Segmenting Your Class

Lesson Overview

In this lesson, we introduce a flexible teaching framework that can assist in ensuring a class feels balanced and effectively meets intentions.

Objective

Become familiar with how a class can be segmented in order to assist in effective sequencing and pacing, and how to use a segmented class framework for setting and meeting intentions.

Description

Explain the challenge that newer teachers face in trying to accomplish all of their intentions and the specific tasks that are required to skillfully develop and teach an effective sequence. Offer a teaching tool that can help to ensure a class feels balanced and effectively meets intentions. Provide an example of how we might think of a class being comprised of five segments and how much time might be devoted to each segment. Note a specific practice that can help to more easily notice if a class has begun to “get behind” and provide ideas and considerations for class segments to use as a flexible teaching framework.

The Challenge

It can be challenging to accomplish all of your intentions without the class “getting away from you” i.e. becoming imbalanced with too much focus in one area or not enough time left for an adequate Savasana, for example.

More specifically, to skillfully design and teach an effective sequence requires many tasks such as:

  1. Working within a confined time that varies by class
  2. Adhering to wise teaching guidelines and safety cautions
  3. Moving the spine in all directions
  4. Considering all joints
  5. Neutralizing throughout class
  6. Effectively weaving in a theme
  7. Teaching an overall balanced or intentional class while creating an energetic arc from warm up to peak intensity and back down
  8. Meeting the needs of various student types plus adapting for individual needs

Sample Framework

Introduction

  • Depending upon the style and intention for class, there can be quite a lot of variance among teachers, but no matter the approach, thinking of a class in segments can help to ensure it feels balanced and effectively meets your intentions.
  • Consider dividing your class into sections and applying a percentage of class time to each. This makes it easy to adapt a class to different lengths such as 45, 60, 75 or 90 minutes.

Sample

Here’s a starting place from which to create your own timing of segments:

  1. Welcome, Opening, Warm Up —15 to 20% of class
  2. Heat Building, Standing Poses —20 to 25%
  3. Inversions, Arm Balances, Floor Poses —20 to 25%
  4. Cooling, Slowing Down —15 to 20%
  5. Savasana, Pranayama, Meditation, Closing —15 to 20%

Another helpful practice for more easily noticing if a class has begun to “get behind” is this:

  • Take note of your targeted end time for each segment of class and then periodically watch the clock while teaching.

Here’s a tool we developed for newer teachers. These percentages are simply from our own experience; please vary them according to your style and goals.

Focus by Segment

The following are ideas and considerations for class segments. Not all suggestions will be relevant to all styles. Use this framework to build and tweak according to your own style and intentions.

Opening

  1. Design an opening that gives an opportunity for students to center themselves.
  2. Keep opening and initial centering practice to a particular time limit, such as 8 minutes, in order to ensure students, have the opportunity to soon begin simple movement and connecting with their breath.
  3. You may wish to introduce a theme here.

See Also

Warm Up

  1. Meet students where they are energetically. For example, if students appear tired or lethargic, you may choose to begin with poses on the floor and/or poses that have a slow and gentle rhythm. And if students have excess energy, you might choose to begin with standing poses or poses that require more focus or energy.
  2. Use rhythmic movement during warm up.
  3. Avoid static holds, many seated forward bends and in-depth alignment teachings until students have a chance to become attuned to their breath and inner state.
  4. Avoid too much verbal instruction before students have a chance to move their bodies and become attuned to their breath and inner state.
  5. If you did not introduce a theme during the Opening, you may wish to do so here.

See Also

Heat Building

  1. Choose poses that prepare for the rest of class.
  2. For Peak Pose Sequencing, see Choosing & Arranging Poses.

See Also

Floor Poses

  1. Be sure to be knowledgeable about Asana Categories including their effects and sequencing considerations.
  2. Ensure to plan for proper neutralizing and counterposes.

See Also

Savasana

  • Consider calculating a Savasana length of 5 minutes for every 30 minutes of asana.