I was lucky enough to attend the Yoga Tune Up Super Summit last September, where I was able to practice with my own teacher trainer, Sarah Court. Like most of the sessions and practices I attended, I felt inspired to take what I had learned from her back to my own classes that I teach.
The class that Sarah had built was an inspiring sequence based around using the large muscles on the back of the body, a.k.a. posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, lats, etc.). She taught an incredibly creative and informative class by giving herself a few simple guidelines and working within a framework.
Since my return from the Summit, I’ve taught several classes inspired by sequences I learned while attending, but I hadn’t found the right way to use Sarah’s method of setting up parameters to build a creative sequence…until last week.
I knew I wanted to let my class pick some poses and some areas to use therapy balls for self-massage, and then I would make up a sequence using their ideas. What I didn’t know was how I’d get the ball rolling, so to speak. Enter “Spin the Yogi.”
I walked into the studio and wrote the following on the chalkboard wall:
My students made a circle around me, I rolled myself into a little ball, and all of them spun me like a human Wheel of Fortune to point at students at random.
Spinning and landing on a student one at a time, we selected:
- Three asanas
- Two places on the body to roll with our therapy balls
- One thing “to work on”
I left the last item very open. I told them we could work on something they struggle with, something they’d like to try but haven’t, or something at the rope wall (one of the great features of my home studio), or a prop I had pulled into the room (blocks, bands, straps, and blankets).
Here’s what they came up with:
- Happy Baby (Balasana), Camel (Ustrasana), and Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) poses
- Shoulder and low back rolling
- Partner work (the coolest choice of the night!)
I can’t cover the entire class here, but you might notice they picked two backbends, which led to some good talking points. I thought about Sarah’s class and used some bridge variations with one foot on a block. We practiced Camel variations with blocks and at the rope wall. We flipped our Camels onto the ground for Bow (Dhanurasana) with a partner assist of a fist to the sacrum.
My students enjoyed making some selections for our practice and were interested and amused in my ability to weave them together. Leaving yourself open to every option available may seem overwhelming when you’re practicing. Setting some parameters for the practice or sequence may prove inspiring. You don’t have to turn yourself into the Wheel of Yoga…but I can vouch that it’s pretty fun if you decide to try.
Tiffany Holmes is a technical writer by day, Yoga Tune Up teacher by night. She enjoys helping people learn how to move better and understand how they are put together. You can find her in the great state of Indiana, frightening her students at Studio Seva Yoga or CrossFit Tactical Strength. Midwest is best!