Planning my yoga classes is pretty simple for me since I am a Hatha Yoga teacher, I feel that I have a huge range of options for me, and I’ve found that my students enjoy the variety and exploring different parts of their bodies during the classes.
I plan one class on Saturdays and I teach it throughout the week. The huge plus is that I already have close to 30 classes planned, so if I don’t have time to plan for the week, I already have a lot of options.
Theme for the class
First select a theme for your class; I have a few to propose:
- Standing poses and balancing
- Kundalini Style (I slow down the breath, but the breath is the foundation of the class)
- Power flow (which I am also certified to teach)
- Yin Yoga (my own approach since I am not certified to teach it)
And feel free to make combinations, for example I have a hips and hammies class.
We know most of the yoga poses, however it’s very refreshing to find the huge alternatives other yoga teacher have posted online. Search for related poses based on your theme, and go through a few videos and images.
Choose the ones you like the most for your class and think of variations for all the different levels of skill of your students, think about beginners.
I have a total of 20 poses per class, more or less but then my classes are 1 hour long and I tend to move a bit fast as I include a few sets of sun salutes to join some of the poses. I am a sun salute lover! Not fast enough to be a power class, but with some rhythm… Adjust the number of poses according to your class time and your own pace…
Structure so that it flows
After you choose your poses, structure your class so that it flows, try to avoid standing and then lying and then standing and then seating.
Here’s how I structure my class:
- Warm-up. Think about what the theme is and base your warm-up for the class. For example if it is backbends, you might warm up with cat cow stretches, thread the needle, sphinx, locust… I love joint rotations and so do my students.
- Then start the core of your class, I do it in this order:
- Kneeling poses
- Standing poses
- Sitting poses
- Supine poses
- Finish with meditation, maybe in shavasana. I was taught to start the class with it, so feel free to do so, I like it at the end. The length of your class will play a big part on where you place meditation and pranayama and how long it goes for.
- I skipped pranayama altogether because I sometimes do it right at the beginning, sometimes at the end or sometimes right in the middle of the class whilst in a pose. However, feel free to structure it in.
Write it down
It’s a good idea to have your class written down so that you can replicate and remember if you want to teach the same class again.
Use pictures and notes. I use a template (at the bottom pf this page to download) where I insert a picture of the pose on the left, followed by a brief explanation (can be the breath, the left or right, variations, alternatives and/or whatever else I feel I need to know) on the right of the image.
Plan your meditation during shavasana
Very important… Plan your meditation ahead; you can use the breath, mindfulness, sounds, stillness, sensations, and so many things to base your speech from! Feel free to research some quotes or get great ideas from other meditators online.
Or the regular good old, good old, yoga Nidra.
Check my article about ‘Different meditations in shavasana’, for great tips on how to guide your students into stillness.