Providing a theme for a yoga class enhances your students' experience. Instead of just going through the motions, a theme allows for a greater connection of mind and body. Theming also provides a вЂњwhyвЂќ behind yoga practice. When a student understands the intention behind the physical practice and breathing, she is more likely to make it a regular part of her life.
Yoga classes can be themed around opening up a specific body part. Heart-opening practices, often done around Valentine's Day, focus on bending backwards. Poses might include Crescent Lunge, Bow, Camel, Cobra and Bridge pose. Hip-focused practices are often offered to athletes, such as runners and cyclists. These practices might include twists along with Pigeon, Low Lunge, Frog and Cow-Face. You can also develop a theme around opening up the hamstrings, which would involve a variety of standing and seated forward folds.
Value or Principle
Theme a class around a particular value, such as truth, or a principle, such as patience. With such a theme, your language becomes important in conveying the theme in an open, nonjudgmental way. Open a value- or principle-based class with a relevant quote or adage. Avoid overwhelming students with the theme at the onset of class; instead, interweave it in and among the asanas. For example, a class themed on patience might begin with a quote and then lead into poses that require balance, such as Tree, Warrior 3 and Crane pose. You might ask your students to hold poses for longer than usual - to patiently let their body open up rather than blast through their practice quickly.
You can also theme a class around a pinnacle pose, such as Handstand or Forearm Stand. The beginning parts of class might work on preparatory poses for stretching and strengthening the muscles needed to successfully execute the pinnacle pose. For example, a class focused on building toward Handstand would use wrist stretches and core work in the beginning of class. After culminating in the pinnacle pose, offer counter poses to even out the body and calm the mind.
A class themed around an event in nature, such as the seasons or a full moon, can be powerful and inspiring to you, as a teacher, and to students. A springtime yoga themed class might feature lots of extending and opening postures, such as Standing Mountain, Triangle and Upward Plank pose to represent growth and rebirth. A full moon-themed class could feature moon salutations and candlelight.