Vinyasa krama is the art of sequencing. How a yoga practice or flow is sequenced can determine whether it is uplifting or inward going, exhilarating or calming. When we are trained and attentive, we start to know the most optimal order to open our bodies and our focus to align with the time of day, the season, the weather, our mood, and our health. This incredible art helps us be positioned and aligned in a way that we feel free in time and space, rather than being constrained by time and space.
This morning while I was out in the garden, I was thinking a lot about vinyasa krama and the goddess Kali — goddess of, among other things, time and change, and thus, of sequencing. I woke very early, brought to consciousness by the long light of the solstice even through closed curtains. As I went about my morning, rinsing the sprouts while heating the water for my morning coffee; cutting back the greens and herbs before starting breakfast; doing the major pruning and clean-up before doing more decorative garden work; finishing cooking before taking out the recycling; applying a facial mask before starting to vacuum; never walking up or down the stairs empty-handed; waiting to gather the bills until after I was clean and waiting for friends to arrive, etc., I realized how important sequencing is to the richness of my days. By knowing the best way to order tasks for my needs, my day is simultaneously productive, unhurried, and enjoyable.
By the time my friends arrived around noon, I had meditated, taken care of the garden, gathered food for my own breakfast and to share with friends, talked to neighbors, cleaned the house and myself, done a little asana, written in my journal, and sorted the mail. Had I not known from long experience and conscious attention how to sequence all the different elements, knowing which ones went together, which took longest, which ones if done earlier or later would create double clean up, etc, I would have been tired and the tasks unfinished. Instead, after brunch, I came home to a tended garden, a freshly made bed, and time to enjoy a quiet evening.
These sequencing principles also apply for me on major projects at work. If ordered one way, the work is exponentially harder, the deadline a fearsome thing; if ordered another way, everything comes together mostly as it should when it should. When I order my work with attention (this assumes others cooperate with this endeavor), I have time to do a good, careful job and still take breaks, eat well, and leave the office in time to take or teach yoga class.
Whether you are doing your home yoga practice or cooking or working, choose to sequence the elements of your practice, your activities, or your day, with attentiveness, reverence, love, and respect, and Kali will support you and not show you her most fearsome face.