You’ve planned a high energy, upbeat yoga sequence designed to challenge your students, you look at the class in front of you and they’re tired, stressed and in need of something chilled out and relaxing? What do you do? You trust your yoga teacher instincts and rethink you plan!
The main critique of lesson planning and sequencing is that it prevents you from reading your students, their energy and what they need in the moment. I encourage yoga teachers to do both; lesson plan thoroughly, play and create yoga sequences that enhance your yoga students experience of the asanas and the flow of prana and then be present and adapt to the moment: watch your students as they arrive at the yoga class, observe them during the warm up and throughout your sequencing and adjust your plan accordingly, by that I mean the following:
- As your students begin, are they holding their shoulders unusually tight? If so, add shoulder opening variations to your standing sequence and some extra warm up poses.
- Have they walked in energised and full of get up and go, when you’ve planned a totally chilled out and meditative flow: Meet them somewhere in the middle to help them find balance, remove a few of your resting poses, add in some extra vinyasas, swap your pranayama to a balancing one such as Nadi Shodana.
- Do your students look exhausted and depleted: Take your poses lower to the ground (e.g. instead of a high lunge take a low lunge, switch standing or seated poses for the reclining (supta) variations), swap a few Downward Facing Dogs out for Child’s Pose. Encourage students to take it easy and honour their body, cut out a couple rounds of your Sun Salutation or Standing Poses to save time for an extra long Savasana.
- You’ve planned a flowing yoga class with emphasis on fluidity and the movement of prana but in the first couple of rounds of Sun Salutations you notice some very dodge shoulder alignment in the majority of your students during Chaturanga. Pause your music (if using), explain your going to take a little detour to workshop Chaturanga and then get back into your flow.
Learning to be observant, trusting your gut and being flexible with the content of your lesson plan will help to ensure that your students leave your class feeling looked after.
If you’d like to explore in greater detail the Art & Science of Sequencing, Laura is teaching an 8 Hour CPD day on Sunday 15th April 2018 at Rownhams House near Southampton. Find the details here.