By Faye Martins
With all the subjects you cover in a yoga teacher training intensive course, you might not have learned about how to theme a class. Most yoga instructors hope that students find their classes to be both enjoyable and inspirational. One way to make your yoga classes more effective is to create themes. A theme highlights a specific philosophy or pattern that you have selected, making your class more focused and purposeful that it would be without a theme. Your students are also likely to retain the effects of the practice if you’ve conveyed a strong message through a class theme.
Choosing the right theme is important. It should be both meaningful to you and relevant for your students. Many aspects of yoga can serve as themes:
• A philosophical concept, such as the Gunas, detachment, or the Doshas
• Events in nature, such as a full moon or the Spring Equinox
• Holiday events, such as: Partner Yoga class on Valentine’s Day
• A key action in asanas
• Pairs of opposing qualities, such as willpower and playfulness
• Repetition and stay movement patterns
• Breath patterns
• An energetic quality, such as calming or energizing
Once you’ve selected your theme, choose elements that support it. Incorporate asanas, pranayama, and meditation techniques that help emphasize your ideas. For example, a class themed around the moon might include calming forward bends; a balancing nadi shodhana practice, and a soothing guided meditation. You can introduce your students to the theme the moment they walk through the door by choosing lighting, pre-class music, and props that set the right tone for your theme. To continue with the moon-themed class mentioned above, you could dim the lights, play soft music, and place a few lit candles around the room.
While teaching your themed yoga class, use words and phrases that support the message you wish to convey. You can also adapt the pace of the class, the volume of music, and the tone of your voice. Be aware of the words and imagery you use and make sure that they support your theme.
Finally, take care to continue your theme through to the end of the practice. Dropping a theme in the middle of the class renders it ineffective, and your students may receive mixed or confusing messages. Instead, introduce your theme at the beginning of the class, emphasize it throughout the practice, and include some kind of conclusion, such as a reading, at the end. While this may feel restrictive at first, you will become more comfortable with it as you continue to incorporate themes in your yoga training sessions.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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