In my last post, I shared some ideas to get your creative juices flowing (see what I did there?) This week, I’ll address strategies for teaching a Yoga Tune Up® Flow class. Let’s start with the humble sun salutation.

How can we attain the clear mind of a sun salutation while doing no harm?

Take the structure of a vinyasa class and modify it. Create repetition with judiciously placed mini-vinyasas. Teach Jill Miller’s half happy baby, bridge lifts, moon rises or make up your own. Insert similar poses into your sequencing. For example, instead of a chatturanga, teach ochos (plank variations).

Insert YTU moves into traditional poses, such as adding pranic bath to warrior II. Discover transitions that make physical sense. Spend time experimenting on your mat. The movement vocabulary of YTU is rooted in that of yoga so this is not a stretch. Your class is limited only by your imagination.

With my YTU education, I now speak about breath, movement and proprioception. Where are we in space? What happens between the poses? The transitions. How do we move from child’s pose to down dog? Through a sun salutation? From half moon to warrior II? From moonrises to revolved triangle, to lizard?

What else makes this flow class become YTU?

Language. I have changed the way I speak as a yoga teacher in many ways — from a qualitative vocabulary to a quantitative one — from ambiguous to unambiguous — from poetry to anatomy. I teach real physical ideas that impact daily life. “Lift your heart wings” becomes “lift your sternum.” Through language comes self-awareness and embodiment. I point to the skeleton. I help my students navigate their bodies, discovering their bones and their muscles. They become explorers themselves, in a context that is comfortable and familiar; a vinyasa flow class.

Balls and props. It is important not to disrupt the flow to stop, look around, locate and grab a block or strap. Consider what props you will need and be sure everyone has them handy before you begin class. Design your therapy ball moves to fit smoothly into the sequencing. Before and after always works but you can still insert a roll during the class. For example,”pec, pec, pec” before locust or a shoulder or glute roll-out before bridge.

Context. Know why you are teaching and tell your students. Explain your passion. Teach what you know. Teach to your clientele. Be creative, innovate and teach honestly. Your unique YTU class will flow.

Liked this article? Read Why Words Matter