Anybody that has ever got involved with a yoga class will know how amazing a very good yoga class is. The type of yoga class that transforms your mind, your body and your soul.
But what exactly is it that makes a yoga class so life changing? Well, it might surprise you that it’s not necessarily the music, the poses or even how difficult the class is. It’s more about the themes and the intentions of the class!
Understanding that setting the right intention in a class is so important will be critical to your success as a yoga teacher, but it also helps you as a student too. It will help you gain awareness, clarity and a feeling of peace.
However, despite how important it is, it can be a little tricky. To master this and knowing the right themes and intentions, you’re going to need to find out a lot more about them.
Luckily, we’ve written this comprehensive guide that includes 65 yoga themes to transform your teaching. So, if you’re ready to find out a lot more, then read on for the answers!
What Are The 65 Yoga Themes?
In order for us to really dive into these important yoga themes and intentions, we’re going to need to split them into their own designated groups. Indeed, this way should be able to give you a lot more focus to give your students the right message you are hoping for.
So, we’ve considered the elements based on yogic philosophy, relevant and interesting ideas that are fun, but also intentions that are clearly actionable. As a result, we’ve devised the following groups:
- Self exploration
- Joy and celebration
- Self care
- Mental clarity
- Heart opening
Without any further delay here, let’s jump into this list! Here’s what you need to know!
Self exploration is a very important theme and something that is integral to yoga overall. Many people look to yoga as a way to figure out who they are and how they operate. So, you might look at themes and actions like:
- Explore yourself
- Understand and note your thoughts
- Further your mind
- Self reflection
- Be curious about everything
- Find meaning in what you are doing
- Be a “beginner”
When you’re running this class, guide the students to explore their movements with plenty of curiosity. By telling them to be a “beginner”, despite their experience with yoga, they should be more encouraged to awaken their mind and soul as if it were the first time.
It’s important for your students to recognize the inner monologue they have, and focus on the exploration of these thoughts rather than simply judging them at base value.
Ask them questions like “how does today feel different?” – ask them to question their own concentration, like where their mind goes when they are not paying attention to their actions.
It’s always a good idea to provide your students with quotes too which link well to the specific theme. When it comes to self exploration, you may choose quotes by Robert Bly or Wendell Berry.
Whatever the case, this is all about letting the students understand themselves through their own self exploration.
Joy And Celebration
Joy and celebration, as you may imagine, is all about the students understanding the good things in life and being able to feel the pleasure and passion that their positive energy can help them with through yoga.
To reach this stage, there’s a number of actions that they should consider. Some of the most important involve things like:
- Celebration of the little things
- Enjoy the journey as well as the result
- Always opt for happiness rather than sadness
- Live your truth free of doubts
- Follow the path of happiness
- Try to feel free of darkness
- Pursue the passions in your life
When you’re running this class, the real goal here is to allow the students to try to figure out where and why they are happy. If a student is not sure where their passions come from, the yoga session can help them to explore that a little further.
Being free of doubts in your life is always a significant part of the process. Alleviating yourself of this negative energy can help you to finally focus specifically on what makes you happy and how you might attain this happiness.
Seeking the path of happiness and focusing on the journey rather than the selfish acts is important. When your students understand that the journey is as important as the result and they should enjoy both equally, they are better placed to feel peaceful in times of darkness.
When times get tough, one of the best ways to “come back” is to practice grounding. Grounding is one of the best themes to focus on with your class because it’s something that can benefit anybody, especially when times get tough.
Grounding can help you return to a path of happiness and bliss, so the ways you might guide your class to this is by:
- Be the root to rise
- Always ground down
- Reconnect with yourself
- Be in the here and now
- Embrace the present
- Return to the basics
- Find your balance again
- Realign yourself
- Recenter yourself
- Practice balance of your effort and the ease
Grounding is one of the most important themes to consider. Everybody will lose their way from time to time, so understanding the best ways to come back to the present and reestablish yourself is something that can help you rebuild as a stronger person.
One reason why so many people struggle with their focus is because they are trying to do too much, too quickly. With grounding, you can find the focus through the basics and feel much calmer as you can cope with what is “on your plate” right now.
Self care is another very important theme. While grounding allows you to come back to where you were, self care can help you to repair the damage that occurred before you had to ground yourself.
We all need to realize the criticality of self care, so guiding your students through this theme is something that you must do. You can do this through a number of different actions, including:
- Understand what self care means
- Listen and take note of what your body is telling you
- Always trust in yourself
- Be your own guide
- Focus on the feelings
- Consider serving yourself
- Devise boundaries
When we’re talking about self care, we’re not just talking about psychological or emotional self care, although that is very important. We’re also talking about the physical form and knowing that you should take care of yourself.
This applies to things like injuries, but also to overall health. When someone listens to what their body is telling them, they may be able to create their own actions to improve their health through further self care.
Empowering, or empowerment, is one theme that can give a student the drive and determination that they may not have had before, which can seriously send them from one level to the next.
Empowering yourself is not an easy task though. People who struggle with their own confidence will need to try to really practice this and understand why this is so important to their overall mental and physical health.
When you’re going to explore this theme with your students, look at some of the following actions for starting blocks:
- Embrace the things that make you uncomfortable
- Focus on courage
- Find the power in yourself
- Smash the boundaries in your life
- Make your own changes
- Embrace these changes you have chosen
- Try to energize yourself
- Build self discipline
- Always remain positive and demand the “yes”
- Be a cheerleader for yourself
- Strengthen your own mind
- Believe in yourself and how you can change
As you can see, this specific theme is very packed with things to do and things to consider. This is because of how important the theme is and how difficult it can be to get there.
One of the important aspects in this is to have the belief and the courage from within to find ways to build your own power. You can do this through building your own positivity, but this will only come from positive changes that you make in your life.
Mental clarity, which is often worked on with the third eye chakra, is something that every yoga student needs to realize the importance of. Without having a clear and focussed mind, you will find it incredibly difficult to figure out the rest.
What we mean here is, even with all of the other themes – the only way to get there is to have a clear mind. This theme will fit nicely into grounding, but having the drive to clear the fog from your mind is as important as getting back to the basics.
To explore this theme, a number of actions that you could opt for include:
- Clear your lens
- Remove the layers
- Turn your focus inwards
- Search for your focus inside
- Silence your mind
- Rest in your silent mind
- Consider meditation in the silence
A clear mind is a happy mind, and having this positive energy flowing through you will be incredibly beneficial to your class. Of course though, to get to such a clear mind – it’s easier said than done.
This is why, when your class has reached this focus and has finally freed their mind of the screaming voices, which are often doubtful, they should consider sitting in a state of meditation.
This can help them to finally see where they should be going and how they might get there – achieving this mental clarity that we were looking for!
Heart opening is a very important part of the process when it comes to yoga as a whole. Understanding that you need to let go of the judgments that fill your life and try to let in the positive vibes that your body, mind and emotional energy needs is important.
One of the biggest factors about this is allowing yourself to forgive your flaws and mistakes, rather than let them get you down and cause yourself mental anguish. So, to get the students to focus on areas like this, you may consider some of the following actions:
- Practice the art of self love
- Let go of the judgment in your life
- Choose gratitude and understand it
- Open up your heart and let in happiness
- Allow love to be the focus
- Forgive yourself and your flaws
- Appreciate what you have done well in life
- Embrace the difference in your life and your imperfections
- Let go of your fears and insecurities
- Choose compassion in your life
Perhaps the most significant points to focus on here is how to, not only recognize your own flaws, mistakes and differences, but to forgive yourself for them and then embrace them as a strength.
Love should always be the primary goal to look for. As the end game, you are hoping to open up your heart for love, passion and peace – but the way to get there is to release the things that could hold you down here, like fear or insecurity.
Finally, we have surrender as a theme. Surrendering is arguably one of the most difficult themes to explore. While it might seem straightforward in name, the way to achieve its goals is much more complex.
The idea is to try to accept the reality of things and remove any desires of things that you cannot change, and remove the material wants that fill someone’s mind from time to time. You should try these focuses often, but they will definitely occur eventually.
To truly embrace surrender as a theme, you could look towards the actions like:
- Stop and surrender everything
- Let go of the negative in order to flourish
- Accept the here and now
- Embrace your non-attachments
- Find stillness in life
- Remain calm and find peace
The reason that this can be so tricky is because of how difficult many students will find it to release their feelings of negativity and surrender to acceptance. We, by our nature, are intrinsically trying to strive for better things, which creeps into our thinking.
However, to truly move forward and find happiness with positive energies, we must understand that we can find stillness in our lives and we can be steady. This should give us a sense of belonging, calmness and peace.
But we can only really achieve this by truly accepting the situations that we find ourselves in, within the here and now.
Tips To Theme Your Yoga Classes
Of course, it’s all well and good knowing which of these themes exists but it’s more critical to know how you might theme your yoga classes, rather than simply knowing what themes are there.
So, we’ve created some excellent tips for you below. We’re going to give you some handy pointers for you when you’re planning your next class. Hopefully these will help you enormously!
Simplicity Is Key
When it comes to any form of education, simplicity is always key to success – and this is certainly true when we’re speaking about yoga classes. When you’re theming your class, you need to be able to condense it down to one single idea to return to overall focus.
The way you do this is by thinking of one single word and always return to this word. This way, if your student’s find themselves escaping from the class’s focus, you can easily bring them back.
Remember, if your theme is much too broad, vague or tries to do too much, it becomes an extremely difficult class to relate to. One specific theme can make things much easier for you and your students to relate to, making the intention deeper.
Reflection Is Important
We would always suggest that you take the time out to reflect on your own ideas. The theme that you choose has to be something that you can personally relate to, so that the class really comes from the heart – and this will be obvious to your students.
Therefore, choose something that you personally find relevance in. To do this, you will need to reflect on your own life and consider which themes would help you and why this might be important. You will find your students will come along with you if it has relevance.
Sequencing Is Successful
Some of the best themes come from intentional sequencing. However, it’s important to note here that sequencing is not the same as theming. In other words, if you’re choosing backbending, you know this isn’t a theme.
But, you can combine this with a theme like gratitude for example. The point is to try to create a cohesive experience which works for you and your students. There should be a point for everything you are choosing to do.
Mindfulness For Focus
The theme that you choose should be easily peppered throughout the class in a mindful way, so that you avoid the urge of (and the accidental) overdoing it. So, once you have set out the intentions for your class, touch upon your chosen theme, and do so again when you close.
Remember, themes will hit their hardest at times of surrender and challenge – so when your students are in their peak postures, drills and moments of pure and deep release, this is when you reinforce these themes over and over again.
How You May Theme Your Classes
Based on the sections that we have provided above, you might be wondering how you could actually theme them. We’ve got some extra tips and tricks below, covering all you might need to know!
Self exploration should follow the mantra that “I am my own teacher”. You’re looking to give your students the power to know what they are looking for and how they might get there. Remember, you’re hoping for them to expand their minds further.
Joy And Celebration
Joy and celebration should follow the mantra of following your own bliss. The overarching idea of this theme is to find the joy in your own being and understanding the little things can make a big impact on your overall happiness.
Ask your students how they might be able to invite happiness into their lives and what they are grateful for right now.
Grounding should have the mantra of “I am where I am supposed to be”, and this is critical to the whole class. You want your students to realize where they are and how they are going to get back to their best self.
Sometimes this can be tricky, but your students will find the happiness they used to have if they are truly searching for grounding.
Self care’s mantra should be “I meet myself where I am” and this is poignant to the class. You want the class to focus more on their own mind and voices rather than your own, while you are acting as a guidance.
Allow the students a little time to gather their thoughts and get their bearings of their own lives. This should help them to devise their own plans to return to their own happiness and look after themselves.
Empowerment follows the mantra of “I choose the direction of my growth”. The idea is to truly allow yourself to find the power within yourself. The students can control their own inner monologue and work to focus on how they might power themselves to change.
Mental clarity focuses on the mantra of “I clean the lens”. The students have to work on their own powers to clear their own minds of dark and intrusive thoughts which might lead them to confusion, or a lack of clarity.
By getting back to a more focused mind, they should be able to finally understand how they can develop more personally and empower themselves for new beginnings.
Heart opening has a basic, but clear mantra of “when I choose love, I am love”. This is an especially poignant mantra because it is right at the center of what the class will be about – trying to allow love into you and releasing the darkness that consumes you.
Love is perhaps the most powerful force on the planet and beyond, so the students can work to absorb the love that is all around them and let their love shine from them. When love builds, it gets stronger than ever before.
Finally, when it comes to surrender, the mantra to follow is “I let go of what is”. While this might sound more cryptic and less straightforward when compared with other mantras, it is still quite simple.
The idea is to let go of what exists, in terms of negativity and sadness – and simply accept the situations that you cannot change. As we mentioned earlier, we almost exclusively focus on the things that we would like to change and have an obsession with what is wrong.
However, when it comes to surrender, the point is to accept the reality – but embrace it. Know what is wrong and let it go, but understand that this is what it is. This way, you can finally let go of the negativity and embrace the happiness that exists around you.
Frequently Asked Questions
We will now cover some of your most frequently asked questions. Hopefully we are able to answer any question that you still may have!
In short, no they are not. The yoga style you are performing will already have been explained prior to the class, but the theme will vary depending on the instructor (you), the season and the class specifically.
It’s important that you have done your research and made this clear before you start your class, just in case you need to make some reasonable adjustments for restrictions.
There’s nothing to demand that you theme your classes, but as we mentioned right at the start of this guide – theming your classes will give your students a memorable experience, and it makes the class much more purposeful.
Many students have noted in the past that a themed class that allowed them to focus on specific things in their lives has helped them to continue their yoga practice at home, and they were more inclined to return to the instructor specifically!
Technically no, you do not need anything else in the room for your themes to be obvious and relevant. However, if it is a specific time of year (such as Valentines Day for example), then you may decide it can be beneficial to scatter the room with small, decorative hearts.
We should make the point here though, that you should not need to spend a lot of time and money to set the class up. By doing so, you’re dedicating too much time to things that are not the focus of the class!
The Bottom Line
And that’s everything you need to know about themes and intentions to transform your teaching within your yoga classes! We hope we’ve given you all the information that you were looking for.
Remember the tips that we have provided and always try to ensure that you and your class are enjoying the whole experience together!