Yoga Lesson Plans: Surrender to Adapting

Nov 12, 2017 | Healing, Humour, Wisdom, XTeaching, Yoga teaching  | 1 comment

Yoga lesson plan of a woman doing her poses.

I’m part of a yoga teachers practice group which meets monthly. We get together for a led-practice and then breakfast afterwards.

It’s a mutual gathering. No one person is the boss of it. The person leading and venue of the group rotates each month. This is semi-rural Australia, so we teachers come from all over. Some have to travel 1.5 hours to attend.

Besides enjoying the benefits of learning from each other, we get to float questions. For instance, last Saturday we were talking about how some teachers present their yoga classes off-the-cuff. Others, myself included, do a fair bit of planning for each session taught.

The truth is that all yoga teachers have to wing it to a certain extent. This is because students show up with a variety of needs. A woman might be menstruating. A bloke might have injured himself in a weekend football game. Someone has brought their visiting cousin to class who has never done yoga before.

In these situations, the teacher’s best laid plans get shredded or at best improvised.

That said, I should know better by now than to expect to teach from my yoga lesson plans.

The other day, I created what I considered a terrific plan. It followed on the work that I’d been doing over the last few weeks with the regular students. We were going to do preparations for headstand, handstand, backbends, and shoulderstand.

Then, out of the blue, a few people who had contacted me about attending class and never shown up, appeared. including an older gentleman (novice) visiting from overseas. My lesson plan flew right out the window. I had to be in-the-moment, adapting the whole program to cover various ages and all levels.

Why is it that I go on hoping to get the exact right mix of students in a class? Unexpectedly, the aged, infirm, menstruating, menopausal, pregnant, grumpy, or just plain inattentive show up?

This is what can happen when I get attached to the plan. The truth is that the mix of students who present are always the right ones. Whatever condition or stage of life students are in, they have come to do yoga. They’ve come to enjoy yoga and maybe to become even more enrolled in it. My job is to learn from them how best to do this. I’m sure I’ll never stop having to learn to let surrender.

Come to think of it, “remember to surrender” should be the only words that go on yoga lesson plans, in bold print and right at the top!

1 Comment

  1. Yes I agree, the students who present are the right ones and we adapt the class to suit. It was interesting talking to a senior teacher recently who said times have changed, he used to get students who signed up for a term of yoga and it was a time when you could progress those students each week. Students don’t want to do this so much these days, they want to walk in and walk out, miss weeks etc… I often feel that my regular students miss out on progressing to the next level, or I find I try to progress but it’s quite hard to manage.


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