To theme, or not to theme, that is the question. As a yoga teacher, you may have played with the idea of theming your classes. “Theming” simply means creating a class around a specific idea or intention. This can be anything from focusing on a specific muscle to building your class around yoga philosophy. So what’s the advantage of creating a theme?
Themes can add depth and set a clear intention
One of the things I love about creating a theme is that it sets a really clear intention for what I’d like to offer. That way I can use asana (poses), pranayama (breath), mantra or any other elements to complement that specific theme. It sends a really clear message to your students and can have a powerful effect on their experience. Plus, it can actually makes class planning much easier!
When coming up with a theme, you can meditate, brainstorm, or journal about what class elements connect to those ideas. Are you creating a class around hamstrings? There might be something anatomical or philosophical to share that would help students connect with your theme and why you chose it.
However, a word of caution…
Sometimes when I practice, I don’t want to focus on a specific body part or have a specific intention… often I just want to listen to my body and give it what it wants. I find that sometimes when theming classes, I might be tempted to over-do it in one area and avoid other experiences that could be valuable for students.
Keep in mind when you are theming that you allow for some flexibility in the class you’re delivering. One big lesson to learn as a teacher is to honor your students, even if that means your “plan” goes out the window. Don’t feel the need to be rigid, your class can still have some unique elements that may not reflect the traditional theme. However, when you share your ideas authentically it will be welcomed with open arms. Maybe you can even connect those intentions in an unconventional way.
Tips on creating a theme
- Pick a theme that resonates with you. Students can tell when it’s something you’re inspired by!
- Find balance! There’s no reason why you can’t put in a few twists if you’re doing a hamstring sequence. Be clear of what you’re creating but remain flexible.
- You don’t have to announce the theme off the bat. If you bring up a certain concept a few times then they’ll understand the message without it being overly obvious.
- Experience it for yourself! Practice your own flow and see how it connects to your theme. That way, you’ll have a good idea of how it is received.
Whether you choose to theme or not, allow yourself to go with the flow and share what feels right to you. Your students will appreciate when you share what’s in your heart!