Free Resources – Guidelines for Teaching with Themes (and/or Incorporating Philosophy)


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. Invite a personal connection.
    3. Distill concepts down to their essence.
    4. Have a plan.
    5. Practice your delivery.
    6. Tie the teaching to what the student is doing.

Teach What You Know

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

    1. 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.”
    2. Rather, sharing your personal realizations will convey the teachings authentically and will make the teaching real for students.
    3. Choosing topics that are meaningful to you is likely to add a form of transmission that is not possible when simply conveying information. And your authenticity will also be helpful in developing the teacher-student relationships.
    4. We are not suggesting that you avoid teaching something that you’re currently working with in your life. All seekers find themselves going deeper with teachings 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 suggesting 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 her own… truths, then whatever they have to say is so much more profound. – Ana Forrest, Huffington Post Interview  link

 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.

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 in our member site here.

The Themes & Readings section is just one component of the Plan & Sequence section which includes a large library of tools and resources.


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