How to Choose a Yoga Class Theme

By: Isabella Koepf, Yoga Therapist, Clinical Herbalist, Holistic Nutritionist, Ayurvedic Practitioner, 500-Hour Yoga Teacher, Health Coach

How to Choose a Yoga Class Theme

how to choose a yoga class theme

Creating a yoga class theme is an excellent way to keep your students engaged and add more depth to your teaching. Beginner yoga teachers often are overwhelmed by the basics of guiding the steps for each yoga pose.  But as you progress as a yoga teacher, cultivating rich and nourishing yoga class themes can take your yoga classes to the next level and give you the tools to become a transformational yoga teacher.

Yoga is so much more than just the poses, and by deepening into the philosophical and spiritual components of yoga through a yoga class theme, you can provide a truly well-rounded experience for your students that honors all eight limbs of yoga. In this article, will go over the basics of yoga class themes and help you determine how to choose a yoga class theme for your next class!

What is a Yoga Class Theme?

A yoga class theme is essentially a primary purpose or focus for your yoga class. Yoga classes in and of themselves are incredibly powerful and transformational, but by integrating a deeper theme into your yoga class, you can help your students explore the many realms of yoga both on and off the mat.

Yoga class themes often integrate the spiritual or philosophical elements of yoga, such as the eight limbs of yoga. But yoga class themes can also focus on a specific body part, health condition, or anatomical alignment. Using a yoga class theme helps you design structured yoga sequences that your students can explore in greater depth, giving them a unique experience in every class.

The Importance of Choosing a Yoga Class Theme

Yoga class themes are an essential component of every yoga class because they give structure and definition to what you are teaching. There is certainly nothing wrong with teaching a general yoga class without any theme, as the yoga practices themselves can be incredibly powerful (and there is something to be said about the beauty of simplicity!).

But yoga class themes allow you to provide a more well-rounded experience for your students that offers more than just poses, breathwork, or meditation. A yoga class theme gives an intention or focus for the practice, which your students can reflect on throughout the class. Additionally, suppose you run your yoga classes in a semester-based system or package offers. In that case, a yoga class theme allows you to build on different topics each week and dive deeper into specific components of yoga theory.

What Makes the Best Yoga Class Themes?

The best yoga class themes are ultimately what you, as the teacher, are most passionate and knowledgeable about. Before choosing a yoga class theme, first ask yourself: what do you want to teach? Rather than trying to fit in a theme that someone else tells you to use, it is best to use your inner guidance on what you feel most comfortable teaching and what yoga topics you feel personally excited about. Your students will pick up on your personal passion, and this energy will feed into their own practice as well.

There are many different options for yoga class themes. See below for some of the most popular yoga class themes:

1.     Philosophical Yoga Class Themes

1)    The 8 Limbs of Yoga

2)    Myths and Stories of the Yoga Poses

3)    Kriya Yoga

4)    Mantra or Sacred Sound

5)    The Vedas

6)    The Purusharthas

7)    The Upanishads

8)    Vedic Deities

9)    The Chakras

10) The Nadis

2.     Spiritual Yoga Class Themes

1)    The Purpose of Yoga Practice

2)    The Meaning of Enlightenment

3)    Understanding AUM

4)    Self-Study

5)    Oneness in Yoga

6)    Non-Violence

7)    Gratitude

8)    Devotion

9)    Acceptance

10) Surrender

3.     Physical Yoga Class Themes

1)    Yoga for Opening the Hips

2)    Yoga for Back Pain

3)    Yoga Heart Openers

4)    Working Toward a Specific Yoga Pose

5)    Palm Balancing Yoga Poses

6)    Grounding Yoga Practices

7)    Yoga for Core Strength

8)    Yoga for Upper Body Strength

9)    Yoga for the Digestive System

10) Focus on the Breath

4.     Mental and Emotional Yoga Class Themes

1)    Yoga for Stress Relief

2)    Working Through Depression with Yoga

3)    Releasing Anxiety with Yoga

4)    Yoga for Cultivating Peace

5)    Yoga for Forgiveness

6)    Yoga for Self-Love

7)    Yoga for Compassion and Loving Kindness

8)    Yoga for Concentration and Focus

9)    Yoga for Energy

10) Yoga to Strengthen the Mind

5.     Seasonal and Holiday Topics for Yoga Class Themes

1)    Yoga for the Ayurvedic Doshas

2)    Yoga for Specific Ayurvedic Seasonal Changes

3)    Yoga for the Astrological Signs

4)    New Year’s Yoga

5)    Yoga for the Summer or Winter Solstice

6)    Yoga for Astrological Changes (e.g., Yoga for Mercury Retrograde)

7)    Yoga for the Full Moon

8)    New Moon Yoga Practice

9)    Yoga for the Menstrual Cycle

10) Thanksgiving Gratitude Yoga Practice

How to Choose a Yoga Class Theme

As you can see, there are a limitless number of ways to formulate a yoga class theme. The only limit is your personal creativity and innovation! The more that you dive into the many different components of yoga, the more that you will see how vast this beautiful practice is and how much there is to learn and offer your students. Yoga class themes can come from any source, and the deeper you dive into a specific topic, the more you will unravel its depths.

Choosing a yoga class theme starts with first asking yourself what you are genuinely interested in teaching and then also asking if you have the knowledge or expertise to teach that topic. But remember that you don’t need to be an expert to offer your students value. Even a general overview of a topic can give your students an introduction without needing to go too in-depth.

You might also consider asking your students directly what they would like to learn. Using your students as a guide for creating classes is an essential component every time you craft a sequence. Sometimes you may have an interest in a specific yoga class theme, but this might not resonate with your audience and isn’t the best fit for certain contexts. For example, a yoga class theme you choose in a gym would likely be very different from the theme you choose for a spiritual retreat center. However, it is also vital to stay true to yourself, and you will attract the students that resonate with your style over time!

How to Integrate a Yoga Class Theme into a Yoga Class

Learning how to weave a yoga class theme into your teaching is an art in and of itself! Choosing your yoga class theme is the first step, but once you have chosen the theme, how do you actually begin to teach it? This is a common question that we will go over the basics of here!

1.     Think of the Yoga Class Bookends

The best way to integrate a yoga class theme into your yoga teaching is by remembering the yoga class bookends or the pivotal moments at the beginning and end of your class. Try starting out your yoga class with a brief explanation of the yoga class theme – you can do this during your class introduction or during the beginning of a grounding meditation. Then return to your theme again during the closing savasana or ending meditation to bookend the practice. This is a simple but effective way to integrate a yoga class theme for beginners!

2.     Be Intentional

When designing your yoga class sequences, try to keep your theme in mind and think about how every pose or practice you choose supports that theme. By subtly but intentionally weaving your yoga class theme into your yoga sequences, you can create a nourishing and supportive yoga class that guides your students deeper into an experience on the mat.

3.     Don’t Overdo It

Yoga class themes can be an excellent guide for a class, but be cautious about not overdoing it! It is not necessary to bring up your theme in every single pose. In fact, this may be annoying to some students or feel overly repetitive. Remember to give space for silence and let your students contemplate the theme in their own way rather than incessantly feeding them with information that can feel overwhelming at times. Remember, less is more!

Learn How to Create a Yoga Class Theme in Our Online Yoga Teacher Training Courses!

Yoga class themes provide depth and structure to your yoga classes. Rather than a random assortment of yoga poses, breathing techniques, and guided meditations, yoga class themes give your classes structure and a beautiful thread for your students to dive even deeper within. Whether you choose to focus your classes on philosophical themes or anatomical and therapeutic themes, a yoga class theme will surely take your yoga teaching to the next level!

If you are interested in learning more about how to develop a yoga class theme and integrate it into your next yoga class, then make sure to check out our online yoga teacher training courses. We give you all the tools and training that you need to create one-of-a-kind yoga class themes that your students will absolutely love! So, reach out to us for more information and begin developing transformational yoga class themes today.

18 yoga class themes