A Guide to Planning an Inspiring and Engaging Yoga Class
Whether you're just starting out as a yoga instructor, or you're training staff to teach yoga classes, knowing how to plan a yoga class is an important part of creating an enjoyable experience for your clients.
While you will most likely have learned how to plan yoga sequences as part of your yoga teacher training, it's different once you come to manage your own business or studio.
There are several things to bear in mind when it comes to planning yoga classes. For example, you'll want to consider factors such as class size, the yoga style and the experience level of your students.
In this article we'll take a look at how to plan yoga classes for whatever style of yoga you specialize in.
Define the Class Objective
Setting a clear objective for your yoga class is like creating a roadmap for a transformative experience.
Think about what you want your students to gain from the class. This might include:
- Finding relaxation
- Building strength
- Increasing flexibility
- Stress relief
- Improved balance
It will depend on the class that you're offering, and what your students expect. But defining the objective will help you design the class structure and select suitable poses that align with your intention.
Know Your Audience
Understanding your students is the secret sauce to delivering a class that resonates with them. This might be easier said than done when first starting your yoga business, or planning yoga classes in a new area or for a new audience.
But chances are, you will have advertised your yoga class to a specific audience, and you will likely have some of their details in your schedule. If you've used yoga studio scheduling software such as Arbox you would also have their contact details, so you could even follow up and ask them their experience levels.
The more you know about your class students, the more you can understand their experience levels and capacity for more challenging yoga poses
Ideally, you'll take the time to get to know their skill levels, experience, and preferences. Are they beginners seeking guidance or advanced practitioners looking for a challenge?
But for some classes, you may need to tailor your class to accommodate various levels, offering modifications and variations to make everyone feel included and empowered.
Creating a Sequence
Just like a well-choreographed dance, a yoga class requires a thoughtfully crafted sequence of poses.
Start with gentle warm-up poses to prepare the body, gradually progress to more challenging asanas, and conclude with a calming sequence that allows students to integrate their practice.
This flow will create a rhythm and fluidity, helping your students experience a seamless journey throughout the class.
As a yoga teacher, you will no doubt have lots of ideas for yoga sequences. If you have a class who are progressing together, you might choose to create a weekly plan to make your yoga sequence more complex and challenging.
Of course, only you know what your students enjoy. But try and choose postures that do challenge your students, even if they're beginners.
Modifications and Variations
When planning any yoga class sequences or routines, make sure you have the option to adapt or vary the poses. It might be that your class find some of your poses challenging, or a new student is struggling.
By providing options, you empower beginners to find their comfort zone while challenging advanced practitioners to deepen their practice. Remember, inclusivity is key to fostering a supportive and welcoming environment.
Incorporating Breath Work and Meditation
Of course, breath work and meditation are the heart and soul of yoga. As part of your yoga sequencing, encourage your students to connect their breath with their movements, allowing them to cultivate mindfulness and find inner calm.
Part of yoga is teaching various pranayama techniques and guiding your class through moments of meditation. This helps tap into a deeper sense of self-awareness and relaxation and really brings the restorative yoga experience home.
Setting the Ambiance
Creating the right ambiance sets the stage for a truly transformative experience. If you already manage your own yoga practice or studio, you will most likely have created an inspiring or relaxing interior. But if you're using a room in a fitness center, or even taking pop-up yoga classes in local business offices, you might need to manage the mood slightly.
Consider the lighting, temperature, and music in your yoga space. While you won't always have control over these things, you can change your yoga sequence if it's too cold, or move the focus toward part of the room that is less bright.
Soft, soothing instrumental music can enhance the atmosphere, inviting your students to unwind and connect with their practice. Overall, aim to ensure that the space feels inviting, calming, and free from distractions.
As a yoga teacher, your words have the power to guide and inspire. When teaching any y0ga class, use clear and concise language when providing instructions and alignment cues.
Offer encouraging words and positive reinforcement for your students, and let them know what the names of each yoga pose is as you go through the sequence.
Using verbal cues and speaking clearly contributes to creating a safe and nurturing space for the enjoyment of your yoga class.
Physical adjustments can deepen the student's experience, and help them to tackle challenging yoga poses, but it's crucial to approach your students with respect and consent.
Before offering hands-on adjustments, ensure that your students are comfortable with physical contact. Use gentle touch to guide their alignment and deepen their understanding of the poses.
Remember, everyone's body is unique, and not everyone is as flexible or supple as an experienced yoga teacher, so always be attentive and respectful.
Props and Accessories
Yoga props are your allies in creating a supportive practice environment. While most yoga students will have their own yoga mat, if you manage a yoga studio then you will likely need to invest in other yoga accessories.
Do you need to include blocks, straps, bolsters, and blankets to assist your students in achieving proper alignment and accessibility? Props can be especially beneficial for beginners and those with limited flexibility, allowing them to experience the full benefits of each pose.
If you need your students to bring their own props, make sure to let them know before they arrive.
When using Arbox gym management software, you can either send a follow up email with their booking and remind them to bring specific props. Or, you can also include the details of the yoga class requirements on your booking landing page.
Rest and Savasana
After an invigorating practice, it's essential to provide time for relaxation and integration.
Dedicate a portion of your class to Savasana, the blissful corpse pose. Encourage your students to release any remaining tension and fully surrender to the present moment.
Creating a peaceful and supportive environment during Savasana allows your students to leave feeling refreshed and renewed.
How long you allow for Savasana is up to you, but most yoga classes should allow at least five minutes, or up to 15 minutes, to unwind.
Themes or Focus Areas
To infuse creativity and variety into your classes, consider incorporating themes or focus areas. Themes like backbends, hip openers, core strengthening, or inversions can add excitement and help students explore different aspects of their practice.
Themes provide a fresh perspective and keep your classes engaging and inspiring.
Part of teaching yoga is ensuring you have planned a balanced and enjoyable yoga class that fits within the time frame. When planning your yoga sequencing, make sure to allow ample time for warm-up, the main sequence, relaxation, and closing.
Be sure to respect the allocated time for each segment, and focus on smooth transitions to maintain the flow and rhythm of the class.
As well as the timing of your yoga sequence, you'll also need to manage the scheduling of your class and your attendees.
Make sure to use yoga class scheduling software to keep track of who will be attending, and manage your class sizes. Get started with Arbox for free to find out how much easier it is managing yoga classes with made-for-purpose yoga class booking system.
As a yoga teacher or studio owner, be sure to prioritize your own well-being. Regular self-practice, attending workshops, and practicing self-care activities will help you stay grounded and inspired.
It's also a great idea to keep on learning new yoga styles to enable you to offer a more rounded experience for your yoga classes. If you already practice hatha yoga, but don't yet know how to teach vinyasa yoga, make time to study and improve your understanding.
By taking care of yourself, you're better equipped to guide your students on their yoga journey. And this includes improving your own understanding of the different yoga styles and techniques.
Read more about starting your yoga business in our guide.
Managing Your Yoga Business with Arbox
Crafting an inspiring and engaging yoga class requires careful planning, adaptability, and a deep understanding of your students' needs.
But it also means managing the fiddly business bits in the background, such as making it easy for students to sign up for your classes, taking payments, or marketing and promoting your yoga business.
Arbox business management software is designed for fitness professionals, including yoga studio owners and freelance yoga instructors, to manage the tricky business elements of running yoga classes.
Save yourself the time consuming and stressful elements of running a yoga business.
With the Arbox yoga class booking system, you can:
- Create and manage class schedules.
- Make it easy for clients to book onto classes and pay online.
- Collect signup details such as emails and contact information.
- Send emails and follow up messages in case of changes or for promotions.
- Manage and sell membership plans or packages.
- Track your daily, weekly or monthly to-do list.
- Manage staff including yoga teachers you might be managing for your yoga business.
Join a live demo to learn how Arbox can help get organized and provide an amazing client experience.