Ecstatic Yoga Immersions
EY Asana II, Elements & Environment of a Yog Class Lesson
Ecstatic Yoga Teacher Training
EY Asana II, Environment and Elements of a Class
Each yoga practice is a journey within… to the inner being. Yoga is an act of self-love, a moving meditation that connects you deeper to your body, allows your mind to become more still and invites your heart and soul to transform your life. With an inviting and clean environment, flowing sequencing and appropriate pacing you teach a powerful yoga class and assist students to have a deepening experience of connecting within.
There are many aspects of creating a positive, safe, and inviting environment for your yoga class. We will dive into simple ways to create a space for your yoga students to feel fully supported, wanting to keep coming back to your space to practice yoga.
It is important to have a visually pleasing space that provides a sense of spaciousness and openness. Less is often better and cluttered can be distracting. Simple décor like a plant, peace flags, or a yoga symbol or statue are pleasing. Nature related images or items are always inviting. A fountain if it is quiet to create some serenity.
Lighting is important also, you want your room to be lit up enough
Elements of a Class
Main Asana Practice
Before you begin your yoga class, and as students are arriving, welcome students with a smile, ask (And remember) their names and create a comfortable and inviting space for them. Especially a new student who may possibly be coming to yoga for the first time. This may be the first time they have ever tried yoga, encourage their bravery of trying something new by assisting them to feel safe and welcome. You want to create a positive experience for all your students, so they continue to come back and have a great experience with yoga.
There may not always be the opportunity to greet each student, simply do your best. Understand that students that come in late or once the practice has begun you will not be able to greet them. Allow them to get themselves settled on their own without interruption of the class. If they are new, try to connect with them after the class is over.
Make sure all students sign a waiver that they are taking the class at their own risk and hold you and your business harmless.
Before class is a good time to ask students if they have any injuries or limitations. With this information you can offer some modifications, variations and adjustments to allow more safety and comfort during the practice. However, always put the ultimate responsibility on the student to care for their bodies and adjust the pose for their needs freely throughout the class.
It is always a gift to include complimentary music for your yoga classes. If your class is a yin restore class you will want to use music with a slower beat and tempo. With more yang classes you can use more upbeat music with a faster beat. Try to use slower music for the opening, warm-ups and releases. Silence is always appreciated for relaxation/savasana
-Welcome and Breath Awareness
Welcome students and share your name and style of yoga class (Yin, Yang, Pranayama etc.)
Invite students into either a seated position or supine position for opening.
Invite students to enter into breath awareness, or mindful breathing as you introduce the following message.
Invite students to care for and take responsibility for their own bodies using modifications of the poses if needed and invite the students to rest in savasana, childs pose or a resting pose of their choice if needed at anytime during the practice. Remind them that in yoga we don’t feel pain, nor do we force the body into poses. We always honor the body and allow the body to open. We invite them to play their edge without forcing, staying in the good feeling of sensation not in pain.
-Presence, Pranayama & Intention
-Belly breathing; as students continue to engage in mindful abdomenal/lower belly Breathing, inviting the parasympathetic nervous system to engage. Invite them to become present to their bodies, present to the moment, to feel the earth below them and the support the earth is providing their body. Ask them to honor themselves for their self love.
-Scan; Invite students to scan the inner environment, noticing what is occurring energetically, emotionally within them… without describing the sensations or emotions, but rather to feel fully the kaleidoscope of all that is occurring within them now. Invite them to feel without judgement, simply observing from neutrality, not pushing anything away. Being the witness to the inner state.
-Intention; after a few belly breaths invite them to set a silent intention for themselves… inviting them to set any intention for themselves… for the practice itself, the day… maybe for the year of a lifetime intention. Reminding them that intentions are always positive and present. For example, I have the relationship of my dreams now, I am enjoying a work I love now. I have all the time and money I need now. (Use just one, maybe two) Provide about two full breaths of silence for them to repeat this intention silently to themselves.
-3 part yogic breath; Invite them now to engage in 3 part yogic breath, continuing to engage the parasympathetic nervous system, yet also filling entire front body to fill with prana. 3 part yogic breath is inviting a deep inhale into the belly first, moving up the front body like a wave, into the rib area and finally filling the chest and clavicular area with breath and prana. Allow them to exhale releasing and relaxing the breath complete with no intention other than the exhale. Guide them through two to three, 3 part yogic breaths, then allow them to continue to engage in 3 part yogic breathing for 2-3 more breaths on their own at their own pace.
-Pranayama Option: At this time, depending on how long your class is you may offer another pranayama of your choice.
After the final breathwork whether 3 part yogic or another, invite students to enter into pratyahara, withdrawing their attention from the external world and bringing their awareness to the subtle sensations within the body. Maybe they can feel their heart beating, or pulsations and vibrations, warmth or tingling. Give a few moments of silence for pratyahara.
Invite some seated or supine movements to warm the body up before going into more active poses.
Pelvic grinds (circles) rocks, seated cat/cow, seated forward fold, gently neck rolls and stretch’s, side body stretch’s, gently seated twists, pelvic lifts, butterfly badha konasana, leg flops.
Happy baby, knee to chest, dropping bent knees to the side, legs to sky,
Main Asana Practice
Subtle body breaks between flows
-Pratyahara break; the invitation is to invite students to notice inward subtle energetic sensations within their bodies between every set of poses or flow sequence.
-Samadhi Break; You may also invite them to enter into a mini samadhi by bringing them from asana (Body awareness), pranayama (Breath awareness) pratyahara (Inner sensation), dharana (Single pointed concentration), dhyana (Meditation), samadhi (Bliss, pure expanded awareness, enlightenment)
Choosing poses that transition smoothly, compliment the action or offer a counter pose.
-Floor floor flows
Always end your main practice with a few minutes for students to practice a pose or a stretch that their bodies are calling for. To stretch, roll around and play with movements that feel good. Or maybe there was a pose that wasn’t included in the practice that they want to practice. This is the time to do it.
After your main practice is complete and prior to entering into relaxation/savasana invite the students to enjoy a final warm down and movements to release tension in the body and preparation for the final relaxation/savasana.
-Cat/cow on the floor
-Windshield wipers, variations for single or double
-Single knee drop
The final pose, as important if not more important than all the other poses. Relaxation/savasana offers the opportunity for the body to integrate all the energies and benefits of the practice. To skip this part of the practice is to sell out on the body.
When it is time for savasana, invite students to prepare for relaxation laying flat on their backs in a supine position.
Environment for savasana
-Turn off the music for silence
-Turn off lights, pull down shades
Comfort for savasana
-Bolster or pillow under their knees
-Blanket, socks, sweater for warmth
-Inviting students to become aware of their bodies, feeling the earth supporting their body
-Invite them to relax into the earth deeper and deeper letting go of all stress, tension and holding in their body.
-Invite students to feel their body become heavier, sinking deeper into the earth, like laying on a beach and the body imprinting into the sand.
-Becoming totally relaxed, like a sack of potatoes, feeling the body become heavier and sinking even deeper into the earth.
-Invite body awareness either moving up the body from the toes to the crown, or inviting them to bring their awareness to the lower half of the body, the upper half, the right side and the left side, the front side and the back side.
-Invite relaxation of the systems of the body, the bones and skeletal system, the muscles and muscular system, the glands and endocrine system, the lungs and respiratory system, the stomach and intestines and the digestive system, the entire organ of the skin, and the brain and spine and the nervous system, inviting deep releasing and relaxation of each system separately.
-Touch is sometimes offered while you are speaking and inviting verbal relaxation cues, you can pull the head, arms and legs gently, even a very short head massage. Make sure to ask who would like touch at that time by a raise of their hands. Do not touch students who do not with to be touched.
-Silence, leave time for silence, where no one is talking.
-Before prompting students out of savasana you may want to drum over their chakras or chant a short chant for vibrational integration and support.
-Prompting students out of relaxation by inviting the to wiggle their fingers and toes, to stretch out their arms and legs and entire body. To roll slowly over to one side or the other and allow them to notice the shifts as they move all the organs and allow all the fluids adjust as the body moves in a new position. Invite them to notice subtle body movements. After a couple breaths on their side invite them to come to a seated position for the closing of the practice.
Like myself, there may be a student who will choose to remain a bit longer, allow this, however, do not wait for them to close the class. Keep in your class timeline and close for the other students and allow anyone who wishes to bask a bit longer to do so without any attention given.
-Body scan; invite students to go within and once more energetically scan their bodies, simply noticing what is occurring within their body. Inviting them to notice with no judgement and without using descriptive words, to simply feel energetic and emotional sensations.
-Intention; in closing invite students to reaffirm the intention they set at the beginning of practice silently to themselves once again to seal it in.
-Om; Option to invite the class to join together in a final OM chant.
-Namaste; Inviting students to bring their hands to their hearts for the namaste prayer.
I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is love, truth, light and peace, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are one, Namaste.
Wish them a wonderful day and remain in the front of the room in case a student wishes to approach you for a question. It is polite to not begin to clean up the room until all the students have left, unless of course there are laggers and the room needs to be available for another class.