“The body tells its story. The mind supports and questions and encourage. The mind has to agree to be the compassionate listener without judgement or expectation. We want to find a deeper meaning in the asanas, to take us to a higher level of consciousness, expect depth, reflection, clarity and support for the Light within.”
I’ve been teaching yoga since 2004. Over the year my teaching style has changed a lot. I used to plan and then just improvise, have an idea for a series or peak poses. Sometime I thought I had just taught an amazing class but did not write it down and then would not be able to repeat it. I’ve also spend lot of time, researching, reading, preparing and know how much can go into planing the “perfect” class. I’ve decided to share with you some of the classes program, class 3, I prepared for the Yoga teacher training. There are 18 lessons plans that build on each other. The first few classes are more gentle classes, until we move toward more advanced poses and sequencing. Where ever you are on your journey its important to remind yourself that it’s more important to have awareness than to do an asana perfectly. I hope you enjoy me sharing theses with you and would appreciate your feedback to keep improving them. I’ve used 2 books to help me build theses classes, they are the Golden Present book by Sri Swami Satchidananda and the Hidden Language of Hatha Yoga by Swami Sivananda Radha.
“In Hatha Yoga we confront our fears as well as our potentials by balancing attention between the body and the mind. Because human beings are so complex, various branches of yoga must be practised in proper combination to help people become harmonious being. Asanas are a discipline of the body, but they are not without an effect on the mind, and in turn the mind affects the body. We create an intuitive space for deepening our understanding about ourselves, uncovering our obstacles and potential. We are the masters of our own destiny.”
Vinyasa Yoga Class, lesson plan Class 4: Strength intelligence, I am focus
Focus/Intention: When you are really relaxed, your ability to listen increases. Your quality of listening alters and you develop a quality of attention. The breath is the boss, listen to it, focus on it. Stability is power. That’s why we are going to practice slow, simple and deep movement. We will also pay attention to our gaze, also call Drishti in Sanskrit. Gaze at one point; when you move your eyeball around, it is a sign than you are riding your thoughts instead of listening to the boss, the breath. Where our eyes are directed, our attention follows. The use of Drishti in asana serves both as a training technique and as a metaphor for focusing consciousness toward a vision of oneness.
- Windshield wiper the knees from side to side
- Lift legs straight up, feet above hips, or table top (bent legs). Keep legs together, press feet, relax upper body. Make sure you properly digest any movement we do, integrate it into your body. Can go back to constructive rest between effort poses.
- Inhale, lift tail bone off floor, exhale, relax, repeat 5-10 X
- Inhale, lift tailbone, exhale, pull belly in, inhale, lift higher 5-10 X
- 1 leg bent & hover above ground (Hollow Body), press against knee
- Inhale, lift tailbone, exhale, lift head with hands interlaced, inhale, lift higher
- 1 leg Hollow Body, alternate with upper body off ground, head supported
- Hollow Body and/or Hollow Body rock
From an all-4 position: Hover knee off the floor hold 3-5 breaths (Using 2 blocks to put the hands onto floor if needed)
- Downward Dog to Plank, waving the spine 3-5 time with breath
- 1 leg Dog, to knee to chest, hold 3-5 breath, then place feet down
- From low lunge: to half split 5 X, slowly lift back knee off the floor, shift forward into supported standing split/ Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana
- Slowly bring feet together, hover the foot off ground before putting it down into forward fold at front of your mat.
- Bring the leg back into low lunge, then from there lift front foot to Downward Dog
Repeat flow on the other side
Repeat same sequence as above with back knee off the floor with both legs
- 1 leg Dog, to knee to outside, place foot down, low lunge, walk hands out into lizard lunge/ Utthan Prasthasana with quadriceps stretch
Against the wall
- Warrior 2/ Virabhadrasana II
- Side Angle pose/ Utthita Parsvakonasana
- Triangle/ Utthita Trikonasana
- Half Moon/ Ardha Chandrasana: Reminds us to strive to seek to find as much joy in the shadow and lunar places of our existence as we do in the bright solar places of our life. Leaning to wield both types of energy as we progress upon our path to enlightenment. “As above, so below. As without, so within.”
- Standing straddle forward fold/ Prasarita Padottanasana with butt against the wall
Triangle is one of the strongest and most stable shapes in nature. It represents the many trinities in our world: Earth/Space/Heaven, Birth/Life/Death, Body/Mind/Spirit, Dependency/Interdependency/Interaction, Mother/Father/Child. It also represents the 3 qualities or gunas that compose our body and mind: Tamas, Rajas and Sattva. It’s helpful to meditate on the solid foundation that we need in order to live and leave the world of illusion behind. Our minds keep us distracted to keep us away from our true nature. How much can you support and how well can you resist pressure? Find out how you are in relationship to the world around you and the worlds within you.
Try this yourself
The aim behind all the Hatha Yoga postures is to be able to sit in one steady, comfortable position for meditation. It is only in a steady posture that you can have a good meditation. A body filled with toxins, weak muscles and jumpy nerves will not be able to stay quiet for any length of time. Yoga postures eliminate the toxins and give strength and steadiness. When the body is healthy and supple, you can easily sit with the mind still and peaceful. As you begin to control the body and its movements, that control will carry over to the mind. Try this yourself. Any time the mind is agitated, just sit quietly, not moving at all. Let the mind be agitated as it wants. If your body is still, very soon the mind will calm down all by itself. Why? Because when there is no physical movement, the breath becomes slow; and the breath is the interconnection between mind and body. As the breath slows, the thought-making process slows down and the mind becomes calm. The asanas or postures help to train the mind. First be physically at ease, and mental peace will follow. Live in a way that makes your body light, healthy and more supple. Then when you sit for meditation, you won’t experience aches and pains and spend your time meditating on them.
Mantra: Om Mani Padme Hum
- Vinyasa Yoga Class, lesson plan Class 1: Yin/Yang sequence, deep belly breath, I am breathing mantra
- Vinyasa Yoga Class, lesson plan Class 2: Tree pose, 3-part breath
- Vinyasa Yoga Class, lesson plan Class 3: Ujjaya breath, I am calm
- Vinyasa Yoga Class, lesson plan Class 4: Strength intelligence, I am focus
- Vinyasa Yoga Class, lesson plan Class 5: Sun salutation A, Dancing Warrior, I am strong
- Vinyasa Yoga Class, lesson plan Class 6: Sun Salutation A, move like a snake, I am healthy