How to Plan a Yoga or Meditation Class

How to Plan a Yoga or Meditation Class

How to Plan a Yoga or Meditation Class

By: Laura Jayne


For most of us, one of the most intimidating parts of becoming a teacher is actually teaching! 


To become a mindfulness or yoga teacher you may learn about the different postures, anatomy, breathing, or mindfulness principles. 


But even the most experienced teachers spend time thinking about and planning their classes. For new teachers, the best way to gain confidence is to spend time thinking about what you want to teach. In formal education settings, we call that lesson planning. You should do this in yoga and meditation teaching, too. In fact, having a clear plan is the best way to feel confident teaching a class and to build the skills you need to be an effective teacher. Through planning, you use what you’ve learned to create a class that is cohesive, clear, and engaging.


While different methods and schools might have specific frameworks for planning a class, the basics are the always the same:


    1. Identify your outcome(s): What do you want students to be able to do and/or how do you want them to feel at the end of the practice? Your outcome can be exemplified in a theme, a word, a phrase, or a feeling.
    2. Identify which methods support your intended outcomes: What will help students to reach your intended outcomes? Is there a meditation or pranayama tool that will help students to embody your theme or help them to reach a desired state? For yoga, what peak pose might embody your theme (for example, Warrior II to embody inner strength)? Or what meditation tool can help them have a deeper understanding?
    3. Know your students: Who will be in your class? What are their goals and needs? Think about their prior experience (if any). Are you aware of any factors, such as physical or cognitive, that might limit their ability to participate in your activity?
    4. Plan how you will get there: How will you prepare students to be ready? Given your audience (identified in step 3), how can you make sure students can safely participate? This might mean an effective warm-up for an asana pose, centering breathing for a meditation, or breathing exercises for pranayama.
    5. Plan for the peak: What should students do once they reach the peak of their practice? Should they stay there? Wind back down? Once students have reached the goal of your practice, what should they do? Some practices, such as a pranayama or meditation, might have students stay in that practice for a while. Other peaks, such as a peak asana pose, might need some exercises for students to cool down or to stretch the muscles that did the bulk of the work in the peak pose.
    6. Plan the closing: How will you finish the session in a way that supports their path to meeting your intended outcomes? Identify and describe how you can help students to finish your practice and take what they learned or achieved throughout the rest of their day. This might be a quote, a final pranayama or meditation, or savasana. Be specific. It can be easy to neglect the closing of a class, but as the final portion of your class, this is your opportunity to help your students leave with intention. 


You don’t need to use a fancy template or type out your plan. Simply jotting your notes into a journal is perfect. You don’t need to memorize your plan either – I always bring my journal to class. I might not need to reference it, but should I forget the next thing I want to teach, or if I want to read a quote, my journal is there for easy access.


At Inbody, we spend time in our 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training and 200 hour Mindfulness Training on each of the 6 components of planning an effective class above. From the philosophy underpinning mindfulness and yoga to different meditation techniques to alignment to breathing, we’ll help you gain the knowledge you need to create an effective class plan. Then, through live practicums and peer teaching, we’ll help you to plan and teach effective yoga and meditation classes. At the end of your 200 hour training, you will have the knowledge, skills, and tools you need to plan and deliver an effective yoga and meditation class.


Be sure to review our information on one of the top-rated trainings in the world at Inbody AcademyEnrollment for our next training is now open. Learn more or apply here