Yoga Lesson Planning Made Easy

5 Steps For Teaching Relaxation Techniques

Step 1
Relaxed Atmosphere


The first step to teaching relaxation is to create a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere in your yoga class.  

Below are some ideas to get you started…

  1. Warm room (not too warm)
  2. Soft lighting
  3. Decluttered room
  4. Soft music
  5. Flowers
  6. Buddha statue
  7. OM poster
  8. Oil burner
  9. Welcoming, relaxed teacher

Step 2
Poses That Help Students Relax

Most yoga teachers will ask their students to get into Savasana, but there are many more relaxation postures you can offer your students.

Relaxation Posture 1
Savasana (corpse pose)

Savasana is the bread and butter, go to posture for relaxation because most students will be able to stay in the posture for 10 to 15 minutes.   It’s not the best posture for people (using male students) who have back pain, they would be better off lying on the stomach in Crocodile Pose.   It’s a great pose for students who struggle with sitting or kneeling for more than 5 minutes at a time.

Lie flat on your back in Savasana.

Observe your breathing, without seeking to control it for a few minutes.

Make two successive deep inhalations and exhalations, swelling out the abdomen in and drawing it in towards the backbone on breathing out.  Relax the abdominal wall fully at the conclusion of the second breath.

Observe your breathing again.  When it has become quiet, smooth, and of even rhythm, direct your attention like a torch beam in sequence over the parts of the body starting at the left foot and finishing at the scalp.

Observe your breathing again for a minute or two; then repeat the sequence of letting go with the muscles from feet to scalp.  Continue for 15 to 30 minutes.

At the conclusion of each wave of relaxation from feet to scalp, the whole body should rest with its full weight and feel drained of tension.  The mind should also be at peace.

Relaxation Posture 2
Reversed Corpse Pose (Advasana)

Lie on stomach.

Stretch both arms forward on each side of head.

Relax whole body.

Breathe naturally and rhythmically.

Concentrate on breath and the number of respirations.

Relaxation Posture 3
Best/Superior Pose (Jyestikasana) 

Lie flat on the stomach with legs straight.

Interlock the fingers and place the palms at the back of the head.

Relax the whole body.

Breathe naturally and rhythmically.

Concentrate on the breath and the number of respirations.

Relaxation Posture 4
Crocodile Pose (Makarasana)

Lie flat on the stomach.

Raise the head and shoulders and rest the head in the palms of the hands with the elbows on the ground.

Relax the whole body and close the eyes.

Breathe naturally and rhythmically.

Concentrate on the breath and the number of respirations.

Relaxation Posture 5
Flapping Fish Pose (Matsya Kridasana)

Lie on your stomach with fingers interlocked under head.

Fold left leg sideways and bring the grounded left knee close to the ribs.

Swivel arms to left and rest elbow on left knee.

Rest right side of head on crook of right arm.

Breath normal and relaxed.

Concentrate on the breath.

Step 3
Relaxation Phrases 

The next step is to practice relaxation phrases to use within your class.

Below are some examples…

“Focus on releasing deeply on the exhale.”

“Concentrate on deep, slow, rhythmic breaths.”

“Concentrate on your belly rising and falling.”

“Breathe smoothly, quietly, with no jerks or pauses.”

Step 4
Relaxation Exercises 

The next step is to practice teaching various relaxation exercises. Don’t just do the same relaxation exercise all the time. Experiment with new relaxation exercises.  

Here are few to get you started…

6 Yoga Breathing Exercises 

If you like giving handouts to your students, here are 6 free yoga breathing exercises as class handouts.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive Muscle Relaxation is one of my favourite relaxation exercises.

61-Points Relaxation

The 61-Points relaxation is more subtle than the Progressive Muscle Relaxation. This may lead to a deeper state of calm and quiet.  The idea is to bring your awareness from one point to the next every couple seconds.

Bring your awareness to your forehead, and to the throat.

Right shoulder, right elbow, right wrist, tip of right thumb, tip of right index finger, tip of right middle finger, tip of right ring finger, tip of right little finger, right wrist, right elbow, right shoulder, throat.

Left shoulder, left elbow, left wrist, tip of left thumb, tip of left index finger, tip of left middle finger, tip of left ring finger, tip of left little finger, left wrist, left elbow, left shoulder.

Throat, space between the breasts, right breast, space between the breasts, left breast, space between the breasts, navel, lower abdomen.

Right hip, right knee, right ankle, tip of the right big toe, tip of the right second toe, tip of the right middle toe, tip of the right fourth toe, tip of the right little toe, right ankle, right knee, right hip, lower abdomen.

Left hip, left knee, left ankle, tip of the left big toe, tip of the left second toe, tip of the left middle toe, tip of the left fourth toe, tip of the left little toe, left ankle, left knee, left hip.

Lower abdomen, navel, space between the breasts, throat, forehead.

Step 5
Relaxation Precautions

You may think teaching relaxation has no precautions, but there are a few to consider.  

Give the student a glass of water and tell them to drink from their water bottle.

Comfort the student if he or she starts crying

If the student becomes emotional and tries to leave the class – let them.

If a student constantly fidgets during relaxation, tell them to focus on deep, slow breathes.

Fire alarm
If the fire alarm goes off get out of the building.

Not coming out of relaxation
If the student doesn’t come out of the relaxation and is in a deep sleep, gently touch his/her arm and speak their name.

Late arrivals
If a student is consistently late, ask them to arrive 5 to 10 minutes early so as not to disturb his/her fellow students.

Mobile phone going off
On your first class, ask students to turn off their mobiles because the start of class.

Ask the student to sit in a different position.

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George Watts

Hope you enjoyed my post. I'm a BWY yoga teacher, and creator of the Yoga Genie Lesson Planner. Create yoga lesson plans quickly and easily. Get started with the Yoga Genie Lesson Planner for free today.

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