Teaching Yoga – Lessons from a Chef
By Kristine Kaoverii Weber | September 23, 2023
My sister is a chef who owns a catering and events business in LA. I’m biased of course… but I still think she’s amazing – she’s received numerous awards including cooking at the James Beard House…twice.
When we were kids living in Pennsylvania, a female chef from Italy opened a restaurant nearby. Kat wasn’t even 16, but she got a job washing dishes and started learning to cook. The owner loved her and took her under her wing. I remember how that experience transformed my sister – it opened a whole new world that gave her an opportunity to begin to express her artistic talent. It set the trajectory of her life.
I’ve never met anyone who can put together the kind of extraordinary culinary experiences my sister creates. She knows how to coordinate flavors, pair items with wines (alcoholic and non), create a crescendo with her courses, and focus meals on a specific objective or theme so that you come away feeling like you’ve never had an experience as extraordinary as the one she’s just served…until she does it again.
What does this story have to do with teaching yoga?
Well, Kat is adept at a certain kind of alchemy. Because of her decades of experience of studying and honing her craft, she knows how to create an experience based on assembling elements together with specific qualities in effective (and often surprising) sequences – creating culinary magic that supports and enhances the presentation, flavor, effect, and even the digestion of a meal.
Creating good yoga sequences is a similar kind of alchemical skill.
When you have a specific theme or purpose to a class, and you know how to start it off, how to build it, how to determine what goes with what and where things go, how to create a specific effect, and how to add some elements of surprise – then you can create an extraordinary experience for your students.
I deeply value and admire a well sequenced yoga class – I understand what masterful sequencing feels like in my body, breath, and mind – and how it compares to going to a yoga class without that focus. Over the years, I’ve put a lot of time, energy and study into learning how to sequence specifically for the nervous system, resilience, and positive mental health.
I made a video to demonstrate some principles – It’s called Sequencing for the Nervous System – Exhaustion, Fatigue, Depression. It’s less than 20 minutes long and I hope it will give you a window into an experience of sequencing for the nervous system. Please check it out!