Saturday, March 12, 2016

Teaching Renewing Yoga Classes: Slow Flow Vinyasa

slow flow vinyasa class
By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

As I sit down to write this article, I glance up at the beautiful pink lotus in front of me, which is prominently displayed on my wall calendar. The quote on the page is by Jack Kornfield. He states, “The unstoppable spirit of renewal is in you. Trust it. Learn that it flows through you and all of life.” With the unseasonably warm temperatures in the Northeastern United States this year, spring is already on the way, even though it is only the first week in March. 

The delicate buds of the first flowers are beginning to peak out from under the leaves and the birds are returning to nest in the woods just outside my door. As the pulsation of life begins to strengthen and infuse the plants and flowers around us with new life, your Yoga students will also begin to feel the desire to renew their own life force energy. Guiding your students through a balanced Yoga class is a wonderful way for enhancing the flow of chi, or prana, throughout the body and mind of your students. 



One of the most creative and fundamental aspects of being an effective and inspiring Yoga teacher is the ability to tailor your classes to the needs of your students. This includes seasonal considerations. In the early days of spring, breaking up stagnant energy, cleaning one’s living space and detoxifying the body through cleansing dietary regimes are natural responses to the renewing energy of the springtime. 

By replicating the gently increasing flow of life energy during the spring season into your Yoga classes, you will help your students to align their own bodies and minds with this regenerative process. One way to replicate the energy of the springtime in your classes is by beginning your classes slowly, and then methodically and gently increasing the pace of the flow of asanas that you have chosen to guide your students through, before cooling down the practice with a series of grounding forward folds, prone postures and Shavasana. 

For example, if you think about the process that a flower goes through during the first light of the morning, the bud reaches towards the light, as the delicate petals begin to open and expand into the rays of the sun. During the full brightness of midday, a flower will usually be fully open, in order to saturate itself with the bounty of the sunlight. At dusk, the same flower will often close its petals and rest for the night in a protected cocoon of its own making. This sense of being cocooned can be likened to the restorative and soothing benefits of Shavasana when it is practiced with a Yoga bolster under the knees for comfort, a blanket for warmth and an aromatherapy eye pillow for natural stress relief. 



As a certified Yoga teacher, you a have the opportunity to creatively sequence your classes in such a way that the natural pulsation of the seasons is reflected in the flow of postures through which you guide your students. By beginning your Yoga class with Extended Child’s Pose, and then leading your students through a series of slow flowing Sun Salutations, standing asanas, balancing poses, backbends, seated forward folds, inversions, and Final Relaxation Pose, you will be replicating the expansive pulsation of life, as evidenced by the beautiful unfolding of the petals of early spring flowers. 

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: enchantress108@gmail.com.

© Copyright 2016 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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2 comments:

parvezbdjsr said...

One of the most creative and fundamental aspects of being an effective and inspiring Yoga teacher is the ability to tailor your classes to the needs of your students. Thanks for posting this informative article.

Mary Wilson said...

Guiding your students through a balanced Yoga class is a wonderful way for enhancing the flow of chi, or prana, throughout the body and mind of your students.