Before teaching a class I like to know what main alignment principle or secondary alignment principle is that I am going to be focusing on, a heart quality to theme off of and an apex pose to work toward. I come up with these in different orders. Sometimes I know the heart quality I want to use, then I think about a universal principle of alignment that links well to the heart quality and then think of a peak pose that would let the students really work and connect with the upa and the heart feeling during. Or I will know what apex pose I want to use, then I look at the structure of the pose and see what upa works well with it, and then connect a heart quality with it. Or I know what upa I want to focus on, and link it with a heart quality and a apex pose. After I have those three main elements of the class I will also write down some other poses that will sequentially lead toward the apex pose while helping the students figure out the actions of the principle of emphasis as well as feel the heart quality in the poses. I will also write down some poses to help ground and relax them before shavasana or seated meditation (things like twisting, rooting the thigh bones, pranayama).
With all the planning I do I go into the class knowing that what I planned might not be appropriate and I might have to ditch aspects of the plan or the whole plan. Ultimately I want to serve the students as much as I can so if what I had planned doesn't ultimately serve all the students I will figure something else out. I also want to mention how much I managed to stress myself out in my early days of teaching with trying to come up with the perfect class plan, and every once and a while now i will experience anxiety as I come up with a plan. When I see this happening I try to remind myself that the reason I am planning is to be prepared it is NOT to create more stress in my head so I try hard to soften and stay grounded. I am a much better teacher when I am not worrying about my class plan.
Here are some examples below.
UPA: open to great, emphasis melt heart Theme: surrender Apex Pose: Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Balance)
UPA: muscle energy, Theme: commitment, steadfast Apex Pose: Lunge
UPA: expanding (inner) spiral, Theme: Faith Apex Pose: Hanumanasana (splits)
UPA: contracting (outer) spiral Theme: Apex Pose: Vriksasana (tree)
UPA: organic energy Theme: celebration Apex Pose:Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana (one legged inverted staff pose)
Happy class planning or class practicing to you.