Teaching Yoga Tune Up® Flow Using Direction of Movement Tune Up Fitness Blog » Teaching Yoga Tune Up® Flow Using Direction of Movement

Teaching Yoga Tune Up® Flow Using Direction of Movement

Recently, I extracted this message from a fortune cookie, “Change is happening in your life, so go with the flow!” And that is exactly how I teach a Yoga Tune Up® flow class: with an eye toward change and discovery. My previous blogs stated that the essence of a flow class is breath linked to movement, along with a loose structure for such a class.

As we continue our exploration into YTU flow-style classes, consider constructing your class around direction of movement (DOM) at a joint.

Set up a DOM grid as a helpful tool. Across the top itemize joint actions such as:

  • Internal and external rotation
  • Abduction and adduction
  • Flexion and extension
  • Circumduction
  • Elevation and depression
  • Protraction and retraction

Below each action on your grid, insert poses and mini-vinis (mini vinyasas) that articulate these actions. You might find certain YTU exercises hitting on multiple DOMs [ah ha!]. You will certainly find yoga poses that show up in more than one column. As a visual learner, this map is useful in order to present a well-balanced class.

Now that you have categorized your movements by joint action, create a flow class. Decide which joint[s] you want to emphasize; shoulders, hips, spine. Select your poses and weave them together. One key to flow is aligning similar movements. Try it out on yourself. Does it flow? Are your transitions natural? Can you connect your breath to your movement? Don’t forget to insert your check-in pose anywhere and everywhere.

A hips class might have child’s pose as a check-in. Begin with a breath assessment in child’s pose, evolve into a mini-vini and your own flowing vinyasa using YTU inspiration such as walk the plank. Standing sequences can transition through warrior I, warrior III, moon rises (seen below), revolved half moon. Or prassarita variations with prassarita lunges. Back bends might flow from warrior III, to half camel and full camel. Hip roll out might include pin and stretch on the quadratus lumborum [QL] with the alpha ball. Wind down with a half happy baby mini-vini, apanasana variations and twists.

A shoulders class might have a simple arm flexion as a check-in. Roll on Therapy Balls at the beginning and progress into your vinyasa. Or, begin with your breath and check-in in pose, then move into DJ arms (seen below), or shoulder flossing before you flow. Standing sequences could have epaulette arm circles while in a warrior 1 or crescent lunge. Strength and stability poses such as dolphin supinate or mega-plank create a natural segue into your wind down. Perhaps your backbends are bridge and bridge lifts. If practicing locust, try adding open sesame. The choices are endless.

Structuring your YTU flow around DOMs is an easy way to educate your students without a lecture. They will simultaneously learn through proprioception and intelligence. Your movement vocabulary along with your language create self-awareness and embodiment for your students. Be creative and they will love you!

Remember, there is no strict formula. Your classes will evolve and become as individual as you are. Your special sauce will be informed by the dynamics between you and your students. So go into the movement lab, be open to discovery and have fun!

Liked this article? Read Yoganomics: Teach Smarter, Not Harder

About This Author

Nancy is a certified Level 1 Yoga Tune Up® instructor, has her 200 hour RYT from Pure Yoga, holds an MA in modern dance, and a USCG 100-ton near coastal Masters license. Nancy’s classes build strength and flexibility through playful, physical challenges. She believes the yoga mat provides an opportunity to experiment outside the realm of everyday life. From her years in yoga and dance studios, she has acquired a keen ability to analyze and thus refine her students' movement. Her careful and thoughtful alignment cues help her students learn to go deeper into each pose in order to find his/her edge.

Teaching Yoga Tune Up® Flow Using Direction of Movement

  1. Becky says:

    So many great ideas here, thanks for sharing! The DOM grid will be super useful as are the hip and shoulder examples you have given. I love the idea of ‘educating without a lecture’ – thank you for the very helpful posts.

  2. Diana Azavedo says:

    Thanks Nancy for these awesome tips. I think the grid of DOM and noticing how many poses come up in columns will be very helpful when creating a sequence. Another great way to create a fluid YTU flow seq. Not just fluid, but also intelligently sequence and educative to the students and an exercise for me s a teacher. I can always refer back to this one . Many thanks. x

  3. Phoebe says:

    Before I read this post, I made the flow too complicated even myself can’t handle it without script. With your ideas here, I can have a better direction of constructing my flow. Definitely gonna educate them the DOMs gradually in my classes so that we can all share the same language which is easier for them to identify their difficulties too.

  4. Barbara Gentile says:

    I’m new to the YTU model, so this is a helpful suggestion to start weaving it in with my regular Yoga teachings. Thank you!

  5. Angela Yonkovich says:

    I’m learning so many new tools! The DOM grid is going to be a great platform for me to start practicing my creativity covering all the bases! Thanks!

  6. David says:

    During my YTU training this has been on my mind – how am I going to incorporate some of this into my style when I teach? And this is exactly what we covered in class today. I’m excited to “create my own language” around DOM cues. I think using a lot of the YTU poses and ball rolling techniques are great prep-ers for flow. Once we have an idea of our class structure, we can stick to a theme or similar movements to really explore the depths of our movement.

  7. Jane Thibodeau says:

    Thank you so much for this post! As a current YTU student, I feel confident guiding students through the templates learned in class, but feel overwhelmed by the idea of creating my own classes and sequences. Thank you for breaking down a formula that I can use to design classes and for providing some general examples – this will be an incredible tool to have handy when I start teaching YTU!

  8. Sarah Millar says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Nancy! Just like you, I’m also a visual learner, so I’m going to incorporate the DOM grid while constructing my class. Thank you for the helpful tips.

  9. Chris N says:

    Lovely article, Nancy.

    What do you mean from W3 to half camel?

  10. Peter Southall says:

    A nice exercise in organizing thoughts around a sequence for class. Thanks.

  11. Shai says:

    A new perspective for this old dog.
    Thanks for your insights

  12. Amber Green says:

    As a new instructor to the Yoga Tune Up world thank you from the bottom of my heart for this advice !

  13. Kristin Webb says:

    Creating a class plan around DOM”s of a joint or joints is a great idea! It facilitates the instructor’s thinking about how poses are related and complementary. As a student, I always feel willing to work a little harder when there seems to be a purpose and a plan behind the sequencing in the class. I bet your students do too.

  14. Rianna Reid says:

    I love the idea of a DOM grid! Smart, thank you!!!

  15. kaleen Lugo says:

    Great advice! I used to lead my class to a peak pose but focusing on one DOM throughout the class really drives home the focus and my students are left with something. Thanks for the post

  16. Wendy Hensley says:

    Love this article. Thank you for the tips!

  17. Catherine RL says:

    Thank you for the fantastic article. So many helpful tips for building a class.

  18. Ernie M says:

    I just completed my level 1 YTU and it has really inspired and refreshed my classes and my own practice. Thanks for suggesting the DOM grid as a way of integrating the movements into a fun flow and sharing your sample classes. I will definitely try this out! I’m not familiar with the “open sesame” variation of locust, can anyone describe this?

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