When devising a yoga class or experience for a private client, I believe it’s essential to choose a central theme. This helps you structure all the elements of the class around this theme. The elements should include a bit of philosophy, meditation and, of course, pranayama, NOT just the asanas.
Some common themes I often choose have been energetic: how to help relax when stressed or unable to sleep, or the opposite…how to charge up your energy for the day. Other themes have included something more specifically physical: hip/shoulder openers and core strength, or twists to cleanse the organs. Another theme has been the heart center, how yoga focusing on charging and powering up the heart center can boost immunity, or your general radiance around other people … your energy in bringing good fortune and positive things to you. There are endless possibilities for themes: the seasons, a current event, balance, empowerment, courage, etc.
What continues to amaze me is how creative you can be about structuring sequences. There are so many ways to go about it, with carefully considered music and even your own unique touches…such as aromatherapy oils. I took a class in which the instructor stroked each one of our left palms while we were in Savasana. When we were coming out of Savasana, she instructed us to rub our palns together vigorously and breathe in. The oil smelled of rosemary and mint (I think?) and it was quite wonderful and invigorating. Sometimes, just knowing that the teacher does little extras like that sometimes will certainly make them stand out in my mind. I also recall a Kundalini instructor at Yoga West who used to sometimes offer homemade cookies an ginger tea at the end of a class. Such things put a wonderful, human and personal stamp on the experience.
By the way, yogajournal.com has a really cool Yoga Sequence Builder that lets you string together poses. What I do is create the sequence, hit the print button and then in my computer’s print dialog box I save off the page queued for printing as a PDF. This way, I can email the PDF to my students and clients to use at home.