In my early years as a yoga teacher I would spend hours sketching out stick figure sequences, themes and variations of poses for my class plans. I would then spend more hours practicing and finely tuning those plans on my own mat before taking them out to my students. Some years on, it became a regular class joke that I never quite stuck to my plan and those poor yoga stick figures on the page hardly ever got the chance to be practiced.
Why had I started to deviate from my written plan and teach something different instead ? It could be conversations I would pick up as everyone was readying themselves before class started, someone struggling with a pose, moments when I noticed a shift in class energy that didn't sit well with me - those were cues to move away from the plan and provide the yoga that was needed for that moment. That change in teaching style was over 10 years ago now and it has been evolving ever since. Although my class content still has a theme it's not based on the usual hip opening or back bending themes but on release, the breath, posture, resilience, core connection, themes that are linked to what I call Innercise. I rarely demonstrate and I have veered any from hands on adjustments. I want my students to experience how the practice feels in their own body and have awareness and confidence in that connection. I believe that won't happen through watching a teacher perform a pose nor from adjustment. It hasn't been easy moving away from directive to embodied teaching but it has been rewarding. There are so many times I see people almost light up when they just "get it", or times when I see someone shift from agitation to ease even if only briefly.
So where does Getting Back to Simple fit in? It's another stage in that teaching style evolution. In this buzzed up, technology- driven, performance led world I have again noticed the cues not just in my classes but in my day to day life - peoples bodies are longing for permission to simplify, unplug and connect in a more meaningful way. So my classes and workshops are getting back to simple, simple breath and mindfulness practices, simple rhythmic movement, no frills poses allowing space to experience what is present, a generous dose of guided relaxation and most importantly - time to experience Innercise.