Distill Concepts Down to Their Essence


Just as with asanapranayama, and other practices, really understanding the theme is key. In addition to personal experience, teachers work to understand the topic from a broad and deep perspective. But then when it comes to the actual in-class teaching, the teacher must be able to distill information down to its essence.

  • While always a key challenge, this can feel particularly tricky with philosophy.
  • If it is narrowed down so much that it’s simply a statement such as found in the Yoga Sutras, the teaching is likely to lack the depth, relatability and energy that can make it come alive.
  • And yet it isn’t possible to recite lengthy teachings during an asana class.

What to do? As with teaching asana, preparing and practicing how you deliver your theme will help improve your skill and effectiveness. Here are some considerations:

Teach Related Topics Over Time

By focusing on one topic or related topics over a period of time, it can be easier to focus and limit your teachings in each class to manageable chunks.

  • For example, you can choose a philosophical focus for the month, highlighting various aspects of it each class throughout the month.
  • Or, you can create a six-week series, for example. Learn more about planning series here.

Use a Teaching Nugget

Another consideration is to introduce a concept during an opening centering or other time in class and then to select a “teaching nugget.”

  • By that, we are referring to a quote, phrase or visual that captures the essence of the teaching.
  • This nugget can then be sprinkled throughout class to bring forth the energy of the concept or to work with and expand on it throughout class.

From the sample practice under Invite a Personal Connection above, the nugget can simply become a soft: