How To Structure and Teach Yoga Workshop

I am participating in The Yoga Sequencing To The Individual Blog Tour hosted by Kate of You & the yoga mat (youandtheyogamat.com). Join me and other expert yoga teachers this month as we discuss the tips, tricks, and techniques behind sequencing to individual by joining the blog tour here (youandtheyogamat.com/sequencing).

Yoga is a powerful medicine. When executed correctly, it has incredible potential for erasing pain, promoting better posture, reducing anxiety, improving cognitive function and enhancing our ability to be more comfortable in our own skin.
In my work, by far one of most transformative work happens in a workshop envirovement. I love teaching events, where students from all walks of life commit to an afternoon or full day of immersive learning experience.
As a specialized yoga therapist, my main forte is using yoga as medicine; in order to soothe and self-manage common conditions such as back pain, pelvic floor dysfunction or rotator cuff injuries.
People who are drawn to my teaching are usually people in pain, those who have tried variety of treatments without lasting change or folks who are deeply interested in learning about preventative medicine.
I like to plan my workshops well ahead- and after the obvious of setting up date, venue, opening registration and taking in bookings, closer to the date I look at the actual list of participants.
I always take into consideration the following:
• Are these students completely new to my work (or do I have folks that are studying with me for a while)?
• Are there people with severe conditions (such as fibromyalgia, acute injuries, suffering with panic attacks etc) who might require more customized approach?
Obviously, many times is hard to know about people who I have never met or heard about, but even a brief idea serves as solid platform to build a strategic workshop plan.

My 5 simple steps to crafting the workshop:


• What is the workshop theme, and taking in considerations the students enrolled, how I can best facilitate an envirovement of learning and healing for them?
• Introduction- creating the ‘’why’’ of this event
• Anatomy, physiology, learning
• Embodied practice+ hands-on adjustments
• Shavasana/ tying in the main concepts

1. Here is where the overall ‘’game plan’’ comes into place. Having the clarity on who is entering the classroom, all the while understanding the basic concepts that the workshop theme requires ensures that I am able to craft and deliver the event with a potential of creating powerful change in an individual student’s body.
2. In the introduction piece, I always take time to whole-heartedly welcome all attendees. I announce who I am, introduce the work that I do, and give people the overhaul of what to expect.

Example:
‘’ Hi, good afternoon everyone, welcome to the Lower Back Makeover workshop.
My name is Dagmar Khan, and I am Yoga Tune Up Teacher Trainer, Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation and Stress Management Specialist. I love helping my students better live in their bodies, and become the catalyst for their own healing.

This is the LOWER BACK MAKEOVER WORKSHOP. Who in this room has experienced lower back pain at some stage in their lives (allow them to lift hands and participate. Encourage them to speak with further questions; something like ‘’is that chronic pain, or mainly discomfort based on daily wear and tear in your body?’’).

After little conversation (which is amazing for breaking ice and enhancing sense of trust between us), I like to follow:
‘’Lower back pain is the single most common pain of all body pains everywhere. And while accidents, bad falls and traumas are all unfortunate, lots of our lower back discomfort stems from hours of sitting, poor posture, lack of movement or locked up SI joints.
This workshop will be like a balm for your midline. It will give you access to understanding your lower back anatomy, we will massage your lower spine with the Yoga Tune Up® Therapy balls, and condition your backbone for better strength, suppleness and enhanced movement.
Best of all- I will show you and teach you how to scale these techniques into your everyday life; so your lower back continues to heal for years to come.
Are you ready to roll?’’
Over the years, I have received an incredible feedback on this part of my teaching. Students truly appreciate the clarity they receive right at the start of the seminar, rather than being lost and under-prepared of what their bodies will be going through for next 3 or 6 hours.
Introduction sets a stage, opens the door to the work and creates immediate connection with my audience.

3. Anatomy, Physiology, Learning
After simple grounding practice (brief meditation, lying on the floor and basic breathing mechanics), I pull out skeleton, anatomy books, markers and bands.
Using visual experience, and my props, I like to talk about the structure of the lower spine. Concepts such as spinal vertebrae, discs and thoracolumbar fascia become 80% more alive when students are being given visual cues and embodied hands-on-experience. This clears any confusion and allows them to be in better understanding of their bodies, and opens a space for embodying these structures as the movement part of the workshop unfold.

4. Embodied Practice + Hands On adjustments
This is the heart and soul of all of my workshops. Throughout this part, I get students to self-soothe areas of pain and dysfunction with the Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls, mobilize areas that might have been stagnant or lacking movement for a while, and indulge in strengthening tissues that are habitually weak and not creating sufficient structural support for their spines.
When it comes to conditioning the lower back, I always ensure that I target the Quadratus Lamborum (the deepest lower back muscle),and encourage it to move in ways that provide lasting relief for student’s spines. Lateral flexion/ extension (think sidebends) is particularly helpful for creating better balance through both sides of the waist and establish integrity in the midline.
To further help my students embody the therapeutic concepts; in cases when I notice area of confusion, or inability to move efficiently, I offer safe and supportive hands-on-adjustments. Sometimes this hands-on-approach allow the students to better understand their end range of motion, but often a slight touch on specific part of their body is all that is required to help awaken better tissue sense.

5. Shavasana- Tying in Main Concepts
Throughout the final resting pose (be it classical shavasana; or some deeply restorative pose), I like to guide my students through the learnings and structural changes they have created during our time together.
Tying in imagery, colours, sensations and variety of body parts, I offer participants mental journey; which will allow them to better maintain the embodied experience of their learnings and walk away with ability to scale these techniques into their everyday lives.

It is my mission to help my students take a good care of their bodies, and become the pioneers of their healing journeys. Serving them through embodied knowledge, conscious movement and empowered self-care has been extremely fulfilling journey.

I am participating in The Yoga Sequencing To The Individual Blog Tour hosted by Kate of You & the yoga mat (youandtheyogamat.com). Join me and other expert yoga teachers this month as we discuss the tips, tricks, and techniques behind sequencing to individual by joining the blog tour here (youandtheyogamat.com/sequencing).

Comments

comments

  • Like this post?

    Sign up for more--and learn how to overcome stress, restore health and enhance your emotional resilience-FREE

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Comments are closed.

  1. Sandy, I am so glad you found this article beneficial. I will be delighted to get to meet you in person one day!