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Teaching Hatha Yoga: Designing a Lesson Plan - Part 1

Paul M. Jerard Jr.
Aug 17, 2007
Which asanas, or Yoga postures, should you select? How long should you hold each Yoga posture? What is the benefit of holding a Yoga posture for minutes at a time?

Should you start or finish a Yoga class with meditation? How should you incorporate Pranayama within your Yoga class? These are some of the many questions that Yoga teachers must address and find solutions for.

Which asanas or Yoga postures should you select? Some Yoga posture sequencing is considered so important that a few Yoga teachers and Yoga Masters have gone through the trouble of patenting and copywriting them.

This is still a hot topic in some Yoga circles, but sequencing should ideally contain a mixture of standing, seated, table, kneeling, balancing, prone, and supine Yoga postures.

This may not always be possible, if you are teaching a specialized class, such as Chair Yoga or Prenatal Yoga, but a wide variety of Yoga postures will have a multitude of health benefits for mind, body, and spirit.

On the surface, we know that Yoga helps us live a better quality life - with improvements in pain relief, the immune system, circulation, removal of toxins, and a change to moderate dieting habits.

Therefore, any Yoga is better than no Yoga at all. This is why it is good to tell your students to add a small daily Yoga routine to their lives.

If they can practice Yoga longer, that's fine; but new Yoga students may have trouble fitting Yoga into their lives for 15 minutes a day. This shows you how busy they are all day.

How long should a student hold each Yoga posture? If you are teaching a Restorative, or Iyengar style, Yoga class, the postures will be held for a while. The purpose is for the above-mentioned health benefits for developing strength.

Most people think of Yoga as a "stretch class," but holding postures for more than 20 seconds starts to test the strength of your muscles. As the time gets longer, your muscles let you know they are being worked; and this is much less friction than joints are exposed to by many other exercise methods.

A Vinyasa style Yoga class will not hold postures for long, but Vinyasa classes are aerobic, while enhancing muscle tone and flexibility. Some Vinyasa Yoga enthusiasts insist Vinyasa is the ultimate cross training method.

To be honest, most of the Vinyasa students I teach are, on average, a generation younger than my Restorative Yoga students, and my Chair Yoga students are a generation older than my Restorative Yoga students. Therefore, the type of Yoga sequencing should address the health conditions of your students.

Copyright 2007 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
About the Author
Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995.

http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org
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