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Yoga Sequencing: Designing Transformative Yoga Classes Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-1583944974 ISBN-10: 1583944974 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books; 1 edition (September 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583944974
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583944974
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 3.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“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®

About the Author

The author of Teaching Yoga: Essential Foundations & Techniques (North Atlantic Books, 2010), Mark Stephens has practiced yoga for over 20 years and has taught yoga full time since 1996. The founder of Yoga Inside Foundation, L.A. Yoga Center and Santa Cruz Yoga, Stephens has trained over 1,000 yoga teachers. 

At Yoga Inside Foundation, he trained and supported yoga teachers in over 300 alternative settings across the U.S. and Canada; he received Yoga Journal's 1st Annual Karma Yoga Award in 2000 for this work.

Prior to teaching yoga, Stephens was a doctoral fellow at UCLA in comparative and historical sociology and taught for many years in college (UCLA, L.A. City College, UC Santa Cruz) and alternative education. His writings, interviews, commentaries, quotes and quips have appeared in Yoga Journal, Yoga International, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, People, Health, Huffington Post, Elephant Jounral and other online and print media. 

Stephens conducts yoga teacher training programs worldwide and produces instructional materials for yoga trainers, yoga teachers and yoga students.

More About the Author

Author and yoga teacher Mark Stephens wrote THE YOGA TEACHERS'S TRILOGY:




Stephens was born in Santa Cruz, California to native California parents, graduated summa cum laude from University of California, Santa Cruz, completed seven years of post-graduate doctoral studies at UCLA, and worked for many years as a community organizer, teacher, and education consultant before diving fully into teaching yoga in 1996.

The founder of Yoga Inside Foundation, L.A. Yoga Center and Santa Cruz Yoga, Stephens started doing yoga in 1991. He has trained over 1,200 yoga teachers worldwide and is on the Yoga Alliance Standards Committee. His writings, interviews, commentaries, quotes and quips have appeared in Yoga Journal, Yoga International, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, People, Health, Elephant Journal and other online and print media.

Customer Reviews

It is a good guide to sequencing yoga class.
Easy to follow, very informative and offers great suggestions and techniques.
Linda Djupstrom
I highly recommend this book to every yoga teacher and student!
Anne Reimann

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 56 people found the following review helpful By mike on September 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is top notch for a number of reasons. The detailed explanation of the principles of sequencing and the structure of yoga classes makes it an immediate useful resource for all teachers. There are excellent tips for even the smallest considerations in designing classes. After 4 chapters on philosophy, principles, and techniques, the author provides 11 chapters covering sequencing of just about every type of class- all levels, ages, and conditions of the student are covered in detail, plus more on topics like yoga for ayurvedic type and chakra classes. The author is a yoga teacher and trainer who knows his subject well and who has the ability to share his knowledge with clarity and passion.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Ted Cooper on September 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
Yoga Sequencing is the best book ever written on how to design outstanding yoga classes; indeed, it's one of the best books ever written on yoga. And while it's an absolute must for all yoga teachers and teacher training programs, it's a wonderful resource for all levels of yoga students too.

This 528-page tome first covers the foundations and principles of sequencing in extraordinary yet very practical detail. As with the entire book, we discover in the first pages that the author, Mark Stephens, moves easily between all of the vast literature about yoga and the down to earth practicalities of teaching yoga in the modern world. He explains the five principles of sequencing in a way that makes them into useful tools that yoga teachers and students alike can apply in creatively fashioning their classes. He then shows how these principles are applied in developing the essential structure of yoga classes. Here the author introduces and explains the concept of peak postures and the method for identifying the constituent elements of postures, which is the key insight one needs in determining the sensible order of postures in any yoga class or routine.

Rather than leaving it to the reader to figure out all of the elements of every yoga posture, Stephens provides a vast resource in the appendix giving the constituent elements of each of over 125 asanas. This one resource - Appendix B - is more than worth the price of the entire book.

After showing how to set up the general structure of a class, Stephens goes into a detailed presentation of how to arrange the order of postures within and across the every family of postures - standing poses, core, arm balances, back bends, twists, forward bends, hip openers and inversions.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By AnneT on September 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
Mark Stephens has written another amazing yoga book! I think it is an essential read for teachers, but full of information for all, this book is a thorough, practical guide to how to navigate through the intricacies of sequencing safe and transformative yoga practices for the many needs of today's practitioners, from advanced yogis to those with special needs or new to yoga. This book is filled with information and photos. Numerous sequences are included, but in addition, the author teaches us how to create our own sequences, with a solid understanding of why we might pick one pose, then another, making this book an invaluable resource and one I expect to return to again and again. Well done!
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Ms Muffintop on May 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I have an interest in sequencing. I went through my first teacher training at YogaWorks and Mr. Stephen's style is strongly YogaWorks. If you are unfamiliar with that branding, think "Ashtanga-lite." The workout start with sun salutes, but not as a many as a Ashtanga primary series. Once the sun salutes are done, there are standing poses, then sitting, with diversity, YogaWorks style not a set sequence like the Ashtanga series. One thing I value about the YogaWorks style is the concept of sequencing towards a peak pose.

Mr. Stephen's promise to show you how to "Design" a sequence is true. Following the concept of working towards a peak pose, or sequencing towards a theme, this book shows how to do either and more.

I eagerly bought this book in first addition and there are quite a few typos and mistakes. You look at the written description of the pose and it does not match the thumbnail picture. If you are familiar with yoga some of the mistakes are pretty hilarious. If you are new to yoga it would be bewildering.

My major criticism of this book: the sequencing is pretty narrow. If you are in fairly good shape you can use these sequences to get into better shape. But what he gives for a level one beginner class would be impossible for my beginner students to do. I can't believe that my students are atypical. I think a book ought be written for sequencing real beginners, because people beyond beginner status are less likely to need a sequencing guide.

Most yoga books for beginners such as Light on Yoga, or Moving into Stillness, or the Iyengar style books by the Mehta's include A beginner sequence, and all of those sequences are good, effective and beneficial.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By JJ on December 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book couldn't be more perfect for a teacher in training. It gives advice on how to explain poses, breathing, etc to your beginner classes. It helps you step by step to put together lessons, and explains why they use each pose, which poses transition well into each other, etc.

They give PAGES upon PAGES of amazing sequences broken down by sequences for hip-openers, for twists, for back-bends, etc. I have done SO much research online and in my own reading and this book by far is the best planning book for teachers ever. It has become a staple for me!

I am almost done with my 200 hour yoga teacher training in NYC and at the stage where I need to start creating my own yoga class sequences, both for my final "exam" and also for myself. You learn SO much in Teacher Training (TT) and it's so crucial to incorporate the physics of yoga, the breathing of yoga, and other aspects when creating a script. This book is easy to understand, great to use as a teaching guide, and will help you so much as you begin to design your sequences as a teacher.

I plan to have this book with me as a reference for a long time :)
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