20 Yoga Class Themes to Inspire

What is a class theme and do I have to have one?

A theme can help your students escape their minds and get into their bodies during class. You can use it to take them on a journey.

girl walking on beach shore with shoes in hand as the sun sets
take your students on a journey

You’ve done your YTT (yoga teacher training) and have been told you need to come up with a theme for your first class. Or you’ve been teaching for a while and just low on inspiration and looking for a list. You’ve come to the right place. I’ve put together a list of 20 places to find inspiration for your perfect theme for you.


What is a theme?

A theme is a thread that pulls your class together. It may be a quote you come back to that pulls your poses together throughout the lesson. It may be a lesson you’ve learned during the week that you want to share. Or, it may be as simple as a peak pose.


So where can you get ideas from and what might they look like?


Patanjali’s Sutras

  • Yamas

  • Niyamas

Emotions

  • Love

  • Forgiveness

  • Gratitude

Concepts

  • Freedom

  • Peace

Nature

  • Seasons

  • Moon cycles

  • Animals, eg. butterflies emerging, bears hibernating

  • Flowers/Trees (growth)

  • Sky, ocean, mountains, forests

Poses

  • Hip opening

  • Heart opening

  • Shoulder opening

  • Balances

  • Inversions

  • Standing

  • Seated

  • Mudras

Places to find inspiration

  • Movies

  • Food

  • Scriptures

  • Books

  • Poetry

  • Friends

  • Vacations (holidays)

  • Life 😉

You’ve got your theme now what?

After you pick your theme you need to weave it throughout. If you just start your class with a story that doesn’t relate to the class that follows then it’s just a story not a theme. Here’s where poses with an area of focus are great themes to use when you’re just starting out.

Say you’re working to garudasana eagle wrap as your peak pose. Your class might involve a lot of work with opening and closing the hips and shoulders, crossed legs, transferring weight from one side of the body to the other. The pose sequences become your theme. Or, you could talk about flight, how a student might like to view their problems taking the perspective of an eagle, would they seem as significant? Could their gaze or drishti mimic that of an eagle focused on their goal help them to find their balance within the pose?


Do you really have to have one?


You can have a great class without a theme, just work in a way that is logical to your students so they don't leave class feeling confused. A well-considered class will naturally cover a progression through the asanas. A theme doesn’t need to be, obvious, or philosophical. You might find the extra layer distracting and instead chose to focus on the breath. The ultimate theme without a theme.


More important is that you build your class in a way that takes your students on a journey.


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