This observation was another exciting event for me this past week. Since I've been taking training with Gioconda, I thought that I would be accustomed to her teaching style and classes and just being in general....but I was so wrong. I am continuously impressed by her ease at leading a class of 35+ students in a tiny heated room where everyone is so clearly just so inspired by her presence that they feel empowered to do things like handstands in the middle of their sun salutations! This was new to me, so I was impressed to say this least. The thing that I kept writing in my notes was that no matter what the sequence actually consisted of, whether it was the smallest motion of lifting the leg into dog dog splits, or handstands in between tic tocs in between shoulder stands....seriously my mind was blown watching this class....but every students was just so clearly inspired and empowered to reach to a new level of asana and yoga with every movement (I'm not kidding....and I confirmed this notion with students of hers afterwards as well!).
As far as actual sequencing goes, I noticed a few key things, that we've been talking about in training. One of them is continuing to refer back to the theme, whether it be directly talking about it, an anecdote, or somehow incorporating it into a transition between poses. "No situation in life is worth leaving yourself behind." I liked that quote.
Another thing I noticed was the forward thinking - which is something we talking about in training as well. Being ahead of the movement of the class, so that the instructor is the one leading and not being drug along behind the movements of their own class. I noticed that a good time to give students who seem to be struggling a bit extra help is while the class is holding a pose for longer - like pigeon, and their heads are down so the struggling studets doesn't feel isolated or picked on. The same goes for students who are maybe more advanced and can be given extra direction, but doing it in a way that doesn't interfere with or undermine the rest of the class.
Encouragement is important throughout sequencing as well, to keep spirits lifted. Especially toward the end of class when the energy level is clearly dwindling and students are clearly no long to hold themselves up in downdog for as long or push through an entire vinyasa. I could tell that the students when getting tired when they stopped sporadically pushing up into handstands! Seriously, that blew my mind!
Talking about where you should feel the work and where you should feel the stretch in any particular pose is also as important part of sequencing, especially with poses that not everybody may be as familiar with, or in a pose where incorrect alignment or posture could be especially harmful to the body.
All in all, it was a completely different experience being the observer of Gioconda's class, after taking so much instruction from her in the past couple of months. It was inspiring and motivating and I feel truly privileged and honored to be getting so much one-on-one training and instruction from her!
Observation 2 - complete!