By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed
If you are teaching a number of Yoga classes on a regular basis to a diversity of students, you probably notice that many of your students are just as stressed about “getting a good workout in” and practicing as many challenging postures as possible during class, just as they are about accomplishing as much as possible “off the mat” in their daily lives! This level of frenetic activity can undermine the more grounding and replenishing aspects of a well-rounded Yoga class.
By simplifying and slowing down the sequence of Yoga postures, pranayama exercises and meditation techniques that you teach to your students during a class, you will help them to become more grounded and moderated in their practice and in their daily lives off the mat. For example, just the other day I was practicing along with an online Yoga class that was being taught by a well-known teacher, who originally presented this virtual class at a Wanderlust Festival. The class was billed as an advanced Power Yoga class that would help to even out Vata imbalances.
The term “Vata” comes from the ancient Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine, which addresses a wide assortment of diseases and imbalances. It also offers very sage, time-tested wisdom about how to live a long, healthy and happy life, at least ideally speaking! According to Ayurveda, there are three primary body-mind types, Kapha, Pitta and Vata. The Vata body-mind individual is often very flexible, thin, prone to dry skin, and usually has a sensitive digestive system. These types of individuals tend to be type A personalities and are quite ambitious, particularly in terms of their daily goals.
However, many of your predominately Vata students will also struggle with difficulty relaxing and slowing down enough to feel replenished after a Yoga class. They will constantly want to being in “doing” mode, rather than softly moving into simply being during Final Relaxation Pose. The teacher I referred to above was quite funny in her instructions during the advanced Power Yoga class that was aimed at ameliorating Vata imbalances, because she kept admonishing her students to refrain from continually trying to sneak in extra vinyasas between the postures!
By asking her advanced Yoga students to slow down, hold each posture for a longer period of time and allow some breathing room between each pose, her students were able to witness their own frenetic level of energy and release that excess energy with each successive exhalation, as they moved more slowly between the poses than they would normally do in an advanced level class. In this same way, by restraining your students from practicing too many vinyasas and challenging postures during one Yoga class, you will help them to become more grounded in their bodies and minds. This will help to offset any Vata imbalances and will leave your students feeling replenished and rejuvenated for the rest of their day or evening.
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