While the idea of a rigid class syllabus can seem unappealing, many yoga teachers benefit from creating regular lesson plans for their classes. Much as in traditional academic environments, having a class syllabus can help you and your students improve, and stay on track with a specific goal in mind. Create a plan that allows your students to build upon what they learn each week, and makes them feel excited about their progress.
Read on for more information on building a successful lesson plan. Our Benefits Plus members can also take advantage of a library of exclusive free downloads, full of expert advice from the editors of Yoga Journal on how to create a great syllabus.
How to Write a Yoga Lesson Plan
1) Consider your audience
When deciding what to cover, first consider your audience. Start by asking yourself a few important questions: What is my end goal for these students? What foundations will they need in order to accomplish this goal? What experience levels or limitations can I expect from my students? Once you have a clear idea of your audience, you will be on your way towards designing a lesson plan that best fits their needs.
2) Brainstorm your syllabus
Your syllabus can be as simple as a sequence of related poses you would like to cover, or as complicated as a multi-week lesson plan. It may be helpful for you to decide on a statement of purpose for your students. If they can walk out of your class with one skill or piece of knowledge, what will it be?
Ideas for a yoga lesson plan:
Design your courses around sequential versions of poses and ideas. Start your series by reviewing the basics, and setting the groundwork for more challenging variations in later classes.
For beginner-level classes, spend a set amount of time covering the basic major asanas and building upon each pose.
Spend each class focusing on one movement or area of the body, such as a class devoted to hip- or chest-openers.
Schedule time for exploring meditation and breathing exercises.
Assign homework (just like in academic classes!) for students to incorporate their practice into their daily life; perhaps in breathing exercises, or practicing their alignment.
Consider leaving time for your students to interact with you, and ask questions.
3) Finalize your plan
Once you have zeroed in on your goals and expectations for your students, take time to organize your ideas and finalize your yoga lesson plan. Decide if your plan will cover one class, or be part of a longer series, and how much detail you need your plan to contain. Writing out your syllabus can also be very useful, and this allows you to share your plans with your students if you so choose. Remember to add a little room for flexibility, as even your best-laid plans cannot account for the many surprises of teaching a room full of budding yogis! As you gain more experience as a teacher, you will learn how to plan the most effective class series based on your students and your teaching style.
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