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Yogahour Sequence 24 with Mackie Osborne (that's me!)

Posted on Aug 21, 2017 by mackieo

I started on this path of teaching because I wanted to learn more about the practice I love. This adventure has been like the Bhagavad Gita, amazing and terrible and challenging and life changing. In three weeks I'm going to be going to the Netherlands to teach at a yoga festival there. It's so much more than I bargained for and I'm so excited and honored to be offered the opportunity from my teacher Darren Rhodes, the door opener for so many.
One of the highlights of my adventures in Tucson was creating a set sequence for yogahour. It was super fun and educational. I'm happy with it, even with the little tiny pictures of me!

I just wrote a little story about making it for my friend Yo Maesaki and I'm sharing it with ya'all.

Sequence 24 with Mackie Osborne

One of my favorite things about yogahour is that I feel like I fit a 90 minute practice into 60 minutes. Part of how it works so efficiently is the result of smart sequencing, expert instruction and pacing. Yogahour sequences range from 50 to 76 poses with a balanced combination of standing poses, forward folds, arm balances, twists, backbends, hip, quad and hamstring stretches and seated and supine poses. Poses are generally held for between 15 and 45 seconds and every pose is important.

In the process of creating my Sequence I changed it over and over, again and again. I practiced it, I taught it, I talked to my fellow instructors, I ran it by Darren, Sam Rice and Brigette Finley. Their input and their questions as well as the process of hashing it out, helped me better understand the yh sequencing strategies. There is so much creativity and planning and thought that went into creating the sequences.

Sequence 24 is inspired by Darren’s Sequence 5 and Sam Rice’s Sequence 8. My aim was to create a mash up of my favorite poses, parts and progressions from the two sequences and add yoga jumping jacks to the mix, because they make me happy.

As I see it, a few distinguishing characteristics of my sequence are:
•Long holds in plank postures
•Repeated down dog, walk back to uttanasana, stand up tadasana, leap to high lunge.
•Yoga jumping jacks

From Sequence 5, one of the key movements I wanted to bring in is the repeated series of poses: down dog, walk back to uttanasana, stand up, leap forward to high lunge… rinse, lather, repeat. There are so many fantastic benefits to the light, quick, repeated movement. It warms up the muscles, raises the heart rate, improves balance, and helps build and maintain bone density as well as joint resilience and stability, increases proprioceptive awareness, AND it’s fun and challenging. Even better, it’s virtually impossible to be in your head while you’re moving through it, so you get a break from thought. For all the same reasons I included yoga jumping jacks, which adds a challenging mental exercise to the mix as students attempt to break out of known patterns and move lightly and quickly in an unfamiliar series of moves. From Sequence 8 one of the main ingredients I brought in is the specific work of opening the side body in twists and side bends to prepare for backbending postures. I also include the Sam Rice signature style leg lifts because they kick ass. In order to produce a similar kind of cool down to Sequence 8 without using the same postures as Sam I looked for how to access salient features from the poses in her cool down which combines supine forward bends, twists, and hip openers for a very grounded experience in pose of repose.

Because holding plank is challenging and at the same time safe and accessible, difficult and doable, I included long holds in plank position, both in forearms plank and tops of feet on floor. Plank posture helps strenghten deep core muscles in both the front and back body, increases flexibility in posterior muscles (shoulders, upper back, hamstrings, and the arches of the feet, and the toes) It can lessen back pain and improve posture. It’s pretty great!

Towards the end of Sequence 24 is a transition from fire logs prep to fire logs that I learned from Christina Sell. It was a game changer for me. Instead of moving the foot on the floor under the lifted knee, try it this way: with the right foot on the left knee, keep the left foot in place and swivel the left knee out to the side, stacking the right ankle over the left knee, right knee over left ankle. To exit the pose, keep the left foot in place and swivel back to the original shape.

I included a list of poses by category at the end of my sequence. There are many useful tools we can use in designing a well rounded full spectrum practice, paying attention to of the number of poses in each category of a sequence brings a certain scientific type of clarity to the process.

I always remind students to remember to breathe. It’s essential. If you’re not breathing, it’s not yoga. And let’s all try to have a little fun and enjoy the journey.