How do you structure your asana classes? Is there a “right” way to structure a class?
You’ve probably heard the statement “Yoga is for everyone…” This statement holds true, because yes, there are many types of yoga; BUT, within one type of yoga there tends to be different styles of relaying that SAME information!
Let’s consider a vinyasa class as an example. Some classes come from a philosophical place, teaching dharma through asana. Others offer a well rounded moving meditation. Some classes build up to a peak pose. And others still combine a bit of everything!
Here at Yoga 216, we structure our classes through an anatomical approach!
As anatomy is not most people’s first language, we like to keep things simple, clear, and purposeful.
Step 1: Identify the pose you’d like to focus on
This doesn’t necessarily have to be a “peak” pose that your class builds towards –it can be any ol’ pose that normally shows up anywhere in a flow.
Remember, yoga is a practice, we work on things over an extended period of time, it’s okay to take your time and go slow.
Step 2: Identify a common valve
Identify and acknowledge an area of misalignment or energy leak that you’d like students to develop a deeper understanding of.
What joint actions are involved in causing the VALVE? Are those actions within normal ROM? Do most students have the normal ROM the joint actions require?
Step 3: Look at the muscle story
What muscles are likely tight? What muscles are likely weak? What needs to be strengthened and what needs to be lengthened?
Each joint has a “doer” and an “undoer”. Whatever is “doing” – creating the action – needs to be strong, whatever is “undoing” – resisting the action – needs to be long.
Step 4: Find synonym poses
Throughout your class you can incorporate synonym poses, stretches and strengtheners, that are perhaps a bit easier for your students to use to build the strength, length, and clarity that they need to work smartly in your chosen pose.
For example: If you’re teaching adho mukha vrksasana (handstand), incorporate a lot of urdhva hastasana (upward hands reaching pose). If you’re teaching adho mukha svanasana (downward-facing dog), include some time working on down dog with hands on the wall.
Step 5: Teach!
Put it all together! Teaching is like telling a story, remember to have a beginning (warm up), middle (working phase), and end (cool down).
This process for structuring and teaching asana classes is at the heart of why we teach what we do in our Functional Anatomy for Yoga Teachers program!
Learn more about the program and apply today to join us as we get into the nitty gritty of asana using the basic principles that keep us moving everyday!
Happy planning, yogis!
Each month we dig into a different asana by looking at common valves in major joints (spine, etc) and asking why do these valves or energy leaks occur? To answer that, we go under the hood and explore the asana’s kinesiology—what the muscles and bones are doing! This information lets us build valve “fixes,” practical teaching ideas you can try in your classes and privates. Each week builds on the next, giving you a month-long outline for how to help your students uncover their variation of the asana.
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