There are many different ways of designing and teaching an effective, fun and challenging Yoga class. As a certified teacher, you are most likely well aware of a number of different popular asana class styles, including Anusara, Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Hot Yoga, to name only a few! There are now even “Warm Yoga” classes offered for those who find the 105 degree temperature of traditional Bikram class too much to handle. As you become more adept at designing fun, creative and effective classes for your students, you will become aware of the myriad nuances and effects of a specific flow of postures, pranayama techniques and relaxation practices that you offer to your students.
The underlying intention that informs your choice of a specific flow of postures, breathing exercises and complementary practices, such as meditation or relaxation techniques, will imbue your class with a certain energy and vibrancy. One way to sequence a Yoga class is to nurture a specific emotional state through the practice. Depending on the particular group of students whom you are teaching, the time or year or even the time of day, you may want to design a class that is energizing or relaxing. During the late fall, the lives of many Yoga students may become busier, as the holiday season fast approaches.
During this busy time of year, teaching grounding Yoga classes will help your students to slow down, exhale and release the stress of the day. At times, many of us become so busy and so stressed out that we rarely exhale completely, which creates even more physiological stress in our bodies and minds. When you teach a slower paced Yoga class that is focused on grounding postures and calming breathing exercises, you will help your students to release the stress and tension that has accumulated throughout the course of their day.
At the beginning of a class, it is helpful to allow 2-3 minutes for your students to take a few deep breaths and set an intention for their practice. This will help your students to become fully present for the class ahead. In addition, by beginning a grounding class with a series of foundational Yoga postures that emphasize a connection to the earth, you will help your students to slow down enough to start to dissipate unwanted anxious thoughts and deepen their breathing. When your students begin to fully inhale and exhale, the body will automatically begin to relax, which will help to calm down and balance an overactive sympathetic nervous system.
* Tadasana or Mountain Pose
Tadasana, or Mountain Pose, is often overlooked in a class because it appears to be so simple and easily performed. However, if you are designing a sequence of postures that will help your students to become more grounded, taking a few extra minutes in Tadasana will help them to become mindfully aware of their own state of being, as they fully inhabit their bodies. This Yoga posture is aptly named, because to truly stand in a balanced fashion on one’s own two feet is akin to the solidarity and strength of a mountain. By asking your students to pause long enough in Mountain Pose to truly feel the supportive strength of the earth beneath them, your students will feel more grounded and at ease throughout the rest of their Yoga practice.
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 works as a writer and an academic support specialist. She is currently accepting Yoga and health-related writing orders and may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 2015 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division