Yoga Class Design by Mark Giubarelli
Yoga classes prosper when time has been taken to plan out good safe yoga exercise routines that blend well throughout various parts of a yoga class and include safe alternatives for beginners.
Resources for Class Design
Yoga Flows - Tutorial On Vinyasa
There are many different yoga class formats that have varying effects on the body. Yoga classes with more movement seem to challenge cardiovascular elements of the practitioners more but the likelihood of injury increases with the speed of transitions and the deepness of the yoga postures performed.
The class formats for meditative and restorative yoga are very different to those of a power yoga or vinyasa yoga class. So yoga class formats must be implemented in reflection to the groups needs or requests.
It is essential to design yoga classes that strongly appeal to participants. In order to master your environment you will have to be playful with your class design to continually maximize practitioner appeal.
Alignment - An alignment oriented class consists of demonstrations on proper posture alignment and practice.
Slow to Fast - Slow to fast is a method of teaching a set of poses slowly while giving posture and alignment tips then repeating the sequence faster.
Simple To Complex - The simple to complex method.
Part To Whole Strategy - Teaching small parts of a flow then combining them into a larger flow.
Here are some of the principles in pre-class preparation
You should know the health history of practitioners especially new practitioners. This will likely to give proper modification and guidance so you do not aggravate a symptom or injury.
Use carefully chosen music angles with your class design and make sure it is set up at the correct volume so you do not compete with the volume of music when you speak.
Wear the appropriate attire so that practitioners can clearly see you when you perform yoga postures but not too little to be provocative.
Acknowledge new practitioners before you begin then introduce yourself at the beginning of class.
Reference some of the fundamentals of what your class will achieve bringing certain benefits to attention. Make sure practitioners know exactly what type of class they are getting themselves into otherwise beginners will find themselves in classes that our moving far too fast or vice versa and advanced practitioner may accidentally wander in to a beginner class. Clearly stating what type of class is being performed before class is a necessity.
Encouraged practitioners to drink plenty of water especially if the classes are hot and encourage them to take breaks when class starts if they need to.
Yoga Class Design
Breaking a class up into different components helps in understanding the presentation of a yoga class. Here we break the class up into different parts:
Welcoming practitioners with words of encouragement and gentle progression into pre-warm up.
Pre-Warm Up involves light stretches and an introduction to the type of yoga postures that will be performed in the warm up flow. Studies have shown that preparing students before fast flows allows them to follow along with more accuracy and better timing.
Usually a minimum of 20 minutes of yoga exercises in a flow to stimulate cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory health.
A warm up the flow does not usually have anything too intense but stimulates continual movement to create internal heat increasing internal blood flow and reducing the chance of injury.
This part of the beginning segment of your class is designed to break a sweat.
The warm up can have something known as rehearsal moves which are lighter variations of the core exercises in your class. This allows your class to flow more naturally and with less guidance.
Gentle stretches targeting muscles that will be used intensely during the later part of the sequence should be performed. They can be done before and after the warm-up.
During the warm up phase instructor has the perfect opportunity to go over proper alignment and form.
Strength Flexibility Endurance
This section of the class challenges strength flexibility and endurance. Many yoga postures challenge all of these elements at the same time. Finding a progressive way to strengthen muscles and then challenge their endurance helps practitioners follow along and gradually builds confidence within them.
A gradual wind down can include many balanced stretches to stabilize parts of the body. Wind down yoga flows can also include a lot of hip openers to prepare the practitioners for meditation. In B.K.S Iyengar's sequences most end in a seated forward Bend. This was usually due to the backbends the spine was subjected to during his Vinyasas.
Guided meditation and visualization techniques. There are hundreds of meditation techniques you can use to guide you in your Yoga class. All you have to do is listen to a tape or CD of guided meditation and copy some of the best techniques. There is however ways to talk people into the state of awareness of yoga. Encourage practitioners to break down the perception that things are separate and become aware or a universal unity. See teaching meditation. You can also encourage the heart chakra to open through guided meditation and allowing practitioners to grow in their ability to love.
Usually Savasana which is a pose that involves lying on your back and resting. Instructor can remain quite, give light guidance or complete guidance during this stage. It is nice to lay down as an instructor at the end of a yoga class but practitioner will prefer a little guidance.
Otherwise their minds will wander.
All of these parts have time allocations. It is up to you to allocate each part for the amount of time that is fitting for the type of practitioners and their expectations.
There is no rule of order when introducing all the above parts of a yoga class. Parts can be missed or emphasized. Remain open to many different ways blend the above elements into a good yoga class.
In many environments it is best to follow a similar layout of class format as being practiced by the masses.
The type and amount of information a practitioner can
understand depends on their current stage of progress in yoga.
Yoga Class Design - Encouraging Practitioners
Have attainable goals for your yoga class design as this not only encourages a safer yoga class but when practitioners attain these goals the will feel accomplished and are more likely to return for further progression.
Encouragement in Class Design
Continually encouraging your practitioners in a positive way.
Attainable Goals in Class Design
Setting realistic goals for practitioners and rewarding them when they are achieved.
Safe Practice in Class Design
Yoga is a healing art but many postures and exercises may be dangerous without proper guidance.
Clear Presentation of The meaning of Yoga
Yoga is a complicated subject but with guided meditation techniques class practitioners can achieve an awareness of what yoga is.
Yoga Mat Layouts
You can use a number of different layouts when teaching a yoga class.
See Mark Teaching - Mark Giubarelli