Free Resources – Teaching with Themes + Free Sample Theme Plan


Not only do yoga teachers compete with each other, but we also compete with however a person chooses to spend the free hour of their day. The one completely unique aspect to your yoga class is how you inspire your students and the passion you bring to the moment. The number one way to be authentic in your teaching is through your themes. You are the only you. Nobody can teach your theme exactly like you. – Michelle Berman Marchildon, Theme Weaver © 2013, pg 28

Many students find incomparable value and inspiration from the deeper teachings that are thoughtfully shared in class. When class themes are taught effectively, they can benefit both teachers and students:

  1. Theme readings provide the opportunity to offer wisdom and inspiration to students who are often hungry for such teachings.
  2. The meaning and depth from a related theme can increase practice effectiveness.
  3. Teachers can be continually inspired by what they love.
  4. Themes are a vehicle for teachers to share their uniqueness and to teach from their own truth.


Here are some considerations for effectively utilizing themes in yoga teaching:

  1. Teach what you know.
  2. Make it personal to every student.
  3. Distill concepts down to their essence.
  4. Practice your delivery.
  5. Tie the teaching to what the student is doing.
  6. Have a beginning, middle and end.

Teach What You Know

This point, “Teach What You Know” is about your personal experience and the meaning the topic holds for you.

  • Regarding such topics as yoga philosophy and other wisdom teachings, it’s simply out of line to teach concepts that you haven’t fully ingested and lived.
  • Not only is it inappropriate to “teach” such topics without personal experience, attempting to do so may lead to sounding like a “talking head,” spouting “blather” while lacking the words and energetic presence of those who have lived a concept.
  • Choosing topics that are meaningful to you is likely to add a form of transmission that is not possible when simply conveying information.
  • This is not to say that you shouldn’t teach something that you’re currently working with in your life. All seekers find themselves “going deeper” with concepts and continuing to learn how much they don’t know. This lifelong seeking is a valuable place from which to teach; not having all the answers should not prevent you from sharing with students.
  • In summary, we are not proposing there is a particular test of who can teach what! Rather, we want to suggest that newer teachers be cautious and perhaps err on the side of taking more time before teaching new concepts, and that more experienced teachers consider daring to share more! : )
New Age Blather

There’s talk in yoga classes about spirit but most of it is not genuine. It’s just somebody reading something. That’s a start but it easily turns into a sort of New Age blather. But when the teacher can get confident enough to teach from his or her own truths, then whatever they have to say is so much more profound. – Ana Forrest, Huffington Post Interview

Much More!

We hope you found this excerpt from our Member site useful and inspiring. We go deep on the rest of the guidelines and more on teaching themes here. The Themes & Readings section is just one component of the Plan & Sequence section which includes a large library of tools and resources.

More About Us

 Theme Plans

Our new Theme Plans take class theme support to a new level!

Now teachers can consult a detailed guide for incorporating a particular theme into class, including:

  • Theme Teaching Points
  • Readings
  • Inviting Students’ Personal Connection
  • Practices for Applying the Theme Teaching in Class
  • Teaching Tips & Reminders
  • Off-the-Mat Practices

We include plenty of ideas and readings to make the presentation unique, but provide the structure and specifics to make it easier to effectively teach themes that resonate for you.

Free Sample

We’d like to offer you a free Theme Plan in exchange for feedback. With your feedback, we can be sure to create our library of Theme Plans using a format that is most useful to you. As of March 2018, we are testing these two formats:

As you’ll see in Format 2, we can suggest a way to teach the theme through each segment of class, if you wish. But we did not include the Theme Plan with a particular sequence, since the Theme Plan can be used with any sequence. Sequences in our Sequence Library include Printable Class Notes such as this:

Here is a link to a super quick, 2-minute survey regarding your reactions to the two formats above. It includes an option to provide your email address (not required) if you wish to be notified when the format is finalized and more Theme Plans are available.


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