with a plethora of additions to include binding (A good option to pathway the shoulders open for a peak pose like Kurmasana), bird of paradise, humble warrior, or mini flows can be interjected between asana’s to further generate heat and allow a deeper release of tension. The always evolving dynamic created by the yoga instructor will leave little room for stagnation and a lot of room for new growth and motivation.

I would also like to indicate that I see no danger in the location of Navasana before backhanding in the Ashtanga primary series. My reason for this conclusion is the placement of the hips in Navasana allows the hip flexors and the rectus abdominals to do the majority of the work, thus, allowing for the larger and stronger transverse abdominals to remains as an unfatigued stabilizer. In the primary series Urdvha Dhanurasana the placement of the body is requiring the powerful transverse abdominals to predominate in the stability of the trunk/spine/core. As a result, making the placement of this abs series before backhanding is not a precursor to injury.

There is a lot of debate over the term “traditional” as applied to Asthanga Yoga. Student software Pattabhi Jois noted, modified the sequence to suit the practitioner. Some of the differences include the addition of subtraction of postures in the sequences, changes in the vinyasa (full and half vinyasa), and specific practice prescriptions to specific people. Whats more, the intermediate series included Vrishchikasana after Karandavasana, and the series ended with Gomukhasana. Jois added Supta Urdvha Pada Vajrasana as well as the seven head stands when David Williams asked for more. So I feel likely the intelligence of the teacher alludes to the changes in the Ashtanga series. Jois’ choice to customize his teachings for his type of student makes all the more sense. Lets not be so inflexible to what our personal views are in sequencing and allow the room for intelligent movement and changes under the guidance of an advanced practitioner.

Current 300 Hour Student