Wednesday, December 03, 2014

The New Teacher's Guide To Designing A Yoga Lesson Plan

By Faye Martins
Teaching yoga can be a rewarding career path or a great way to make extra money on the side. Planning your first few sessions can be nerve-wracking, but it does not have to be difficult. These simple steps make designing a yoga lesson plan easy and fun.
Choose Your Style

Before you jump into the details, decide on the type of class you want to provide. Choose your yoga style first followed by the students you want to cater to. A beginner's class, prenatal course or weight loss program will each have their own needs. Make a list of class-based considerations to keep in mind while you plan.

Ambiance is dependent on your personal energy, music, your tone of voice and the pacing you choose. It is often easiest to match the class energy and activities to your personal energy. For instance, if you are an upbeat person, high-energy classes could be your key to success, while a calmer tone goes hand-in-hand with guided meditation.

Tailoring to Skill Level

Skill level plays a major role in the pacing, mood and planning of any lesson plan. A beginner's lesson will demand a slower pace and more time spent on explanation. Less demanding or simplified poses are necessary, and you may have to spend a few lessons helping your students master the basics.

Advanced classes will flow more easily from pose-to-pose. You can expand your options by making simple poses more demanding. Beginning and ending each class on the same few poses can impart a sense of consistency to your lessons.

Beginnings and Ends

Most classes should begin with a brief overview of the day's goals and a gentle warm-up. Warm-ups range from 5 to 10 minutes and should be tailored to your style. They help ground your students and put them in the right mindset. This is the perfect time to teach a breathing technique or a mantra.

Regardless of your teaching style, the last 10 to 15 minutes should be devoted to a "cool down" period. Choose gentle poses, lead a guided meditation or teach a gentle stretch. Closing the lesson with the Savasana pose will give your students time to ground themselves and enjoy the serene atmosphere.

Planning the Middle

Many instructors find designing a yoga lesson plan easier when they plan around music. It helps with pacing as well as setting the scene for your students. Warm-ups and cool-downs beg unobtrusive music. You can continue the gentle music or pick up the pace for a high-intensity class. Make the transition between tempos as gentle as possible.

A good rule of thumb is to begin with gentle poses, lead into standing poses and end on deep stretches and floor poses. The rule is not absolute, and varying it can make things interesting. You can also build a whole lesson up to learning a difficult pose. Do not forget to practice your own lesson plan to make sure it flows.

Planning is vital for a successful yoga class, and the more thought you put into it, the more successful you will be. Do not be afraid to browse books, DVDs or online videos for inspiration or take a variety of classes with different teachers to see what you could be doing.
Faye Martins, is a Yoga teacher and a graduate of the Yoga teacher training program at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA.