Is anyone else like me when it comes to planning a class?
Whenever I sit down and seriously start to map out a class, I begin with a *very* simple intention: this is going to be the best yoga class ever.
Yeah, it’s probably just me.
Over the last few months I’ve begun offering a monthly meditation at a studio where I teach. So far these classes have been well-received, so I wanted to keep the quality high in December, ahead of the hectic holiday season.
Part of my planning involved re-reading a Kripalu yoga guide book from Richard Faulds, which has been an invaluable tool as I find my teaching groove.
As I read through portions on meditation and relaxation, I kept writing down notes. I may have even done a few exaggerated nods while framing my chin with my thumb and index finger. Yes … this sounds really good, I should add this … but only after we do this, this aannnnnnd this!
A few days before the meditation I looked down at my notes and came to the conclusion I’d never be able to remember all these pieces, prompting another “a-ha” moment. Turns out I’d created a gigantic Dagwood-style sandwich. Each little wrinkle or pranayama was another topping, stacking the sandwich higher-and-higher into a Jenga-like tower.
On paper, to me at least, this looked like a very tasty sandwich. All the toppings were my favorites, after all.
Stepping back for a second, I realized that this sandwich was massive. How many people could even open their jaws wide enough to take even a small bite? (And what if they don’t like horseradish.)
Then it dawned on me: sometimes less can be more, whether it’s a sandwich or yoga. It’s often better to do one or two things great, rather than cramming in dozens mediocrely to mask quantity over quality.
From a teaching standpoint — I’m the only one who knew I had all these ideas. If I leave a couple out, nobody is going to even know! There was no need to build a tower that would collapse if one crucial piece got skipped. (Thank you 200-hour facilitation!)
Most-importantly, the world’s all-time greatest yoga class doesn’t need a requisite number of asanas to make it special. Often it’s more-important to allow space for students to work their way around a few pieces, rather than creating yoga sensory overload.
And, hey, sometimes a simple peanut butter and jelly can hit the spot.
Mike Cardillo, RYT-200, lives and teaches yoga in Connecticut. He believes yoga is more than simply making shapes with your body.
He can be reached at yogawithmikeCT [at] gmail.com or found at Facebook.com/yogawithmikeCT