Have a Plan

A classic neophyte mistake when introducing a philosophical point in class is to bring it up early in class and then never mention it again until the closing.

To be more effective, think through how to incorporate the teaching in a progressive way, concluding with a way for students to take the teaching into off-the-mat practice. We are calling this a Theme Plan.

Our new Theme Plans take class theme support to a new level! We offer a detailed guide for incorporating a particular theme into class, including:

  • Theme Teaching Points
  • Readings
  • Inviting Students’ Personal Connection
  • Practices for Applying the Theme Teaching in Class
  • Teaching Tips & Reminders
  • Off-the-Mat Practices

We include plenty of ideas and readings to make the presentation unique, but provide the structure and specifics to make it easier to effectively teach themes that resonate for you.

The process we use, and that you can use for developing your own theme plans, is to have a beginning, middle and end. Here are some examples of how to plan your theme presentation.

1. Beginning

  • Introduce the theme.
  • Describe a common human problem and/or read from the Sutras or another yogic text.

2. Middle

  • Provide a short but vivid teaching: you might read a poem or quote from a text or tell a story, for instance.
  • Identify practices that can help students to embody and work with the theme.
  • Use a “nugget” to evoke the teaching and encourage reflection during practice.
  • If you wish to have supportive music, play songs that convey the feeling at particular points in class.

3. End

  • Do not use Savasana as a teaching moment. Allow students to simply experience Savasana.
  • After Savasana, offer an invitation for taking the teaching off the mat.
  • In a closing, invite awareness of the current body-mind state and suggest that students use a cue (such as the breath or a phone call) to serve as a reminder to engage in mindfulness or other off-the-mat practice.