Few years ago I wrote a blog post about the similarities that a well-designed yoga class has to a good movie. All those ideas still hold true. However, the entertainment landscape has changed quite a bit since then, and nowadays we seem to consume many more shows (or TV series) than we do movies. From the perspective of storytelling, TV series have some obvious advantages because they allow much more time for developing characters and various storylines. This means that we have time to form relationships with those characters and become more invested in their lives. These are also the two main reasons (time for development and bigger investment) why I love teaching yoga series.
Over the past 20 years I’ve taught a LOT of yoga series that addressed physical, energetic and mental-emotional needs of my students. We used yoga to work with necks and shoulders, backs and hips, stress and balance, energy and vitality, joy and relationships, ayurvedic balance and personal transformation. I find teaching yoga series to be incredibly rewarding. When you have several weeks to focus on a specific topic, you can dive deeper into the subject of your choice and actually facilitate a meaningful change in your students’ lives. It also encourages your students to commit their time, energy and effort to this study, which makes them more invested both in the process, and the outcome.
Teaching yoga in the form of six- or eight-week series gives you an opportunity to:
1. Investigate multiple facets of the main topic
Having several weeks to explore one subject gives you time to paint a more comprehensive picture of what’s going on and how yoga can help. For example, if you are teaching Yoga for Stress Relief series, you can focus on different factors that contribute to stress, or the impact of stress on various physiological systems, or counteracting stress on physical, physiological and mental-emotional levels, or lifestyle strategies that help keep stress at bay (or some combination of the above).
2. Supplement yogic practices with additional theoretical information
In addition to the actual movement practice, yoga series usually include a theoretical component that puts the yoga practice into context, and gives your student a better understanding of why she is doing what she is doing. For example, in Yoga for Stress Relief series you can explain the physiological processes that help the body reabsorb built-up adrenalin, and link it to your decision to start the practice with strong vigorous movement.
3. Make progress over time
In the course of the series you usually have couple of months to help your students evolve from more basic toward more challenging practices. This doesn’t necessarily mean simply increasing physical intensity, but implies deeper understanding and embodiment of your chosen topic. When your students experience progress, they become inspired and empowered by their own actions.
4. Connect the lessons you teach in the yoga series to your student’s daily life
Ultimately, the reason most of us teach yoga is to enhance our students’ daily life – to help them be stronger and more resilient in the body, energy and mind. During your yoga series you can give your students simple homework assignments that involve paying attention to their choices and responses as it relates to the topic of your series, and suggest simple techniques to manage their struggles. For example, during your Yoga for Stress Relief series you can use simple chanting in your yoga class first to demonstrate the effect chanting has on the state of mind, and then encourage your students to carry that chant into their lives and use it any time the mind begins to spin.
5. Facilitate group interaction
When the same group of students with common challenges comes together for the duration of the series, they begin to form bonds based on shared experience. This makes the entire process more meaningful. You can encourage those connections by setting aside time for sharing their thoughts on the subject and responses to homework assignments. Each one of us needs to be seen and heard; sharing your experience in a supportive, welcoming environment validates it and has a profoundly therapeutic effect.
Teaching yoga series is also a rewarding experience for the teacher. Over the next few weeks we will discuss how you as a teacher can benefit from teaching yoga series, and how you can structure them for maximum effectiveness. Tune in!
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Check out our Yoga Series for Hip Tension and Butt Discomfort >>
In this six-week yoga series we focus on releasing chronic muscle contraction and restoring balanced relationships between different muscles that move and support the hips. This series is built in progression so that each new practice builds on movements and information presented in the previous one. The intensity of the practices builds gradually as well.
Sequence Wiz members have access to sequences from this series that they can modify any way they want (email us to claim those sequences after purchasing the series – we will add them to your account). Learn more about Sequence Wiz membership >