When you are a new yoga teacher, you have plenty to think about between sequencing, cueing and managing yourself at the front of the room. But part of your evolution as a vinyasa flow teacher is to add a little personality and elegance to your classes.
To add a theme to a yoga class is good for you and your students. As a teacher it forces you to ask yourself WHY you picked this or that asana, this or that sequence. For your students, a themed class will make them feel like you are truly present and that they are really learning something. They might understand the direction of your class better, discover more layers within yoga and feel more connected to you.
5 ideas for an asana theme in yoga
For most this is the simplest way to begin theming a vinyasa class. Ask yourself what type of physical focus you'd like to teach. Use your knowledge and imagination and spin off from that asana family theme. Stay with a certain type of expressions and focus words to emphasise the asana theme.
Twists - wringing out, detoxing, creating space, spinal movement focus
Backbends - front body opening, heart opening, emotional release, expansion, love
Core/full body strength - power, stability, static, willpower, exhales
Balancing poses - presence, concentration, drishti, equal breath
Hip opening - pelvic area, low back, all movements of the hip joint, emotional release, deep breaths
5 ideas for a seasonal theme in yoga
A great way to begin theming yoga classes is to take a look at the calendar and the seasons. Pick something that is relevant to where you are teaching the class – that means it will be relevant to everyone in class. Weather, lunar cycle, holidays are all useful starting points.
Summer solstice – light, turning point, new beginnings, energy
Spring equinox - equal parts, balance, dark/light
Harvest moon - abundance, harvest, gratefulness
A rainy day - water element, flow, movement, nutrition
New Year - letting go, starting new, inviting change, creating habits
5 ideas for an explorative theme in yoga
By selecting a theme – as in, something to speak a little extra about throughout your class – you can give your students an experience they'll remember. Invite reflection by simply drawing attention to a small aspect of yoga.
First class - ask students to think back to their first class, celebrate, appreciate
Childlike - ask students to be explorative, curious, question habits, be playful
Root to rise - focus on the rooting down in every pose, not the drama up top
Back to basics - alignment, precision, technique
Enjoy the journey - less asana focus and more transition
5 ideas for a philosophical theme in yoga
When you begin to portion out the profound wisdom of yoga philosophy, it's good to do so in small bites. Make the theme universal to your students by sharing something personal or relating it directly to what happens on the mat.
Effort and ease - remind students to find the balance
Vinyasa krama - one step at the time, conscious movements, infinite path
Gaze inward - less visionary intake, sensations, observation, inner confidence
Appreciate yourself - Om Namah Shivaya (bow to inner self), self love, inward
Moving meditation - breath rhythm, connection, expansion, trust, repetition
Articles about the world of teaching and living Vinyasa Flow Yoga by Elin Jensen and Lisa Andersson Rhodiner