The Key Elements of a Well-Cued Yoga Sequence

Key Elements of a Well-Cued Yoga Sequence

The key to a well-cued yoga sequence is not only providing clear and concise instructions but also knowing how to cue in a way that supports the body while encouraging the student to connect deeply with the pose. Cues can be both internal and external. Internal cues place the focus on moving and rearranging the body parts while external cues offer a tactile feedback for how a pose feels.

For example, “Squeeze your shoulder blades together” is an internal cueing course for yoga teachers to get the student into a scapular decompression and can be followed up with an external cue like “lift the back of your heart toward the ceiling.” This is how you want your students to feel in a pose, rather than giving them a list of directions that tell them where they need to be, but don’t tell them what they need to do to get there.

A common mistake is to over-cue a particular pose, leading the student into movements and positions they don’t need. For instance, it’s not necessary to tell every student in a side-angle stretch (utthita trikonasana) to bring their arms alongside, or even behind, their ears as they lengthen through the spine. Using this cue can cause the shoulders to lift away from the ribcage and create a weak upper back, which can lead to injuries.

The Key Elements of a Well-Cued Yoga Sequence

In addition, over-cuing can result in the student taking too long in a posture. This can lead to a feeling of being “stuck” in a pose, and it can also make the student less willing to attempt a second or third round of the pose because it takes so much effort to stay up there. This is why a strong practice of sun salutations can help, as it provides the student with the opportunity to move and stretch while stilling the mind, which can allow them to stay with more rounds of a pose.

A well-cued yoga sequence will also include a variety of poses and transitions that work to strengthen and balance the student’s body, allowing them to stay in more rounds of a posture for longer periods of time. This is especially important in yin yoga where holding postures for up to 20 minutes is common, and the student needs to be comfortable with the idea of staying in one position for a long period of time. For this reason, it’s important to include some forward/backbend/spinal/shoulder/core oriented poses in the beginning of your class.

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