Surprisingly… yoga classes do have a method to their madness.
I know it can seem like the teacher is out of her mind or the sequence makes no rhythmic sense, but it does. Whether the class starts gentle or fast and whether it ends with long holds or inversions – each yoga class has a formula to it.
Some formulas are made up on the spot (still working on this), while others are planned beforehand (this is me).
Regardless of the yoga style, each class moves to a rhythm, a beat, a movement, and the breath.
This post is for anyone who loves yoga – yoga teacher, yoga student, or beginner yogi. The information here will benefit you in somehow or some way. Check it out:
Learning and knowing how to build a yoga class will:
- Help with planning & teaching a yoga class.
- Help deepen a current home yoga practice.
- Teach the fundamentals of a yoga class & how to start at home.
As you can see, there’s truly something for everyone here.
There are 6 main components of a yoga class:
- Warm up
- Cool Down
And generally speaking, the order of the class should be followed as laid out above. The key word here yogis – “generally”.
A yoga class can be whatever the hell it wants or needs.
As a teacher and student, it’s our job to know our energy level and what the body needs. This requires wholehearted listening + honesty. The body might crave inversions but need grounded, strong postures like the Warriors. The body might crave deep hamstring and hip openers, but need restorative postures instead.
I say all of this because yoga has no rules. It’s your body and you decide what to do with it.
Before teaching or practicing – feel free to quickly sketch out an outline of your class or the postures you want to practice. This class outline will help bring guidance and creativity to the practice. Or just wing it & go with the flow – you make the rules yogis!
To help explain this a bit further, below are example postures that fall into each class component:
This is the opening to a yoga practice. It allows time and space to enter into the present moment.
- Childs pose
- Lying on the back – savasana style or supta badha konasana.
- Seated position – sukasana or padmasana variations.
2. The Warm Up
This is a time to gently and slowly move the body, awaken the senses, and begin to tap into the breath.
- Shoulder and neck rolls
- Cat / cow variations
- Thread the needle
- Seated lateral bends
- Knee to chest + spinal twist
3. Moderate Postures
This portion consists of more structured postures that require “moderate” strength and flexibility. This portion creates a foundation for the next level of postures, it’s a preparation period for the body.
- Downward & upward facing dog
- Low lunge & high lunge
- Malasana – yogi squat
- Warrior 1 & Warrior 2
- 1/2 or full sun salutations with cobra or upward facing dog.
4. Maximum Postures
This is the peak portion of our practice as the body is open, the heart is alive, and the focus is present and mindful. This is where the strongest postures should be practiced. It’s also where balancing postures are incorporated.
- Eagle pose
- Crow pose + variations
- Side plank pose
- Warrior 3
- Half moon + variations
- Tree pose
- Dancer pose
5. Cool Down
This is exactly like it sounds – it’s a time to come down from the heat building asana class and work into postures that are introspective, calming, quieting, and deepening.
- Pigeon pose + variations
- Seated forward folds
- Shoulderstand – plow pose – fish pose sequence.
- Happy baby
- Supine twists
The best is saved for last. The body is ready and prepared to completely surrender. The before movements are all for this one moment, a moment of stillness, relaxation, and oneness.
- Lay down.
- Starfish the body out.
- Close the eyes.
- Let the breath become natural.
- Don’ attach to thoughts.
- Enjoy – you deserve it!
Just writing this makes me want to move my body.
Until next time – xoxo.
Hey! I’m Allie.
I’m a self-growth student, freedom-seeker, yoga teacher and the founder of a tight-knit online yoga community: the Body Mind Soul Studio. I’m here to teach you how to transform your life on-and-off-the-mat with a holistic yoga practice.
I wanna learn it all!
The Yoga Reset Guide is my FREE 7-step journey to deepen your practice and recenter your body, mind and soul. Self-paced, no equipment necessary, perfect for beginners AND veteran yogis.