We’re doing this. We’re jumping into the deep end and seeing how we will swim (or flail or float). We’re on week 4 of yoga teacher training, and I’m taking to heart some advice I got from Mateo of Texas Acro, which is to start practice teaching with friends and family as soon as possible and often. In our training, we are constantly practicing with each other, taking turns cueing the poses and the breath and giving hands-on assists. Practicing on other teachers-in-training is a little bit of cheating though. We know the postures already; we know what to look for and what adjustments to make. So I invited some women from “the board” (a local online message board) to come be our guinea pigs, and tomorrow is the day!
My fellow trainee Krista and I have been preparing our sequences and testing them out on each other and with other trainees. I found the sequencing to be one of the funnest yet challenging parts of constructing a class. The postures have to flow together in a way that makes logistical sense. For example, if the left leg is forward in a lunge, how do you get them to a wide forward fold? To someone who has practiced for a while, the transition is on auto pilot. Thinking about how to get someone new to yoga and taking direction to get there requires a few more steps. Straighten the front leg, turn the toes parallel to the side of the mat, then fold.
Not only do the poses need to make logistical sense, but they need to make energetic sense. I was thinking about how a DJ can direct the energy at a club. There are peaks and valleys as one song builds up and transitions into the next song. Does it bring the mood up or down? Does it get people dancing faster and losing themselves in the beat or calming down and grooving instead? Building a yoga sequence is a lot like that.
The other big thing we kept in mind is that our practitioners are for the most part new to yoga. We built in time for extra breaths and explanation. Giving them poses that will serve as a little breather or break after moving through a particular flow. We also wanted postures that build on each other so they gain confidence in each subsequent pose.
The fun part for me is simply playing on the mat. When I do a home practice, I always end up playing with poses organically that fit my mood. The experimentation to design a flow makes me that DJ, and I have to pull from my bank of poses to create an awesome mix. The possibilities are limitless!
I’m excited (and nervous) for tomorrow. I’m “rehearsing” my class for timing and pacing and word stumbles. It’s almost like preparing a presentation for C-level executives… except my friends will be more forgiving as we get this first one under our belts. 🙂 If you’re in Austin and want to volunteer to be a guinea pig, shoot me a note. I’ll let you know when upcoming classes will be.