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Going with the flow – improvised 1-hour class routine

by on July 20, 2013

We’ve all heard this gem: “The body is the best instructor.”

For the all-levels community class that I taught last night, I applied the same concept to my own body. In other words, I taught my students what I would have wanted to practice on my own. Don’t get me wrong – I stayed true to the class description and used elements of my original routine. But, it was the hottest day of the year, and I really wanted to start in savasana (corpse pose) to cool the body, and to play with how my routine would look like as a cooling practice.

So this is what came out of it – it worked well, and I got some positive feedback from the mostly-beginner students:

  • Savasana (as students trickle in)
  • Deepen breath, begin Yashtikasana (each arm, then both)
  • Pavanmuktasana (each leg, then both)
  • Rock left/right, then back/forth until seated in sukhasana
  • Introductions, intentions, injuries
  • Stretching mixed with sukshma vyayam (subtle yoga exercises)
  • Stith prarthnasana (mountain pose)
    • Explain attitude (bhava) based asana, in this case, stillness
    • Encourage checking in with body, mind, and everything in between (nervous system)
  • Inhale, lift arms, backbend (with bhava of confidence and embracing the universe)
  • Exhale, fold forward (with bhava of humility and acceptance)
    • Repeat lifting to backbend + folding forward, emphasizing the contrast
  • Surya namaskar (sun salutation) introduction
    • Intended to be practiced facing the morning sun
    • Stretches and exercises every muscle in the body
    • Explain alignment and attitudes for each of the 12 poses (mountain, arms raised, forward fold, lunge = alignment, downward dog = stability, plank = strength, pronate = humility, cobra = confidence + willpower, downward dog, lunge on the other side, fold, arms raised, mountain)
    • Repeat several times, finding a flow
  • Stith prarthnasana, checking in with body, mind, and breath
  • Chair pose + twist
    • Add breath of fire (optional)
  • Lower to child’s pose
    • Deep cooling breaths
  • Gomukhasana (without arms)
    • Lower forward if possible
    • Rise, add arms
    • Release arms, twist
    • Repeat for other side
  • Paschimottanasana
    • Yin and yang versions
  • Reverse plank provides a nice counterpose, especially with lion’s breath
  • Savasana + deep relaxation

It’s not a strongly physical practice, but that’s not what I was feeling at the time! Definitely cooling and relaxing, and incorporating lots of yogic principles. Most importantly, it was exactly what I would have done given ~65 minutes alone.

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