I teach all sorts of yoga classes at a variety of locations and I’m always looking for ideas and themes. Another year has passed and just around the corner we celebrate a special day called “Earth Day.” Earth Day is always on April 22 and this year it happens on a Saturday. For this day or about this time, I like to celebrate earth in my yoga classes.
Spring time is a fond time for me and around mid to late April, it actually starts to behave more and more like spring here in Colorado. The world around me is coming to life with trees and flowers blooming and grass turning green. My neighbors are outside more and like them, I’m itching to be outside on especially nice days and it can be really rewarding if I can practice yoga surrounded by nature.
As I just mentioned, I like exploring ways to bring “Earth Day” into my classes during this time of year. One constant concept I’ll return to is that of “Grounding.” I’m pretty comfortable with teaching grounding as I teach a lot of trauma-sensitive yoga and its a pretty important theme. To enhance grounding, I’ve discovered therapeutic grade essential oils like Frankincense and Balance (grounding blend by doTERRA). If my class is open to essential oils, I have them hold their hand out as I go around and shake a drop or two in their palms. I encourage them to smell the oil and to put it where ever they want on their bodies. My folks tend to like this approach. Most folks opt for the oil but I have one or two who are cool with the aromatherapy but don’t actually want the oil on them.
Earth Day/Week Class
This year, I thought I’d incorporate all the “salutations” I know into class. My class is pretty familiar with Sun Salutations (A, B, and YogaFit’s hybrid of the two). On full moon days, I sometimes have incorporated Moon Salutations. I’ve used both the Ashtanga version and the YogaFit moon salutation versions in my classes.
So here’s my plan.
Grounding Theme. I like talking about connections, rooting, pushing down before we fly… those sorts of things.
Start with Child’s Pose (with one Egg Block under forehead) then slowly massage rock forehead on Egg. [(I use 3 Minute Egg Yoga Blocks. You can get them on Amazon plus I’ve gone to Jason’s training (creator of the blocks)].
All 4’s then Cat/Cow Flow then evolve into Sunbird Flow.
Transition into Downward Facing Dog and allow for feet pedaling and knee bends. After that Forward Fold interlaced with Half Lifts a few times. I then like to have them move from Half Lift into really bending the knees and draping/supporting their torsos on thighs and allowing the head to hang. If they feel comfortable, they can rag doll their arms or fold hands into elbow creases and gently pendulum side to side while fully supported. After a few, returning to Forward Fold then transitioning to Mountain Pose. From there, I often invite a few side bends just because I think they feel great.
Sun Salutation A (maybe add a little variation) – Do a few times.
Pit Stop in Mountain Pose.
Sun Salutation B – Do a few Times.
Pit Stop in Samastitihi (Equal Standing Pose).
Allow for Balancing Poses. I think Tree Pose and Half Moon are great options.
Moon Salutation (I’ve chosen YogaFit’s version because it is shorter than the Ashtanga version and I have time to flow through it a few times).
Transition to the Mat.
Earth Salutation (I’m only going to do one. I’m using the one I wrote about a while back for another Earth Day Celebration, but adding some transitions and variation that in my opinion allow it to flow a little more smoothly. Here is the link, if you want to check it out: Earth Salutation).
Then transition into Constructive Rest Position. Allow for Supine Spinal Twist and then giving my yogis their choice of final resting positions.
Usually, I close with Anjali Mudra, but for this class, I’m going with Garuda Mudra and as they are in it, reading the passage on page 103 of “Mudras: Yoga in Your Hands” by Gertrude Hirschi and ending with those Positive Affirmations.
You can make this class a Vinyasa style, teach it YogaFit style, or do more of a slow flow. It works great as one hour class but if you teach longer you can spend more time in flow sequence repetitions, flow breakdowns, or use the Ashtanga Moon Salutation Variation since it’s longer. I taught it this past Tuesday up at the Air Force Academy and they loved it.
If the weather is nice and you have the option, have class outside. If you teach inside, maybe use a nature inspired playlist.
So this is my plan, as I’ve said, I’ve already tried it out on one of my classes and it works nicely.
Use it if you’d like.