10 Yoga Lesson Planning From 10 Yoga Teachers: By BWY Yoga Teacher George Watts, & 10 Of His Yoga Teacher Buddies

I was going to write an article on my top 10 tips for creating a lesson plan with the APPLAUSE factor, the kind of lesson plan that gets a round of applause at the end of the class. 

But while whacking balls at my local golf driving range I had an ‘A ha’ moment…

Why not ask 10 of my yoga teacher friends to divulge their number one top tip. That way I get to learn something new, connect with some like-minded yoga teachers and share my findings with you. But before revealing ten ways to win a round of applause from your students, I feel the need to explain the ‘Applause Thing’. It tends to elicit strong opinions, so for what it’s worth, here’s my opinion…

Fully Receive The Love & Light

It’s a wonderful feeling to give the gift of yoga to others and it’s equally wonderful to receive appreciation – whether it’s through applause, a thank you or a smile. Some may say that’s your ego talking and you shouldn’t need applause.

It’s true you don’t need applause. That’s not why you teach yoga. But when the applause comes, take it in and fully receive the love and light coming from your students. Yoga teachers are by their nature very giving people. Just remember that giving and taking is a balancing act.

Give yourself permission to allow both giving and talking in equal measures.

10 Tips For Creating Lesson Plans That WOWS Your Students

By George Watts

I used to spend anywhere from 3 to 8 hours trying to create the perfect lesson plan and discovered something rather unpleasant; the more I spent trying to perfect a lesson plan, the worse I felt my teaching was becoming.  My brother used to play on the European PGA Tour (in other words he is a very good golfer).  He discovered the main thing that was holding his students back was something he called: “Paralysis by analysis”.

He knows, after years of experience, the more a golfer tries to use their monkey brain, the worse their golf game becomes.  After a few years of teaching yoga, instead of spending several hours trying to craft the perfect lesson plan from scratch each week, I use a simple yoga lesson planning system.

Click here for my Yoga Lesson Planning system

George Watts
Yoga classes in Llandrindod Wells

By Mhairi Thomson-Hulme

It’s important to get the timing of the class right.  Always run through the class section by section at home, check that it flows and allow extra time for instruction and guidance.  Have a couple of additional asanas ready to slot in if you are running ahead of time, and highlight a couple of asanas that can be removed if running behind.

Mhairi Thomson-Hulme
Yoga classes in Aberdeen/Toronto

By Elfed Joseph

Everyone has heard the saying: ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’.  I have another saying: ‘Adding a pranyama to each class keeps your students coming back for more’.  I include one pranayma practice in every lesson plan starting with the ‘three part breath’ which helps to increase lung capacity.  Then class-by-class, bit-by-bit, students are able to move onto more advanced practices such as crow’s breath and bhastrika.  A weekly prescription of pranayama will help your students increase energy, awareness, peace and joy.

Elfed Joseph
Yoga classes in Swansea

By Eliya “Mia” Goodenough

My students really appreciate a lesson which includes a few poses to practice individually and then together as part of a flowing series. They say this helps them to remember a lot more, thus inspiring them for an enjoyable personal practice at home, and certainly more than if they just did one pose after another, after another. So, come on fellow yogis and yoginis: Let the rhythm move you…!

Eliya “Mia” Goodenough
Yoga classes in Newport

By Chris Bryan

As a new teacher my lesson planning has been greatly helped by a ‘page’ arrangement. So, my lesson plan file contains individual pages for limbers, standing, bending, twists, floor work, sequences, pranayama and readings from which I can pick to ensure progression and variety.  As new postures, etc., are developed, my file is growing.  So far it’s working well.

* If you would like a lesson plan file that’s already been done for you, click here.

Chris Bryan
Yoga classes in Swansea

By Sue Smith

equence of postures
Secure knowledge of benefits and precautions
Not forgetting Relaxation

Sue Smith
Yoga classes in Rhondda Cynon Taff

By Bijam (Jenni Connaughton)

This arises from my experience of having to run mixed general classes rather than being able to run pure beginners and intermediate groups.

I prefer to devise programmes 4 weeks at a time but inevitably people miss a class, or a new person turns up perhaps with a particular problem – difficult for newly qualified teachers but over the years you learn to have alternatives up your sleeve, or teach some practices in a stepwise fashion so that new students or people with particular needs can stop at a certain point, so that all feel included in some way.

Bijam (Jenni Connaughton)
Yoga classes in Edinburgh

By Su Bates

I think it is a good idea to plan a term’s course of lessons starting with the last lesson.

If you were writing a book you would need to know where the story was going before starting to write, planning a yoga course is no different. If the aim for the term is perhaps a certain sequence or range of postures then you can work backwards from the ending through the middle before sorting out what you need in the introduction.

If you know where you are going you are more likely to get there if you are looking in the right direction.

Su Bates
Yoga classes in Ceredigion

By Rama

The spine is one of the most important vital parts of our bodies and to keep it healthy, strong and flexible is of prime importance towards our every day comfort and well being. Therefore it is important to exercise and stretch the spine appropriately during our Yoga practice.

The spine is able to move in four directions and there should be regular movement in all directions.

This includes forward, sideward, backward and rotation movements.

I often lay emphasis on this fact by including yoga postures within my classes that move the spine in these 4 directions thus really creating space between the spinal vertebrae and re-aligning the spine to equilibrium for the individual.

Mandala Yoga Ashram in Carmarthenshire

By Bridget Rowan

It is a solitary path teaching yoga and your experience ebbs and flows with the participants.

My experience when I was a new teacher has been that I questioned my ability & the style I teach; maybe I should change it to suit potential students?  Luckily after this questioning I reconnected with the tradition I follow and had clear guidance that I am doing the right thing.  As I have learnt from my teachers so I share this with my students, pure and simple from my heart.

Like a tree with strong foundations and intent it grows, blossoms and has the sweetest fruit.

Bridget Rowan
Yoga classes in Leeds

By George Watts

If I was a betting man I would have put money on the same tip popping up 3 or 4 times, but as you’ve seen every tip was unique and that, by accident, is a hidden, bonus tip.

There really is no such thing as a top tip!

Everyone has their own unique, special way of teaching yoga.

Every yoga teacher is different.

Allow your personality to shine though when teaching your classes and be aware if you are trying hard to fit into a stereotype of what a yoga teacher should look or sound like.

Dare to be you.

Dare to be unique.

Dare to soften your mask and let loose the real you upon your students.

If you would like a yoga lesson planning system, click here.