Warning: Long post!! Read on for some insight into the brain of a yoga teacher.
About one year ago I took a 6 hour sequencing workshop with Goldie Graham, and it completely changed the way I teach my classes. As I enter my 5th year teaching yoga, I still marvel at the changes it's made 1 year later. The workshop helped me to realize the importance of going into the room with a definitive plan. This has not only made me a more confident teacher, but it's been beneficial to my students as well. When I have a plan of what I want to teach and how I want to teach it, I'm able to guide my students into more advanced postures, and stay more present to what's happening in the room since I'm less worried about what I'm going to teach. This is what people want at Barre & Soul Melrose, where the yoga crowd is strong!
Now I have a process for developing a sequence, which is fun and effective. I sit down and develop a new sequence for each month. Part of my creative process is asking myself, "What theme do I want to do this month?" or "What's something I haven't taught in a while or have never taught?" or even "What do my students seem to need right now?" This method helps me to stay fresh in my sequencing and also challenge myself and grow my teaching abilities.
I'm also working on developing a template for how I sequence, so that I can streamline the planning & development process. It makes me feel very professional, and I love this level of craftsmanship. It's made me realize that even though I think of yoga sequencing as a creative process, it still demands discipline and structure.
In the beginning, teaching the same class for a month made my inner critic cringe. Will my students get bored with the same class for 1 month? Will I get bored teaching the same class for a month? Whenever I started to think like this, I would tell myself the following:
-some people practice Bikram/other formatted yoga styles and love it, and that is always the same class sequence. There are, of course, pros and cons to this...
-teaching the same class for a month gives the students the chance to practice an "advanced" posture multiple times, and make "measurable" progress
-even if I tried my hardest to teach the same class every time, it would come out different because each class is inherently different!
After I mentally run through these statements, I feel confident again.
Over the course of the month, sometimes I fall so in love with my sequence, and when the month ends I don't want to change it, or other times I am so over the sequence and desperate for a new one. It's all part of my evolution as a yoga teacher.