Sunday, May 17, 2015

Generating Enthusiasm in a Yoga Class: Pinnacle Poses

generating enthusiasm
By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

One of the keys to being a successful Yoga teacher, is to consistently generate enthusiasm in your classes. One way to generate enthusiasm is to create a krama, or sequence of postures, that leads to a pinnacle pose. For example, if many of your students have some difficulty performing Upward Facing Bow Pose, you may want to create a sequence of asanas that warms up the front of the body, neck and shoulders, so that your students are able to work towards taking Upward Facing Bow in a safe manner. 

Creating a specific goal in the form of practicing a pinnacle pose, will also give your Yoga students a simple and straightforward objective to work towards. Although many dedicated Yoga practitioners and teachers are aware that the ultimate goal of the practice is to achieve an enlightened state of being, this may be too far reaching for most students! Many of us are simply trying to find enough time to do practice regularly, in order to maintain a healthy fitness level, ease lower back pain or keep our waists trim. 



By establishing a pinnacle pose for your Yoga classes, you will be establishing a very concrete target for your students to work towards. You will also be giving your students a simple benchmark that they can use to evaluate their progress on the mat. Of course, when you choose a pinnacle pose to inform the sequence of Yoga postures that you are teaching in your class, it is important to choose a pinnacle pose that is accessible to most of your students. 

Depending on the fitness and skill level of the majority of your Yoga students on any given day, you may find that sequencing your class around a pinnacle pose is a great way to spark the inner competitive energy and enthusiasm of your students. Some postures that work well as pinnacle poses are: Dancer Pose, Warrior III, Half Moon Pose, Head Stand, Hand Stand, Crow Pose, Side Plank Pose, and Upward Facing Bow Pose. The most effective pinnacle pose will depend on the average ability level of the students in your Yoga class. 

In addition, by taking into consideration the subtle effect of the time of day that you are teaching, the day of the week and the season of the year on the needs of your Yoga students, you will be able to more finely tune the pinnacle pose you choose for your class. This awareness will also help you to intuitive and intelligently match the needs of your students with the overall nature and pace of your class. You may also find it to be fun and engaging to choose pinnacle poses that help your students to prepare for “bathing suit weather” or ski season. This practical application to other activities will give your classes more meaning for your students, which will in turn generate more enthusiasm and fresh new energy for your Yoga classes.    

Of course, it is important to monitor any injury prone students closely during your class, to make sure they don’t push themselves beyond their body’s ability to perform the asanas. If you are teaching a multi-level Yoga class, there are a number of modifications and props that can be used to make many of the more challenging asanas accessible to less advanced students. By creating a culture of acceptance and patience towards your students, they will feel more accepting and patient of their own process during a Yoga class. 

It is also important to keep in mind that what may be a moderately challenging pinnacle pose for some of your Yoga students, may be an absolute impossibility for other students! If you choose a pinnacle pose that is far too difficult for most of your students to practice safely, you will undermine many of your students’ enthusiasm for the practice. Skillfully choosing a pinnacle pose that is safely within the reach of most of your students is an important aspect of being a great Yoga teacher. This skill will ultimately help you to develop an enthusiastic group of ongoing, committed Yoga students for many years to come. 


Virginia Iversen, M.Ed, has been practicing and studying the art of Yoga for over twenty years. She lives in Woodstock, New York, where she specializes in writing  customized, search engine optimized articles that are 100% unique. She is currently accepting yoga and health-related writing orders and may be contacted at: enchantress108@gmail.com

© Copyright 2015 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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2 comments:

parvezbdjsr said...


Skillfully choosing a pinnacle pose that is safely within the reach of most of your students is an important aspect of being a great Yoga teacher. Thanks for sharing this great article.

Mary Wilson said...

One way to generate enthusiasm is to create a krama, or sequence of postures, that leads to a pinnacle pose. Thanks for posting this valuable article.