What is a Yoga Tune Up® Flow class, and how does one teach it? The answer is, as in all of Yoga Tune Up®, “it depends.” In this case, it depends on you, the teacher, and on your students.
I started practicing yoga many years ago, before the epidemic of style mutations we see today. It was simple. There was hatha and there was ashtanga. I was trained to teach vinyasa flow, a descendent of ashtanga. Thus, it is natural for me to structure a class around that model. At the small studio where I teach, my students enjoy vinyasa flow, so I design my YTU class around the reason they come to this studio. Remember, whatever format you prefer, can incorporate YTU. That’s why YTU works across all types of movement modalities!
Think about it. Even your breath creates a tiny vinyasa, a flow. Each inhale invites an expansion of movement outward from the center, to the extremities and eventually into space followed by an exhale; a contraction inward. Craft your YTU Flow class around this idea.
If you consider what makes a flow, you might come up with a list that includes:
- Moving fluidly from one place to another.
- Intense focus and engagement in an activity.
- Rhythmic movement and breath coordination.
- A state of effortless concentration.
- One breath per movement (a vinyasa flow).
- Or, better yet: Flow = breath x movement.
Not etched in stone, here is an outline for a vinyasa flow:
- Find a breath rhythm to serve your practice.
- Begin to move on that rhythm.
- Add in sun salutations (traditional or modified).
- Practice standing sequences.
- Practice backbending poses.
- Practice seated poses.
- Take savasana.
There is beauty in repetition. The sun salutations provide a memorized mantra of movement. A state of effortless concentration. They can be a useful tool to down-regulate, forget the world we occupied before practice. They offer another way to “turn off your on switch.” As YTU teachers we know there is no reason to over-do vinyasa and that it can lead to unhealthy stresses on the body. Particularly, already abused and misused, tissues and joints.
My fellow teachers, I hope you will return next week to explore more options for teaching a flowing Yoga Tune Up® class.
Liked this article? Read Tune Up Your Vinyasa
I’m glad I found this blog post, as I’m currently most experienced in “flow” inspired styles of yoga, and interested in being able to translate the intelligent, targeted approach of YTU without 100% eradicating the option to offer and facilitate the experience of moving mediation that’s a cornerstone in the vinyasa flow style.
It will be process of allowing my teaching voice to evolve while always teaching to the room in front of me.
I’m happy to see how include Yoga Tune Up in a flow. As you said, people enjoy flows and it is possible to do both in class: flow and YTU.
Thanks for the tips. I am teaching my first Yoga Tune Up inspired class tomorrow and will use the Breath is the flow mantra. Since I am subbing and want to break them out of their usual – Do a pose and a pose , etc.. I want the students to feel their bodies in the poses more…. BREATH. That’s the Tune Up!
Your love for Vinyasa flow is simple and inspiring. I love the statement concerning how our own inhale and exhale creates a flow. The breakdown of the class also helps to see where YTU would fit into this Flow. Thank you for your insight.
Thank you for this insight! This is exactly why I wanted to come to this training. I feel as though YTU training is already helping me to bring more thought to my teaching and practice. I also appreciate you presenting this in a way that I feel I could definitely use these methods in my teaching as well.
thanks – this is helping me figure out how to integrate what I just learned into my flow classes – much appreciated!
My training path in yoga is very similar to yours so it helped me to read your article as I think through marrying Vinyasa with Yoga Tune Up. Thank you!
Good to read! I too teach vinyasa flow.
I love the sentence “there is beauty in repetition”. However, I totally agree on not needing to overdo any movement pattern or practice be it vinyasa or something else. That’s what I love about Yoga Tune Up®; that it reveals your bodies blind spots and brings conscious awareness to your practice.
Thank you for this great illustration of how YTU can be adapted to an existing teaching style and applied in many different ways.
Thank you for this! I’m looking forward to teaching my own YTU classes in the near future and have been trying to come up with some ideas on how to sequence the class and get a good flow going. I will definitely be incorporating these tips!
Thanks for the fresh perspective, Nancy! I love that you are thinking out of the boxana. 🙂 As a fellow teacher who teaches several different things, it was a trip to me to teach this Sunday coming fresh out of my YTUL1 training on Saturday – so weird to switch between things! I’m looking forward to trying out and incorporating all of these different styles into my classes as I move forward.
Thank you for this. I’m just taking the YTU training and am a passionate flow instructor, this has boost my confidence.
Focusing on the rhythm of the breath helps so much in discovering the flow of movement it inspires. I really appreciate that you have addressed this. Your outline of how a flow class can be sequenced is simple, well thought out and doable for everyone thank-you! I also think that simple repetition is a beautiful way to help students discover being fully present. Thanks for sharing your perspectiive. it makes me want to try one of your classes!
I have been a yoga teacher for 3 years and practicing for 10 before I came to Yoga Tune Up. I found styles of yoga to vary from fast and hot to cool and meditative. The one thing that is paramount to any yoga practice as the movements take you somewhere is the connection to the breath. Mini vinis are a way for a practitioners to address mental, physical and respiratory awareness and down regulate. Moving to and from a pose with PNF engagement and range of motion can be a playful way to discover sensation and mobility.
Thanks Nancy for this article. Helping me ajust my vinyasa classes!
I am also a vinyasa teacher, I found that the more I teach, the more it turn out to be something else. I realize that I like to educate people about their body and awareness of it. I am now doing my YTU training and I know that I’ll be more efficient,
thanks for your inspiration. As a Personal Trainer I need to think more out of the boxana to integrate all the poses and ideas of YTU into my daily work. I am looking forward how my clients will assume my new ideas of a flowing training.
I appreciate YTU’s respect for the traditional physical yoga practice while utilizing non traditional techniques and approaches and am excited to integrate what I’ve learned from the L1 training in my classes. My students are finding them interesting and fun as well.
Thank you so much for this post. I’ve been teaching mostly choreographed fitness classes and flow is my nature. I was a bit concerned, whether it would be possible to teach a yoga tune up class as a flow class. But now , after I have read your post I feel much more confident. Thank you for sharing your experience and ideas.
Thank you Nancy, I just had my first day of the Yoga Tune Up level 1 TT and was wondering how to intergrade this into my classes. Thank you for providing a ” mini plan” to provide a class!
I totally agree with you since I have the same background in yoga. I read your post while searching on what Yoga Tune Up was and if I should/would like that sorta yoga “mutation” or training and your post “secure” my decision! Thanks. And I don’t regret it!
Thanks for your advices!!! I’m doing my YTU at the moment and I’m not a yoga teacher. BUT! I coached and taught so many disciplines since last 12 years. I truly believe that every sports or practice should be pair with YTU. I mean, this practice will change my life and my life’s clients too!! It’s crazy!! I’m excited to teach it and bring my own color to my class whatever flow it will be!!
Wow, good idea Nancy! Thank you!
I was wondering how include my new YTU technical knowledge in a regular class
This article was presented at the perfect time for me. I just completed my Level 1 training as well as my 200-hour vinyasa training and I’m mulling over how I plan to incorporate what I’ve learned in my “flow” classes. So many of the poses I learned in training are great lead-ins to a flow to get students more embodied in their practice. I will likely teach Tubular Core and Tune Up® Tadasana in all of my classes until I get more regular students who know what it means to stand tall with effortless poise. I feel so grateful to have discovered Yoga Tune Up® while in my 200-hour training because I think it will take my teaching to a whole new level. I already feel so inspired and creative with the tools I’ve gained from this training — I can’t wait to share it with the people who are drawn to my classes.
This post resonated with me (having just finished my L1 YTU certification course). I felt a little out of my comfort zone thinking how I was going to incorporate all of my new learning into my classes. I love how you said you designed your YTU class around ‘why’ your students come to the studio. I feel as though it has taken some of the (self-inflicted) pressure I was feeling off, knowing I can bring some of my YTU tools and not the whole tool box to each class. Cheers!
I really enjoyed your insight on how to incorporate when you are a vinyasa teacher. I want to incorporate pieces of what I brought home from training but was wondering a sequence arrangement that would work for my demographic that craves for sun salutations. I will use your guideline above this week to test it out.
Thank you for this Nancy. I too am Vinyasa trained and teach at a small studio where people come for the classic yoga styles. I get so excited about what I’ve learned in YTU that I lose the “flow” sometimes. This article helps reassure me that it can always work together.
Thanks Nancy, I just finished my level 1 YTU training and already figured out how to bring YTU templates and the therapy balls into my Sunday yin yoga class. I am excited to try this coming up Sunday. Great suggestion to bring into a regular yoga class as well.
I’ve been wondering about how exactly to incorporate YTU into my vinyasa classes, so this post speaks to me. I hope also bringing in the “Why” will help students open up to something that seems a little different than what they are used to.
Thank you for addressing this topic, because it can be intimidating to incorporate this new YTU knowledge around studio and student expectations of flow classes. I too believe there is space for both to coexist and giving people a little of what they’re used to mixed in with the new stuff can help the students feel less intimidated and more open minded!
It’s been a very eventful week for me in my YTU 70hr training plus teaching 6 flow classes in LA. I don’t know where I’m finding time to get this homework done…However, I will say that this post really hit the spot because I’ve already started to integrate aspects of YTU into my flow classes. I think there are many permutations that are available to provide the art of flow that students and studios are expecting, while sneaking in the good stuff. I will keep tinkering and surely will settle upon something close to resembling a “sweet spot”
Thank you for this post! It’s exciting to think about ways to plan different kinds of YTU classes. I like the idea of incorporating YTU poses to deepen students’ understanding of the poses in the flow, and also the reminder that so many things are “flow” – including the breath.
Thank you for this post Nancy! As my YTU level one training is nearing it’s end, I’m beginning to consider how to incorporate this work into my Vinyasa classes. I’ve been exposed to this tremendous wealth of knowledge and I want to bring it into the classroom in a way that will appeal to students who are looking for a traditional vinyasa class, yet also stimulate a new curiosity about the intricacies of their own bodies. I love the mini plan you shared for your class and I look forward to discovering how this new movement modality will organically mesh into my own classes!
This was very helpful in starting to think about planning a YTU class! A great way to introduce “flow” to students that are used to flowing in and out of repetitive poses. It gives a different meaning to sun salutations and the little mini Vinni poses to use instead of the traditional vinyasa flow style of moving with breath.