100 Yoga Class Themes

I’ve been compiling this list of yoga class themes for over a decade. Themes add context and nuance to a yoga class. In addition, they help yoga teachers narrow down the focus of the class. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by wanting to share everything with your students at once, a theme is a great way guide your choices.

My list of yoga class themes contains a wide variety of themes from accessible to esoteric. They are a jumping off point to personalize your own theme – an idea that will be expressed differently by each person who uses them. Your theme may even morph into something completely different than what you started with, but a list of options is a great way to begin. Start with the ones that excite or inspire you. There are a ton of fascinating yoga philosophy concepts in this list of theme that you may not have heard of. As you become more adept at incorporating themes into your classes, check out some of the ones that you are less familiar with and research them more fully.

The most important thing when using a theme for your yoga class is to contemplate what it means to you personally.  Journal about it, meditate, and even think about it right before you fall asleep.  Distill the ideas of the theme into one main core message and keep that message in mind the entire class.  I prefer to keep the same theme for all my classes in a given week because the significance of the theme starts to show up in my life and my ability to share it with my classes becomes more succinct & authentic.

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What other yoga teachers have to say about our list of 100 yoga class themes:

Holy cow! What an incredible resource. I’ll definitely be sitting with a few of these themes. As you say, it’s important to put it in your own context before offering it to students. Thank you for creating this list and for your generosity with what you know. It’s inspiring. — Christy

I think you’ve just saved my teaching. this is *exactly* the inspiration i needed! — Tami

Thank you – strange and wonderful how the universe delivers just when I’m stuck! — Jayne

This an amazing list, thank you so much!! Last night I did “hip openers” coupled with “patience”. Even though it is not on the list per se, it was reading this list that helped me get into the notion of themes, as I am quite a new teacher and I felt like did not have that many ideas. Thanks again! –Beth

So insightful and beautifully compiled! Thank you for the inspiration. –Yvette

Ooh this is a fun list! — Sheena

Thank you for all of the inspiration. I’m a new (older) teacher and want my own practice, that I share with my students, to come from the heart. Good ideas here for organizing a class. –SE

Although I’ve been practicing yoga for years..I’m new to ‘teaching’. Love what I’ve found here. So helpful and inspiring. Thank-you for sharing your gifts! I’ll be returning here often… –Marcie

I have just recently stopped teaching because I felt as though I need to focus on my own practice. Thank you for this, I will definitely be using these themes to create my personal practice and will take the time to meditate on each one per day. I am so excited to have gotten a hold of this, and have much gratitude for you to take the time in investing your creativity and insight into this!! Namaste — Shama

This is extremely helpful and inspiring, all in one page. Well done! –Marcia

Thank you for this list! I’ll be referring to it often, on those days when it’s a little harder to find inspiration! Love the site! –Monica

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Author: Mado

Mado Hesselink is a yoga instructor and writer based in Asheville, NC. She also enjoys painting, gardening, aerial silks, and putting large amounts of weight over her head. With gratitude to the many teachers who have guided her on the path of yoga, Mado acknowledges life and parenthood as the greatest yoga teachers of all.

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30 Comments

  1. Thank you for this list! I’ll be referring to it often, on those days when it’s a little harder to find inspiration! Love the site!

  2. This is extremely helpful and inspiring, all in one page. Well done!
    Hola lovely Monica!! 😉

  3. Thank you for posting this! I’m always trying to find good theme ideas and this gives me some fuel for thought. I also agree with what you said about meditating on what the theme means to oneself. Love your site <3

  4. Thank you! I too find that keeping the same theme all week in my classes enhances my teaching of the theme as well as my integration of the theme into my life.

  5. Altho I’ve been practicing yoga for years..I’m new to ‘teaching’. Love what I’ve found here. So helpful and inspiring. Thank-you for sharing your gifts! I’ll be returning here often…

  6. I have just recently stopped teaching because I felt as though I need to focus on my own practice. Thank you for this, I will definitely be using these themes to create my personal practice and will take the time to meditate on each one per day. I am so excited to have gotten ahold of this, and have much gratitude for you to take the time in investing your creativity and insight into this!! Namaste

  7. Thanks Marcie! Glad it is helpful.

  8. That’s a great idea Shama – I never thought of using the list for personal practice.

  9. Thank you Monica!

  10. Holy cow! What an incredible resource. I’ll definitely be sitting with a few of these themes. As you say, it’s important to put it in your own context before offering it to students.

    One theme I’ve focused quite a bit on is curiosity — through experimentation, the idea of *your* expression of the practice, noticing sensations, and offering lots of opportunities for choice in class. I think it probably ties in nicely with “Listening” above.

    Thank you for creating this list and for your generosity with what you know. It’s inspiring.

  11. I have just joined a yoga course and I can vouch on its effectiveness. It was nice to read through the 100 interesting themes that you have discussed in this article. Nice work!

  12. Brilliant!Thank-you!Im always looking for new themes for my classes….Some other themes I have used are:
    *The 3 gunas(3 qualities of mind)~tamas,rajas and sattva
    *The yoga concept patipaksha bhavanam~(changing a negative thought into a positive,changing ones perspective of a situation:Sutra 2.33)This can be applied to how a student views there practice
    *Sutra 1.1 Atha Yoganusasanum~Now begins the practice of yoga…implying “now”at this present moment…and even again 5 minutes from now ,when the student falls out of their yoga mind or the quality of the breath starts to suffer.This sutra implies an ongoing fresh start both on and off the mat…One of my favorites:))
    Many thanks
    Namaste xx

  13. This is a great resource to flip through when you need that extra bit of inspiration! Thanks

  14. Thank you – strange and wonderful how the universe delivers just when I’m stuck!

  15. This an amazing list, thank you so much!! Last night I did “hip openers” coupled with “patience”. Even though it is not on the list per se, it was reading this list that helped me get into the notion of themes, as I am quite a new teacher and I felt like did not have that many ideas.Thanks again!

  16. thank you. I have shared with 1000 members on the Yoga Australia facebook page 🙂 Im sure they will be inspired! namaste x

  17. You are very welcome! Thanks for taking the time to come back and post your comment.

  18. You are welcome! I’m so glad you found what you needed at the right time. I have been so inspired by other teachers that I am happy to pay it forward.

  19. You are very welcome and thank you for taking the time to comment!

  20. Thankyou! My classes start again soon after the summer break and I just can’t get inspiration. Your list has now been book-marked! I am sure I will use it loads.

  21. Hello all,

    I am a naive Yoga teacher, just started teaching a month back. I am so glad that I stumbled upon this website. The resources and the comments are really helpful. That being said, I really would need help/example in understanding as to how I can use one of these themes in my classes.

    Thank a ton!
    John

  22. John, pick a specific theme that interests you & I will try to address your question.

  23. Thank you Joy! Hope it helps.

  24. I recommend the book “Nourishing the Teacher” – It has given me good ideas for classes 🙂

  25. So insightful and beautifully compiled! Thank you for the inspiration. 🙂

  26. Such a wonderful resource, thank you so much!

  27. Thank you for all of the inspiration. I’m a new (older) teacher and want my own practice, that I share with my students, to come from the heart. Good ideas here for organizing a class.

  28. Really great list!!! Tonight I will do Miracles and Awe inspired by Easter’s transformative power of human suffering

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