Teaching a Sequence of Yoga Classes as a Series, a beginner’s view

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teaching a sequence of yoga classes as a series, a beginner’s view





last week we finally got our projected class schedule up and running in our new home of burlington, vermont – much thanks to the fitness center downtown

envisioned was a sequence of classes available throughout the week, each good as a stand-alone, yet beneficial if taken sequentially

the concept is essentially to more firmly integrate fitness and yoga, especially in a manner that allows a person to enjoy getting fit, encourages a person to want to be and stay fit, and is doable 😉


Three Class Premise

[ 032212 – this is a sample image included in an in-progress ebook of one year of images on yoga-adan ]

Sequence of Florals
Sequence of Florals, Original Photography Adan Lerma

the challenge has been, to find the format with enough time to leisurely present and have a group of de-conditioned or beginning people, experience the possibility of integrating and seeing the links between yoga, fitness, and other exercises

one of my class descriptions in-progress that my wife likes, says,

“The yoga experience is extended by the occasional inclusion of other fitness elements, such as zumba, dance, elastic bands, and weights, for the purpose of helping each person experience the continuity of human movement in various activities. Extended movement work will then be woven back into basic yoga poses”

this also fulfills something seldom spoken of for teachers, that i myself am personally interested in and enjoy all the activities described above

and when making a living is as important as the content of one’s classes, and often is, this isn’t always possible, but i’ll address the issue of finding meaning in seemingly unrelated unappealing movement activities in a future post, ie, i’m gonna have to think about it, but not right now 😉


though not essential, i am fortunate to currently be able to present the three classes in our sequence at the same time at the same location each mid-morning (great time for seniors), m-w-f

thus a day in-between each session, plus a weekend recovery time

can multiple locations be used? absolutely!

can the days be different? of course!

would a workshop work? yes!


though there’s a series of fitness ideas i like to work into the yoga classes, and they normally take weeks and even months to present in a way they’re more likely to be internalized and integrated into adl’s (activities of daily living) – a multi-day workshop, with full or 3/4 days, would also work in a more condensed format

it would give a good grounding if done right


so for now, we’re taking our single class a week sequence, and seeing how it’ll bloom in this new format

as marjorie, the owner of the fitness center sheila and i will present our classes at says, these are really building block classes, for anyone


The Classes

Class One – 

Sequence Segment 1
Sequence Segment 1, Original Photography Adan Lerma

a very basic yoga class, emphasizing breathing and just a few poses per session

our website class description

For anyone with little or no basic yoga experience, or needing to begin their first steps into fitness. Very slowly paced.

Postures, breathing, and basic fitness tips mixed into a true beginner’s learning experience.

No headstands, no pretzels please 😉

our extended class description for handouts flyers etc

A basic beginner’s class for anyone wanting to slowly start a fitness program.

 Exercise is experienced in ten minute segments, with each class have one or more exercise segments. Time before, between, and after the ten minute segments is used to learn basic fitness and wellness tips. A gentle warmup and cooldown is included.

 Anyone is welcome to participate, and chair modifications are also available. Each person will be encouraged to find their own range of motion, ease of movement, and fullness of breath. Care for easing into fitness at your own pace is emphasized.

 Enjoy learning about yoga, stretching, balance, aerobics, and weights. All in short easy to manage separate ten minute sequences.

 Husband and wife, Adan and Sheila, both in their 60’s, certified by AFAA in group fitness, look forward to meeting you.


our wed and fri classes had begun late june, but because of the long weekend for the 4th of july, we began our mon am class only last week

the satisfaction of having the time to tread as slowly as the class required, explaining stopping starting demo’ing doing, all was a distinct pleasure


Class Two – 

Sequence Segment 2
Sequence Segment 2, Original Photography Adan Lerma

fully chair based / assisted; great for anyone needing or wanting a low-t0-no impact class, or, being able to show someone else this great alternate way to get started or stay active; combines yoga and functional fitness

our website class description

Chair based aerobic and strength exercise routines, set in two or more ten minute segments, with basic fitness information discussed between sets.

Session is extended with inclusion of basic gentle yoga chair-based poses and breathing.

our extended class description for handouts flyers etc

Gentle functional fitness exercises for an enhanced quality of living are presented in chair and chair assisted format by AFAA Group Fitness certified instructors, husband and wife seniors, Adan and Sheila Lerma.

 Exercise segments are presented segments of ten minutes or more, divided by discussion of basic fitness information and review of the exercises presented.

 Included in class are alternating segments of yoga, aerobics, weights or elastic bands, stretching, and balance work. A warmup and cooldown is included, often woven into the initial and final segments.

 Routines are extended with inclusions of gentle breathing exercises.

 Adan and Sheila welcome anyone of any age to attend and enjoy the class within their own range of motion.


an la times article on muscle soreness (doms) recently posted on the fitness center downtown’s facebook pg, does a nice job of pointing out many of things we try to point out in class to our participants, such as hydration, snacks after exercise, warm-up & cool-down, and recovery

and recovery is almost a forgotten variable

i’ve sometimes thought i’d gotten around recovery, but really only delayed it 😉

one of our ideas, among several, in having our chair based class as the middle class of three, was to provide a respite between the start of the week jump in fitness activity, and the end of the week press before the weekend

i’ve often felt and wrote that chair based work was also good for those more active, as a means of staying tone and active, but also allowing time for recovery

when sheila, or myself, is particularly in need of recovery time, but still feel the urge to do something of a workout, a chair based yoga, aerobic, strength, or balance set is all we need


Class Three – 

Sequence Variation
Sequence Variation, Original Photography Adan Lerma

our extended yoga class that lets a person experience more directly, similarities between yoga and dance or elastic bands or weights

our website class description

Standing, sitting, and mat based gentle slow paced and held yoga postures in segments of ten minutes or more. Basic fitness information is discussed through-out the class period.

Session is extended with occasional use of dance or strength related movements.

All classes begin with a fitness tip and breathing exercise.

our extended class description for handouts flyers etc

Husband and wife seniors, Adan and Sheila Lerma, certified in group fitness by AFAA, welcome anyone interested in gently learning basic yoga poses, mudras, and basic breath work.

 The yoga experience is extended by the inclusion of other fitness elements, such as zumba, dance, elastic bands, and weights, for the purpose of helping each person experience the continuity of human movement in various activities. Extended movement work will then be woven back into basic yoga poses.

 Class exercise is broken down into ten minute or more segments, with discussion and demonstration of basic fitness and wellness tips. Each person is encouraged to progress and enjoy the class within their own range of motion and exertion. Additionally, a gentle warmup and cooldown is included.

 All ages are welcome.


playing with, or experimenting with, or just plain developing ideas for classes for people to enjoy and benefit from, seems to be a necessary creative effort for me –

i have to tinker and try things 😉 you can too, really!

teachasana, a really nice teaching blog from the folks from curvyyoga and flying yogini, had an article recently titled, “so you want to teach in a studio?” , and their idea # 3 was “make a creative offer” with the idea that “There really is no end to possibility.”

if it works, great!

if it doesn’t work, well, for me, i’ll definitely learn something from it 😉


What About My Fitness?

if, as mentioned above, a seldom asked question for a teacher is, “what are you interested in?” , then the question, “so what class do you get your fitness in?” , is, i think, asked even less

Adan Lerma
Adan Lerma

both my wife and i are up-front with our classes that we each enjoy other activities, such as jazzercise, zumba, dance, biking, strength work, and walking also

much of what we do, is at home –

self-practice routines, some to dvds (10 min am denise austin yoga stretch), some to our whim (a few minutes doing this or that), some self-created (sheila has her own “wake up sheila” routine she likes some mornings) –

even preparing a class by running through it several times can be a workout!

plus classes with other instructors, which vary according to availability and our time needs

we both intensely enjoy our jazzercise classes here in burlington –

and i’ve recently gotten to do a nice pm yoga class with katie, who also teaches at the fitness center downtown where we do our own classes


obviously i don’t feel i can legitimately get my own workout while teaching my own class, though some days i certainly feel the effort put out 😉

is it possible to get one’s own workout leading a class?

most people say no, and i “generally” agree –

but as with most (but not all) things, there seem to be exceptions –

maybe leading a class too big to monitor? where one is the role model of the moves being done? and has assistants out in the audience?

i don’t know, but anyone knowing, please feel free to chime in via the comments


either way, i do believe it’s vitally important that each of us, teacher or not, maintain involvement with those activities we ourselves find interesting and fun 😉


Final Thoughts


this is an experiment worth working with


Sequence Variation
Sequence Variation, Original Photography Adan Lerma


in league city, at the senior center there, activities are so well built-up, there were many seniors coming to various classes from morning til noon (when lunch is served a few days a week)

here, there’s no built-in flow of participants, yet; but space and time is available to see if the 3x a week format the seniors indicated they wanted, will work

with an opportunity for seniors and others to choose individual classes of interest, or do the entire sequence, by learning basic poses, then feeling how they differ in chair mode, and finishing the week by applying it all in a more active multi-movement style class, we think it will –

even if with a tweaking or two 😉



as so often seems to happen when i prepare a post, the ethers of the internet were alive with related material

the one that struck me strongest, is entitled, “shame-free yoga, yoga for your body” – a guest post by marianne on curvyyoga

i wrote, in part, on their site, in their comments,

“what an exceptionally clear compassionate portrayal of the topic of shame in our bodies, thank you

“minor things i liked (relative to the article), were the inclusion of us guys 😉 ‘a truly safe space for men and women to explore yoga’ , and the references to being too hairy

“i remember when i was 14 wrapping a large beach towel around me to hide my early teen hairyness, and ending up looking like i was walking around naked at the local pig stand drive-in 😉

“the major thing that appealed to me was the careful development of the concept of accepting ourselves, where we are, as we are, ie, as per above in your article, ‘yoga will meet you AND your body exactly where you are, and that nothing about you needs to be fixed or changed’”

“our very basic gentle yoga class this morning, kept returning to that theme, including for myself, noticing my hairy legs against my mat 😉 while still retaining the sense of recognizing what each of us chooses to change….”

we want, i think, a normal specialness and respect

unique as a regular course of events

i know i do 😉

namaste – con dios – god be with you



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  2. Lots of nuggets of wisdom to take from that post Adan, but of course I had to get this sentence stuck in my head: “playing with, or experimenting with, or just plain developing ideas for classes for people to enjoy and benefit from, seems to be a necessary creative effort for me” – I love the creativity that infuses yoga classes, and your own thing too. Yes you have to try things, and that’s also when fun comes in 🙂

    Anyway, very curious about your classes, as a yogini who also runs because she needs some pure cardio in the mix (although for me running is also moving meditation, but that’s another story 😉 ).


    • emmanuelle! 😉 thank you so much for your thoughtful reply, you are either wise beyond the years i thought much about stuff (other than constantly being in a wondering kind of fog about this world we’re in) or your blog photo’s “way” out of date 😉

      i know very much what you mean ’bout needing a pure cardio – we’re blessed now-days with knowing and having so much available we can do and enjoy for ourselves

      i “used” to run, loved it, i tried to capture some of it in my poem “cross country” –


      you, young lady, will, i believe, have much much to share with us in the time ahead


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