Should is a word that has dominated too many of my decisions and a word that I am working to break up with, however, I am regularly asked about my planning process and the time it takes to create a great class. More often than not, I hear this from teachers spending HOURS planning one class and feeling it "should" be easier/smoother/more efficient than that.
I also am aware that many teachers walk in to teach and make it up as they go along. If this process is working for you, please continue. I know that some of these teachers also ask about the process I take to plan so they can consider ways to make a class more meaningful.
Often, "having time" can be part of the internal dialogue keeping some from planning, but I know I spend at least 30 minutes a day scrolling. So perhaps we all have more time than we think we do....
Truth be told, I spend about an hour planning. After writing out my plans for my sequence and theme and creating a playlist, which takes me about 20 minutes, I like to practice my sequence to feel it in my body and ensure that it is safe and reasonable- and I also time-lapse it as part of my "marketing" plan. Taking my own class is an empathy building tool as well. I become familiar with the places in my plan that students will need encouragement and extra love and opportunities to edit what I sounded good on paper, but didn't work in my body. Because I also have my own home practice and workout plan each day, I tend to not to do every single repetition and movement, so I spend another 30-40 minutes on this task.
20 minutes is what I can guarantee for you! It is not what you "should" be doing, but what I think makes the most sense. I also think this amount of time strikes a delicate balance between apathy and control in your classes, which I believe to be important for yoga teachers. It also allows for details to be considered, but room left for divine intuition to guide rather than a script to dominate.
Here are some suggestions planning your yoga classes in 20 minutes time:
1. USE LAST WEEK'S SEQUENCE. Rather than starting from scratch, use what you have already crafted mindfully and grow it. I recommend making 3 changes- this will allow for a completely unique class, but also keep you grounded and confident. You will also avoid the tendency to reinvent the wheel week after week.
2. Plan how you will introduce your theme (if you use one). How can you share it clearly and concisely at the beginning of class? Where does your theme land in your physical practice? How does this theme live off the mat? You now have a beginning, middle, and end to your class.
***If you start with a theme and then sequence, steps one and two can be interchanged.
3. USE LAST WEEK'S PLAYLIST to begin and add in nuanced music- I suggest 3-5 new songs. Make changes to support the physical energetic and thematic elements of this new sequence.
4. EXTRA! Bonus two minutes- promote your class. Share with people WHY you created the class you created and what they can look forward to. Social media is a personal choice, but since you put the time and thought into a great class, but haven't burned yourself out, I would encourage you to share your passionate heart work. I use my time lapsed practice and sometimes take a photo or two of my peak pose. Some teachers post a quote that inspired their theme or edit an old photo with their teaching schedule.
Easier said than done? Maybe.
If this interests you, but you want more, I have created a mentorship program for yoga teachers, both LIVE versions (on Zoom) and in The Online Course format. Check it out and let me know how I can best support you.