With a new year quickly approaching, you may be searching for the perfect class themes to bring into a New Year practice for your classes and students. Figuring out a theme to stick with can be tough but the New Year is ripe with inspiration and you need not look far. Here are 5 yoga class themes to bring to your New Year classes.

Leaving Behind What No Longer Serves You

This is one of the best themes to start a New Year with. Bringing this concept to students may not be new for you but the meaning behind this theme could hold new power for those in your class. A great way to bring this into the class is to have students become mindful of the postures they are practicing and recognizing which ones are serving their body best in that moment. You can take this practice even further by asking your students to go internal with this sentiment. Give them space to meditate on the things from the last year that held them back or created obstacles in their life and instruct them to release those things with their breath. With each exhale, they are releasing that which no longer serves them and creating space for new things to enter their life.

Intention and Action Setting Practice

Instructing students to set an intention is standard practice in most yoga classes, but taking it a step further and using it as a theme for your New Year class is a great way to not only have your students set intentions but to create actions around those intentions as well. Have your students create an intention in each pose they arrive in. As they visualize this intention, guide them through visualizing the actions they need to take in order to reach that intention. Each pose creates a new intention, allowing your students a chance to truly discover what their intentions are in their lives and their practices. Having them visualize the actions it takes to reach their intentions will help them to start the year with some idea of what must be done for them to progress forward.

Be A Beginner

The New Year is a perfect time to return to the beginner’s mind. Returning to the basics will help even the most advanced of students to access the parts of yoga that they may often take for granted. In this class, focus your efforts and teachings on beginners poses with a bit of a twist to how you instruct them. Have your students access the poses in new ways or to take the practice with eyes closed to shake up their normal routine and bring their mindset to one of learning and less of their known path of asana.

Settling Into Stillness

With the holidays in the rearview mirror it can be difficult for students to experience the slowing down that comes with the New Year. Gone are the holiday parties and errand running. As the depths of winter approach it is a great time to teach your students to settle into the stillness that naturally arises around the New Year. Teaching a more yin focused practice is a great way to have your students experience stillness. Even in a vinyasa class you can instruct stillness between the movements. Allow for extra time to practice savasana and meditation in these practices to allow your students the ability to find a comfortable stillness.

Gratitude Practice

Gratitude is essential no matter the time of year, but the New Year is an especially essential time to continue the practice of gratitude. With the gift giving season winding down it can be easy to leave behind the spirit of giving for the everyday hustle and bustle of life. In this class, aim to lead your students through a meditation focused on gratitude but don’t stop there! Each pose is a moment for your students to develop a deeper sense of gratitude. For instance, as the practice begins, have your students cultivate gratitude for the things and people that made it possible for them to attend the practice. As they continue to move, guide them through feeling gratitude for the strength of their legs in their standing postures, the expansiveness of their breath, the joy of surrender at the end of practice, and finally an ultimate sense of gratitude for themselves. The New Year is an amazing time to bring new lessons to your yoga students and an even better time to remind them of the old lessons you have been bringing to them all along. With a little focus and some added fun your New Year’s classes will be better than ever before and your students will keep coming back for more!  
No matter the style of yoga you were trained in, odds are likely that you were taught a basic way to sequence your class. While those first sequences are wonderful for getting your feet wet at the front of the studio, often they lack some essential knowledge about how to plan your class so that you feel good about what you’re teaching and your students walk away feeling that yoga bliss they are seeking.

Set Your Intention

What is the intention you want for this class? Do you want to provide something grounded, calming, energizing? Figure out what your intention is and your class planning will become a whole lot easier.

Choose A Theme

A theme will help inform the poses you pick for your class. Not only that, your theme can trickle down across the music you play and even the verbiage you use in class. Choosing a theme can be tough, but there are a few ways to go about finding one.
  • Choose something based around the time of year
  • Hone in on the social climate and find a neutral message like kindness, compassion, caring, etc.
  • Chose a natural event, like the full moon or new moon
  • Select a feeling as your theme

Consider The Demographics of Your Class

It is incredibly important to teach to those that show up. If you only teach advanced postures, but you have a room full of beginners, it will be unlikely to work for the majority of people in the class. Think about the average student that attends your class and then design your sequence with that specific skill level in mind.

Think About The Time of Day

The time of day you teach is an important factor to consider. Morning classes will be better served with a more vigorous and warming practice, while evening classes can lend themselves to slower flows and more restorative practices.

Find a Piece of Inspiration

Whether you find a quote, short story or vivid imagery, adding an element of inspiration that is in line with your intention and them will leave students with something to digest. This will allow students a point of focus and something to take away from their practice with them.

Choose Your Postures

Whether you are working towards a particular posture or simply guiding students through a full body stretch, the poses you choose should complement each other. For example; If you are working towards a deep backbend, choose postures that warm up the supporting areas as well as counter postures that will help to provide release after the back bend. In choosing postures you should ensure that each class you design allows for a proper warm up and that postures are done in an order that compliments the ones done prior to and after the pose, you are teaching. Be sure to allow for ample cooldown periods at the end of every practice so that students can comfortably make their way through savasana.

Find a Balance Between Static and Dynamic Poses

Utilizing dynamic movements like the Sun Salutations is great, but if you only stick with dynamic style poses you run the risk of burning your students out! That is why it is best to design a practice with a proper balance between static and dynamic poses.

Allow For Moments of Rest

Always account for resting postures between more vigorous series. Offering a child’s pose or a happy baby pose after a difficult sequence will allow students the chance to rest and come back to their breath. These moments of rest also make a great time to insert your inspirational quote or imagery to call them back to their mat.

Add In Elements of Complexity

No matter the style of yoga you teach, the elements of pranayama, mantra, mudra, and affirmation can layer in an element of complexity that is not always offered in asana focused practices. These things should be in line with your theme and intention, but should also give students insight into the broader realm of yoga. You can also add in complexity by offering enhancements to postures you are instructing. This way people of all levels will have an offering in your class. For example, as you queue people into a simple twist, encourage those that feel they can maneuver further to take a bind with their twist.

Try The Sequence For Yourself

Yoga teachers are the ultimate yoga student, which is why you should try your sequences out for yourself. In moving through your sequence, you will be able to see what works and what might need some adjusting. Keep in mind that planning a yoga class can be a little difficult at first. Once you realize you can follow a few simple steps you will be creating smart, functional, and fun classes every time!