How to Set Up a 1-Hour Yoga Class

How to Set Up a 1-Hour Yoga Class

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Whether you are a newly certified yoga teacher or a student looking to develop your yoga practice at home, it's important to learn and understand the underlying structure of a yoga class. To gain the greatest benefit from your practice, sequence poses in a thoughtful order that builds from easy poses to a challenge pose -- also called a peak pose in yoga. A one-hour yoga class will give you enough time to practice several core poses, along with breathing practices and relaxation.

Step 1

Set up the class space in a way that is pleasing to you and soothing for your students. Play music in the background, if desired, that matches the vibe of the class. Set up candles, incense, scarves and sarongs around the room if the class is focused on relaxation.

Step 2

Set your intention for the class, whether you are a student or teacher. Ease your way into class by letting go of the outside world, and turning your attention to your internal world and your yoga practice.

Step 3

Open with an invocation, brief speech or theme for the class. Potential themes can include heart opening, gratitude, love and joy. Or you can tell a story, read a poem or explain what students can expect to experience in class.

Step 4

Practice breathing techniques or meditation for five to 10 minutes. Employ any of the pranayama breathing techniques or sit quietly while breathing deeply.

Step 5

Cycle through five to 10 minutes of Sun Salutations. Some styles of yoga distinguish between several different types of Sun Salutations. Other styles, such as Hatha yoga, practice a basic Sun Salutation that includes Downward-facing Dog, forward bend, Plank pose and Upward-facing Dog.

Step 6

Spend 25 to 30 minutes practicing standing and balancing poses. This will be the bulk of your hour-long yoga practice. Increase the challenge of each standing pose and lead to a challenging peak pose. For example, practice a balancing-pose sequence that includes Tree, Eagle and standing splits, and peaks at a challenging arm-balancing pose, such as the Crane.

Step 7

Transition to the floor for 10 to 15 minutes for deeper stretches and backbends. Some examples of poses to include here are Sphinx, the seated forward bend, the wide-legged forward bend and the seated spinal twist.

Step 8

Finish the one-hour class with five to 10 minutes in savasana, lying on the yoga mat with your eyes closed.


  • Write down a teaching plan before class starts. That way you can refer to the sheet of paper in the middle of class if you forget which pose comes next. If you are teaching the class, keep the paper next to your mat and consult it often.
  • Maintain a good working knowledge of the contraindications and appropriate counterposes for each asana and work them into your class structure. Yoga Journal's website and B.K.S. Iyengar's "Light on Yoga" are two resources for learning alignments, contraindications and counterposes.


  1. Samull

    I protest against it.

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