Yoga Class Theme

How To Teach The “Become A Bumblebee” Yoga Class Theme


I love coming up with creative yoga class themes.

An interesting theme keeps students interested and coming back for more.  It also keeps me interested.   It’s easy to get caught in the trap of teaching bog standard, off the peg yoga classes.  Zzzzzzzz.  Boring.  Inject a bit of pizzazz with a terrific  theme.

Here’s an example of a yoga class theme I came up with for one of my classes.

Become A Bumblebee

Aerodynamically a bumblebee shouldn’t be remotely capable of flying!  But here’s the thing, bumblebees don’t know that.  So, what do they go ahead and do. They fly.  They open their wings and somehow manage to lift the heavy, round bodies into the air and fly.   I thought to myself, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if my students became more like a bumblebee.’   They would take themselves more lightly so they could eventually lift off and fly.

How To Teach It? 

Below are five ways to apply the Bumblebee theme in your next yoga class…

Idea #1
Self esteem

You could create a 6 week yoga course (6 week yoga course template is available within the Yoga Teacher Lesson Plan Kit) focusing on building the incredible self-belief of a bumblebee by using a peak pose such as crane pose (also known as crow pose) and renaming it “Bumblebee Pose”.

Let your students know that you’re renamed the pose in honour of the bumblebee’s amazing self-belief and determination.   Let them know the bumblebee had thousands of aborted take-offs before it learned to lift it’s round, heavy body off the ground.   So, even if it takes a student 10 years to be able to lift off into crow pose (Bumblebee Pose), that’s just fine.  When practicing yoga there are no mistakes.   It doesn’t matter if the student never lifts off into Bumblebee Pose.   Yoga is not a competition with a finish line.  Yoga is a practice.   A “yoga practice” has no ultimate end outcome to strive for.   When you step onto your mat there is only the mat and your practice.   Nothing else matters.  The time it takes to get into a pose is irrelevant, as long as you have the self-belief of a bumblebee.  Self esteem comes when the student “lives in the moment” and is able to accept whatever happens (on and off the mat).    Make sure you explain to your students that “acceptance” doesn’t then mean you sit on your bottom and take no action.

Here’s an example of acceptance in action…

You’re merrily sitting in your living room watching your favourite TV show (lets say, X Factor) and Pebbles, your very large Ginger Cat, brushes up against an aromatic candle you lit to set a romantic mood for your X Factor viewing pleasure…and whooof your expensive Persian carpet is instantly set ablaze.   Well, you wouldn’t just sit there and continue watching X Factor (unless you really, really like the show) and watch the house and yourself go up in flames.   Here’s my version of “acceptance”.    You see the fire.   You know there’s an emergency.  But you don’t let the mind run away in a panic.  You instantly way up the situation and choose what you believe is the best possible cause of action.   And you take it (e.g. you get a hose from your garden and dowse the flames out).   Your students need to be aware that acceptance doesn’t mean inaction.   Acceptance simply allows you to make calm choices from moment to moment without all the energy draining inner drama.

So, what’s my point with the X Factor story?    When you come to class armed with a “yoga class theme”, you get a chance to give your students something really special.  You get to expose them to a wee bit of yogic philosophy.   For example, if your theme is the Bumblebee Theme and you want to share your thoughts on the subject of “acceptance”, you could weave the 8 Limbs Of Yoga into it and say something like:  “In the 8 Limbs Of Yoga which is the core of yoga, written down in about the 4th century by Patanjali, the 5th limb, Pratyahara, gives us directions for being able to control our senses.  Pretty cool heh.”

And, I’ll talk them through a few ways to “control their senses” such as:

Focus On The Breath:  “Bring your focus inwards towards your breath, and feel the mind becoming still.”

Concentration:  “Concentrate on the point between the eyebrows.  This location is known as Ajna Chakra or the third eye.”

Concentrate On One Sense:  “Lets concentrate on only one sense, your hearing.  The mind has a natural tendency to roam between all your senses.   When your mind gets tired of hearing, it is forced to turn inward.”

Idea #2
Partner Yoga

You add some partner yoga exercises (The 15 Minute Yoga Lesson Planner within the Yoga Teacher Lesson Plan Kit has a bunch of partner yoga exercises). Why?  Well, bumblebees belong to a wonderful, harmonious community.

Idea #3
Bumblebee Mantra

You could also come up with a bumblebee mantra that goes something like this:  “With my heavy body, I shouldn’t be able to fly, but with light in my heart, I find a way.”   Even if you’re not a poet, grab a pen and paper and see what you can come up with.

Here’s another mini mantra: “I have the self belief of a buzzing bumblebee.

Idea #4
Secret To Flying

You could let your students know that the secret to flying is held within the breath.  So, you could give them a pranyama exercise.  The 15 Minute Yoga Lesson Planner within the Yoga Teacher Lesson Plan Kit has a bunch of yoga breathing and pranyama exercises.

Idea #5
Questions & Answers  

You could give some interesting bumblebee Q&A for a bit of fun…

Question: How fast can a bumblebee fly?
Answer:  Surprisingly fast.  Some foraging bumblebees have been recorded flying at 16 km per hour.

Question: How do bumblebees gather pollen?
Answer:  On their legs they have hairs and brushes to gather the pollen off the body hairs and pack it into the pollen baskets

Question:  Where does the buzzing come from?
Answer:  Its the vibration of the muscles in the thorax causing the thorax to vibrate.

And…

Well, I’ll leave some room for you to brainstorm ways of adding to the “Bumblebee Yoga Class Theme”.

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George Watts

BWY Yoga Teacher at George Watts Yoga
This post was lovingly morphed into reality by BWY yoga teacher, George Watts. If you're looking for a treasure trove of yoga lesson planning goodness, take a quick peek at Yoga Teacher Lesson Plan Kit.

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