In my teaching, I often utilize a theme for each class. Themes vary from “heart opening,” which refers to the types of asanas I’m using in the sequence, to a quality such as “mindfulness,” to aspects of the yogic philosophy. In doing so, I set a purpose for why I am teaching the class, and I give students a possible reminder as to why they decided to practice.
The practice of yoga extends beyond the mat, but the mat is a powerful tool in cultivating a yogic mindset. Using asanas and moving with the breath bring the practitioner into a mindful meditation. Linking, or yoking, the body and the mind is the spiritual practice of yoga. While this can be done just by concentrating on the breath, it is sometimes more effective if the whole body is engaged in a stretching posture, or asana.
Although many people approach yoga as a physical exercise, the true teaching of yoga is as a spiritual practice. There are many ways to teach a student how to yoke the body and the mind through asanas. An experienced teacher can develop sequences from scratch. As a new teacher, I like to use a theme to guide the class and to serve as a reminder for why we practice yoga.