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3 (4) Elements to a Yogasana Class


Every yogasana class I teach, I consider 3 elements:

Tejas

Vinyasa Krama

Smarana


✨TEJAS ✨

Sanskrit root: TEJ

= to sharpen, energy of the fire element


My favorite definitions:

✨Illuminating radiating light that shines from within

✨vigor

✨brilliance


How can we invite Tejas into our classes?


Spoiler: it’s NOT a million Chaturangas 😉


Tejas is often the result of tapas (heat, discipline, burning enthusiasm)


Tapas may come from:

🔥 showing up when you don’t want to

🔥 sitting consistently

🔥 movement with breath cues

🔥 longer Asana holds

🔥 breath options

🔥 encouraging inquiry


Our radiating light comes from consistent polishing. Maybe today it’s an Asana practice, and tomorrow it’s journaling. As a teacher, it’s important to offer a range of tools beyond just the physical shapes.


No matter what, if YOU always show up as YOUR biggest/brightest/most authentic self, you can inspire others to do the same.


✨VINYASA KRAMA ✨

Sanskrit roots:

Vi = in a special way

Nyasa = to place

Krama = custom or succession


Loosely translated to “wise progression” aka intelligent sequencing, and easily my personal favorite element to teaching classes, whether 1:1 or public.


Maybe you teach a peak pose, or maybe it’s a category of poses.

Or perhaps you are cultivating a general feeling (Bhavana), even a generalized approach to hitting most major groups with clear intentions to stretch, strengthen, or assist in mobility.


Side note: I truly believe that peak pose sequencing can work at times, AND that’s a whole other post <soapbox> completely 😉


A few things to consider before beginning:

1️⃣ What’s your purpose for teaching this class? Intention, Bhavana, Goal? Whatever you want to call it, what’s your purpose?

2️⃣ Where are you going? Peak pose (or category)? Breathwork? Meditation? Pace?

3️⃣ Who are your students? Who usually shows up? And then who actually shows up?

4️⃣ How do you want them to feel?

5️⃣ What is the energy of the world? Season? Locally?

6️⃣ What areas of the body will require more flexibility? More strength? Any areas of risk?


“Not enough to climb a tree, we must also get down.” ~ T.K.V. Desikachar


Oh yeah!

Remember to bring your students back home, no matter how far out you may have adventures!



✨ SMARANA ✨

Sanskrit root:

SMARA = remember or loving recollection #lesigh


Stated as an opportunity for inquiry:

What sort of lasting impressions am I leaving?


Inquiry for students:

Which class(es) do you remember? WHY? Get specific.


Chances are you left class feeling inspired, 10-feet tall, unf*ckable with, sparkly AF, unicorn glow activated…. A little more connected to your inner radiance and shine #tejas


<Disclaimer: not all of the classes that I remember are for good reasons. I also remember the classes that left me feeling disempowered, or disconnected from my own radiance. This too deserves further inquiry>


“At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou


I recently did a super scientific poll on Instagram, where I asked a simple question. I was asking truly from a place of curiosity, as I always struggle with how to describe my teaching style. I was smacked in the face with floods of loving recollections, and reflections. I’m not sharing this to pump myself up (although I’m never one to shy away from personal celebrations). Rather to offer examples of remembered resonances.

A few words that were reflected back to me that have imprinted themselves on my heart:

Magic

Ocean

Sunlight

Nourishing

Cohesive

Light


s/o to everyone who took time to answer, my heart grew 10 sizes from your reflections


What I learned from the exercise was that the impression I have been making matters to folks. <No matter what those voices in my head may say>


Ok, so how do we add loving recollection to our classes?


First, see your students. Yep, the ones who actually show up and are right in front of you.

Seeing looks like:

1️⃣Watch the pace at which your students are moving

2️⃣Adjust your cue-ing to meet the median pace

3️⃣Listening for breath

4️⃣Demo with props


Other opportunities to leave a last memory include:

✨Intentional theme weaving - a whole topic in and of itself (coming soon!)

✨5+ minute savasana - can’t remember anything if we don’t have time to rest, or sort the memories into storage

✨Vinyasa Krama

✨Igniting Tejas

(Already covered! BAM!)


Ways the strengthen your individual Smara aka smara shakti (the super power of remembering)

  1. After you take a yogasana class, sit for minute (car or home) and write down the sequence of the class you just took.

  2. At the end of your day, take time to unravel by remembering your day backwards in 30-minute intervals.


And now, a TWIST!!


As my understanding of the practices of Yoga have evolved, I'm (un)learning A LOT. Part of my practice has been to actively seek out and learn from BIPOC teachers, as I've heard plenty of white teacher's perspectives.


Adding a 4th element:

✨ Reverance ✨


This looks like:

Land acknowledgement

Introducing myself with my pronouns

Lineage acknowledgement

Practice appreciation over appropriation


None of these are topics that I teach on, as they are not my lane.


Some teachers to learn from...aka PAY them for their wisdom and sharing of their lived experiences. <listed in alphabetical order>

  1. Susanna Barkataki

  2. Michelle Cassandra Johnson

  3. Tristan Katz

  4. Rebby Kern

  5. Jesal Parikh

  6. Tejal Patel

(Jesal and Tejal are the cohosts of Yoga is Dead podcast)


My personal Yoga lineage is below, or read more about it here.



Are you ready to evolve your teaching, or maybe even begin teaching?


We cover these elements in both my group mentorship program, and my 200 hour YTT!


✨Mentorship cohorts in March + November

🌙 Elemental Moon YTT begins in June


Psst…special Vinyasa Krama training coming in the spring…stay tuned 🎉

Let’s grow together ✨