It’s cold and snowy outside so right now I’m inside and being a little lazy which is kind of nice. I did my yoga already for the day and ran my errands. Now another storm is rolling in. In my lazy spare time, I’d been thinking about yoga class themes and when you might want to design a class or practice around a theme. I typically teach a mixed level vinyasa style class. Sometimes, I teach organically and sometimes I have an outline with goals. When I design a lesson plan, I typically have a theme. Here is my list of themes and when I choose/tend to present them.
Thinking about food, I tend to present these single classes around food based holidays or events. If my class falls on or near the following: New Years, the Super Bowl, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and 4th of July then a detox theme is overly welcome. These holidays are surrounded and celebrated with food. Often, people over indulge on bad yet tasty treats and they feel miserable. Detox classes help stimulate the digestive system and people welcome them after they have over indulged. Additionally, detox programs (month long) are great during season changes, maybe as a series of classes or a workshop.
YOGA BASICS/YOGA 101:
January is the perfect time to revisit and focus on the basics. We all know that the gym is filled with people striving to get in shape or lose weight because of New Year’s Resolutions. Chances are you’ll have a few newbies in your yoga class.
I like to offer this class in January also. There are endless possibilities with the wall. Plus, people often forget that the wall is a wonderful prop that is available in every studio.
Valentine’s Day is a perfect day to work with opening one’s heart chakra. Link in breathing exercises (air), chest expansion asanas, massage, and essential oils. Wear green. I usually do this theme for the month of February and definitely if I’m teaching on Valentine’s Day.
HIP OPENERS AND FEET TLC:
Once the weather turns around and acts more like spring, I like to dedicate a class on hip openers and our feet. If people are cooped up all winter long, a nice day will often draw people outside in droves. With that being said, activities like walking, running, hiking, bike riding, and various sports will be pursued outside. A class like this helps stretch out the tightness in the hip flexors, IT band, and feet and thus allowing all to enjoy these sorts of activities pain free.
This is a great theme for Halloween. I let the clients dictate the class by telling me what poses they are struggling or need extra help with and we take time to explore them.
I usually host a special inversion class during Day Light Savings time, since days are shorter and people sometimes fall susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). S.A.D. Affects our mood with where we might fall victim towards being easily depressed or sad. That funk! To counteract the funk, I’ll have us explore various inversions, but within a lesson plan. I even bring in my headstand prop so the inversion is available to all, plus it allows a longer stay. Also, if you like essential oils, you might try introducing lemon, mandarin, lemon myrtle, or spruce which stimulate an elevated mood.
In the summer, I pick popular warm weather activities such as running, swimming, biking, and hiking and design a sequence of poses with the hi-lighted athlete in mind. I usually start the class by telling my clients that the class is dedicated to “runners” or whatever I’m designing the class around. You can check out some of my previous blogs as I’ve written about hiking and running.
September is national yoga month. I typically do a pose for the week, break it down, show options, give out handouts, and as you may have guessed the chosen pose is the star of the class. This is popular with my clients. After doing this, I’ve notice self correcting and body awareness amongst my clients as we pursue various poses. This is a good thing!
After Thanksgiving, I often do a de-stress vinyasa type of class complete with some breathing techniques, calming essential oils, and some restorative poses. Since, I teach yoga on three different Air Force Bases, I even offer this type of class after a major military inspection or base exercise.
When we are blessed with single digits or even negative temperatures, I often offer a heat building sequence especially for places where I teach that don’t heat the room. Check out my “Winter Class Theme: Heat that Body” Blog for ideas.
So there you have it, certain events or times of the year inspire me to design themes for class. This is what I could think of at the top of my head that I realize I tend to pursue. My question for my fellow instructors out there is, do you have yearly events that beg for themes? Please share. Or if you aren’t a teacher, just a practitioner, what themes would you be interested in seeing?