Every now and then when looking for vinyasa class planning inspiration, all you need is a picture of one fun, funky, surprising, modern yoga pose variation. That one, where you go "Ha, I've never tried that".
Then you roll out your mat, play with the pose variation, break it down, and your whole class sort of unfolds. Vinyasa is beautiful that way, as teachers we are free and unlimited to explore, play, offer up new exciting dishes and flavours.
Just remember that including a funky yoga pose will ask something from you. Make sure you try everything about the pose, transitioning in and out of the pose, find the easier versions of it to guide it well to all levels of yogis, and of course sequence it into your class in a sensible, pedagogic and intelligent way. Have fun sequencing your next funky and playful vinyasa class!
1. Humble Flamingo
2. Variations of Camel pose
3. Goddess pose variation with a big smile
Photo: Pinterest/Christina Michelle
4. Crazy triangle pose
5. Forearm wheel with lounge legs
6. Pistol squat hold
Photo: Pinterest/Erica Tenggara
As vinyasa teachers we constantly crave and look for new and fun transitions, don't we? How to guide students from one pose to the next with elegance and maybe a little innovation is an art. Here are three fun, playful transitions that might give a little edge to your next vinyasa flow yoga class. To see them in movement, there are links below. You can find more moves if you head over to Elin's Instagram account and look under reels!
1. All fours to high lunge
From all fours, inhale to extend the right leg back. Exhale to lift left knee and draw right knee into chest (big image). Inhale lower left knee, right leg presses back. Exhale lift left knee, draw right knee to chest. Now inhale to three legged dog. Exhale to step the foot forward between the hands. Inhale arms up to high lunge. See the reel here.
2. Three legged dog to camel pose
From three legged dog, exhale to shift forward to three legged chaturanga. Inhale to upward facing dog. Exhale to sit back on your heels, grabbing the heels. Inhale press hips and chest forward to camel pose. Exhale to come all the way to down dog or child's pose. See the reel here.
3. Dolphin pose to chaturanga
Establish dolphin pose, ensuring that the elbows are pointing straight back, hands shoulder width apart. On an exhale, keep the elbows bent and shift the chest forward, squeezing the elbows in until landing in chaturanga. The arms never straighten. Inhale to up dog and exhale to down dog. See the reel here.
At the time of writing this, True North Vinyasa has graduated close to one hundred amazing, authentic vinyasa flow teachers at the 200 hr level. At this point we are getting ready to start designing a program on the 300 hr level (the two certificates combine into a 500 hr certificate). Our current plan is to launch the program in 2022. But we'd like your help in our pursuit to put together the best possible program!
If you are a yoga teacher, let us know what you are craving and longing for in an advanced teacher training. What is the most important for you? Please take 5-10 minutes and help us by filling out the survey below. More information about the advanced teacher training (we can tell you already that we'll have a lot of practice, anatomy, vinyasa sequencing and yoga business on the schedule!) will follow later this spring/summer.
Link to the survey
Elin & Lisa
At the moment, Yoga Alliance has extended the possibility for yoga schools to offer yoga teacher trainings online for at least another year. Chances are, this is a permanent shift. It's now possible to join a certified training anywhere at anytime, for as little as €350. A difficult choice for someone interested in becoming a yoga teacher just became even more difficult. How do you compare a €350 training with a €4500 training? We think you don't.
We discussed moving our training online when the pandemic first hit. Ultimately, our decision is firm. We will not offer our program online. These are some reasons why.
So, instead of re-inventing our program and trying to squeeze it into a screen, we will stubbornly stick with our 3 week intensives through 2021 as well. This is what we are passionate about. This is what we do best.
PORTUGAL APRIL 2021
SWEDEN SEPTEMBER 2021
PORTUGAL NOVEMBER 2021
If you're a yoga teacher, you're also an online yoga teacher now. Whether you like it or not. Overheard in a yoga podcast last year, oh so true. We've had to adapt and adjust, fumble around with cables, software and angles like never before. Here are a few things we've learned so far about teaching vinyasa flow online to a live group.
Your can find both Elin, Lisa and Nazareno online streaming away in the winter and spring of 2021. Take a class with one or all of us to get an idea of what you can expect in a daily practice at a 200 hour vinyasa teacher training.
Inpsiro Yoga's (Lisa & Nazareno) Virtual Studio ››
Elin Jensen's Virtual Studio ››
We are at the half way point of our 200 hour Vinyasa Teacher Training immersion in Portugal. We are fortunate to be in this educational and personal growth bubble for three long weeks. Under the olive tree, soaking up the sun, we asked everyone to share one of their insights so far. Ten days with 2 hour morning practices and long hours loaded with lectures, discussions and workshops covering everything from the Yoga Sûtra and Human Anatomy to teaching sun salutations and learning hands-on assists. Here is what some of our trainees shared.
I have learned the value of routines. It's good for me.
I feel safe and accepted just being who I am.
I've discovered how much I love sequencing and even drawing stick figures.
I've learned that a challenging pose can be a positive thing. It hasn't always been like that for me.
I have learned to enjoy the process.
I have realised the power of intention setting.
In our yoga teacher trainings, on the very first day, we ask our students this question. What makes a great yoga teacher? Not a good yoga teacher. Great. It's always a fantastic discussion. We end up with a long list of qualities that a great yoga teacher should have and quickly realise we may or may not have the time to develop them in the 200 hours ahead. But as hard as it is to sequence a class, separate left from right, and communicate the depth of yoga to a room full of people, even when all this is in place a yoga teacher can still be, well just good.
This discussion is important. How do we go from good to great? Do all great yoga teachers fill the room in the big cities? And, if a yoga teacher is popular and has a huge following, does that mean she must be great? Does a yoga teacher in a big high profile studio teach at a higher level than one in a small town space with 8 students? Think about it. Who is a memorable yoga teacher you have come across? One that you were willing to change your own schedule for. One whose class you cancelled when you heard there would be a substitute teacher. What did she have that the others didn't have?
What we have found is that great yoga teachers don't always come in the format of sold out high profile events. The primary quality of a truly great yoga teacher we believe is presence. The ability to truly connect. To work in a dialogue with the students, to see them, to be there in every cell and breath. Keep your eyes open – you can come across a great teacher anywhere at anytime.
In this the year of the mighty Covid-19, the connection of course is challenged. That dialogue with students is always compromised when teaching online. Not to mention when training teachers online. For a brief moment there, we were tempted to move our training to an online format. It seemed like the only way. But it never felt right by our trainees and everything we worked for and stand for.
We are so very grateful to our trainees this year, who have stayed with us and moved their dates forward. With your support and trust, we've been able to stay with our original concept: in-person immersion vinyasa teacher trainings with, you guessed it, human presence and connection for three long weeks. We managed to pull off an in-person training with 12 beautiful souls in Sweden in September. At the time of writing this, we are looking forward to our up-coming sold-out training in Portugal November 2–22, 2020.
This is the spring when yoga teachers' flexibility has been put to the test. Not mobility, that would have been easy for us. No, we're talking about our ability to adapt to not being allowed to teach as we are used to. We have started teaching online classes live. We have created classes with voiceover. We are recording classes with no visuals at all. As yoga studios now start to open again, we are not to do any physical assists. There is a silver lining to all these challenges. You have an amazing opportunity as a yoga teacher to work on your clarity and your verbal cues. Here are our top tips on teaching vinyasa flow with clarity:
As yoga teachers, we give it all. Our students look at us to guide them through an experience, and they come to our classes because we – or at least the practice we represent – keep them balanced. So how do we stay strong in our lives and our delivery? How do we evolve, just as our students do? Here are our 5 tips on how to stay inspired as a yoga teacher.
1. Keep taking public classes. It's easy to get caught up in the idea that you used to be a student and now you're a teacher, and your days in public classes are over. Not the case. You're still a student. You'll always be a student. Go take a class with a colleague. You can always pick up a little inspiration from other teachers' classes.
2. Establish and stay with your home practice. Each class planning moment is an opportunity for self practice. Sort of. But also, make space and time for practice just to practice. Don't forget what brought you to yoga to begin with. Keep exploring and re-discovering the joy of simply practicing yoga.
3. Take time off teaching. Allow yourself to take a break every now and then. Depending on your situation, it might be a month or just a week or even a few days. Give yourself enough time off so that you miss teaching.
4. Learn something new. It's highly valuable to expand your horizons and learn something totally new. Cooking classes, a language, ballet dancing, whatever really. You'll get to be a beginner, and in the process you'll learn to understand your beginner students better.
5. Evolve professionally. Keep learning about yoga philosophy, pedagogics, anatomy, leadership, business and marketing. Keep expanding yourself and keep offering your students more. Take an advanced teacher training, a shorter retreat for teachers or learn skills online.
Great news: Almost all of the above will be included in our 40 hour Teacher Immersion, focused on the Art of Sequencing and Theming Vinyasa. The course will naturally flow into branding and business, making sure that you stay true to who you really are as you evolve as a vinyasa teacher. Get ready to practice vinyasa flow with other teachers like you while expanding your network, learning to work even more professionally and at the same time enjoying the countryside of southern Sweden at the most magical light filled time of year. Happens June 1–5, 2020. Read more and book here ››
Articles about the world of teaching and living Vinyasa Flow Yoga by Elin Jensen and Lisa Andersson Rhodiner