yoga lesson planning tips

10 Top Reasons To Use A
Yoga Lesson Plan

Below is a question I received in my email box from a newbie yoga teacher.  She had purchased my Yoga Teacher Lesson Plan Kit a few days before and was asking my advice on how to fit everything within the yoga lesson plan into the class.

The Question

“I taught my first yoga class this week, I was just covering for a teacher at my local gym.  It was a 45 min class, and I completely got lost with the time. I did a flowing power sequence, but after doing all the standing poses I only had 5 mins left, so no time for seated, just relaxation at the end. I had two new complete beginners in the class, and the rest were all experienced. I found it hard as I had to keep adjusting the new beginners. Have you ever had a problem when you first started with misjudging time? If so do you have any hints to help me to manage it better when I have different levels in my class. Your advice is so much appreciated.”

My Answer

When you create a Yoga Lesson Plan using the The 15 Minute Yoga Lesson Planner, there’s a column for keeping track of the time.  Make sure you fill that column out.  For example if one of the poses within the Yoga Lesson Plan is Downward Facing Dog, you may want to teach it for 5 or 10 minutes, so put a 5 or a 10 in the time column.

The Steps
When you’re created a yoga lesson plan, follow these steps…

Step 1
Print the yoga lesson plan

Step 2
Take the yoga lesson plan with you to your class

I usually print the lesson plan out in the morning, fold it up, put it in my pocket and several times during the day, I’ll pull out and unfold the lesson plan and practice it either in on my yoga mat on imagine myself teaching it.

I’ve found over the years that imagining myself teaching the class is just as useful as actually practicing it on the mat.

In fact, I find the “imaginary yoga practice” better because it allows me to focus on my students. For example, if a student has “repetitive strain injury” on both his wrists and one of the poses within the lesson plan is Crow Pose, I’ll imagine walking up to him and saying, “Frank, instead of doing full Crow Pose which will put too much strain on your wrists, do Baby Crow instead; or if that’s still too painful for him, I’ll ask him to do squats instead.

Step 3
Put the yoga lesson plan on the front of your mat

When you get to class, put the yoga lesson plan on the front of your mat.  Then make sure you have a large clock on a wall, or watch on your mat, so you can keep track of your progress.  I never teach a class without bringing my “yoga lesson plan” to class.

Top 10 Reasons To Bring A
Yoga Lesson Plan To Class

Top 10 Reasons
1) You feel less pressure.

2) You don’t misjudge time.

3) You can track what you’ve taught throughout the months and years.  You’ll be able to keep all your lesson plans withing a folder on your computer, and you can also keep the print outs in a folder labeled “yoga lesson plans”.

4) You understand the Big Picture of the lesson.

5) It’s fun and inspiring to create a yoga lesson plan when you  have a template (structure) to work from.

6) Winging it (on-the-fly teaching without creating a plan) sounds good but rarely produces good results.  The myth is that if you’re a really experienced yoga teacher (or a very good one), you shouldn’t need a lesson plan.   That’s OK if you’re teaching the same thing each week (e.g. Bikram yoga), but if you mix things up a bit on a weekly basis, creating a lesson plan is a good practice to get into. Within the Yoga Teacher Lesson Plan Kit you’ll also receive a 6 Week Yoga Course Planner.  With the 6 Week Course Planner, you’ll be able to create an outline for 6 weeks of yoga classes. When I first started teaching yoga, creating a 6 week course used to take me several hours.  Now, with the 6 Week Course Planner it only takes a few minutes.

7) The “lesson plan template” framework allows creativity to flow (a blank sheet can cause a kind of Writer’s Block).

8) Once you’ve completed the lesson plan, you can practice it on your mat.

9) Once you’ve completed the lesson plan, you can practice it within your mind using your imagination.

10) You’ll get to know your students better by looking at the yoga lesson plan and being aware of which students would need an alternative pose or modification (The 15 Minute Yoga Lesson Planner has a column giving alternative poses and modification suggestions for each posture).  For example your student, Bob, may have sciatica, so you may demonstrate how to do Reverse Triangle instead of Extended Triangle Pose.

And one more for luck…

11)  It gives you breathing space to come up with some really creative yoga themes.
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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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