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7 Tips On Opening A Yoga Class Effectively (with Example Scripts)

how to open a yoga class

So you’re wondering how to start a yoga class? We’re here to teach you how to ease into your class by creating the perfect mind space and atmosphere. 

Below, we’ve shared our top tips on how to start a yoga class as a teacher. We’ve also provided you with some scripts to help get the ball rolling. 

Before we get straight to it, if you want to advance or begin your yoga career, why not enquire about yoga teacher training? Alternatively, find plenty of other fitness courses in our downloadable course prospectus here.

#1 Arrive at Your Yoga Class Ahead of Schedule

how to start a yoga class

One of the most important ways to start a yoga class is to arrive around 30 minutes to an hour early. 

This will give you a chance to ensure the space is prepared for you and your yogis, and also shows a level of professionalism and care for your clients.

Plus, you should keep in mind that class members may show up early and they’re going to expect you to be there. If somebody is joining your class for the very first time, they’ll probably want to inform you beforehand or ask any questions before they delve into the practice.

This depends on where you work. If you have your own studio, you can choose when you prepare the space for your practice, and could even do it the night before a morning class. 

Meanwhile if you rent somewhere and want to set up your own equipment then you ought to get there early.

You should avoid setting up while your clients are entering the studio, you want them to enter a space of tranquillity and quietness so that you’re setting the tone for the session immediately. 

how to start a yoga class holistically

Depending on the styles of yoga that you’re teaching, you may want your yogis to walk into a certain sound or scent to really set the tone.

For example, Yin yoga will often begin with a sound bath, which you’ll definitely want to have all prepared prior to class members arriving.

Outside of being able to physically prepare by arriving early, getting to the studio with time to spare also gives you the chance to prepare yourself by meditating before the class arrives.

This also helps you enter the right space and not stumble up to the studio stressed out and running late!

#2 Ways to Start Your Yoga Class Includes Ridding Your Studio of Distractions

how to start a yoga class as a teacher

As we mentioned, arriving early will give the opportunity to get set up, this will also mean you can remove any potential distractions.

Not wanting any distractions in your studio is something you should also communicate to your class.

For example, politely asking for your class members to double check if their phones are either on silent or switched off is a good start. 

Another simple housekeeping rule you can put in place to ensure there are minimal disruptions is to ask members to keep their belongings at the back of the class (or in lockers if you provide them). 

poses to start a yoga class

This will leave a clear uncluttered space and help you to move around the class easily, allowing you to make any adjustments if need be.

Try to keep your studio as minimal as possible, we will talk about the studio interior next but it makes all the difference in terms of equipment. Things like yoga straps, blocks, pillows or anything else that you provide for your clients should be organised.

In other words, ask your class if they could get their equipment prepared prior to the class beginning. This removes the potential distraction of people getting up and down and disrupting the flow. 

All of these small commitments make a huge difference in terms of the energy of your class.

#3 Creating a Peaceful Atmosphere is Among the Most Important Ways to Start a Yoga Class

what to say at the start of a yoga class

As we mentioned, it is incredibly important to have a space that is suited to your practice. Thus, your yoga studio business plan must indicate the interior aesthetics of your studio as this is hugely important to the success or failure of your classes.

You can do this by using minimalist designs. For example, opt for a warm tone on the walls like an off-white colour or a warm beige. This helps to emulate a calming space without it looking clinical with a bright white.

You’ll notice that many yoga studios may all have varied openings and you should try to do the same by using one of the unique ways to start a yoga class, perhaps a sound bowl ceremony or an opening meditation for yoga class

Sound bowls are often used to stimulate stress relief, thus, it is a unique and purposeful way to start your class. It sets the tone and atmosphere for the practice ahead and even educates the class.

Something else that yoga studios do to ensure that they’re creating a calming and peaceful atmosphere is limiting the amount of people who can join the class. A yoga studio in London boasts this promise:

how to begin a yoga class

Of course the size of your studio matters when it comes to letting students in, but you should have a limit on a comfortable amount. This way, there isn’t an overwhelming atmosphere for new comers and you’re not being distracted by any late comers. 

You may even want to burn some sage (smudging) in the studio before class, this is known to be a healing herb and is used to cleanse the space and energy. 

All of these small factors add up to the efforts of creating a peaceful atmosphere ready for students to begin their practice.

#4 Plan Your Opening Asanas

how to start a yoga class with meditation

When learning how to start a yoga class, you should consider everything from prior to the class begins, to when it commences.

The beginning should include relaxing asanas that are heavily focused on preparing the body for the remainder of the session. Your opening depends on the style of yoga which you’re doing as they differ greatly in terms of what is asked of the body and you may need to focus stretching in different areas.

Hatha yoga is widely practised and is the ‘standard’ for the likes of gyms and so, these are the best poses to start a yoga class with:

Begin with Standing Poses

  • Warrior pose
  • Gate pose
  • Tree pose

Follow with Seated Poses

  • Cat-cow pose
  • Downward facing dog pose
  • Crane pose

Then with Floor Poses

  • Cobra pose
  • Sphinx pose
  • Corpse pose

You can choose from these poses as to what suits your sessions best but take into consideration that it is a popular approach to go for in terms of the order of standing poses, to seated and to floor.

#5 Greet Every Class Member

unique ways to start a yoga class

Though this may seem obvious, you should be taking extra care in greeting every person who enters the class ensuring they feel welcome. 

This goes hand in hand with limiting your capacity, which we mentioned in an earlier tip. Doing this ensures that you can take care in not leaving anybody out, after all you want them to come back to the next session!

This is important in a yoga class as one of the key principles of yoga practice is gratitude.

By making your clients feel welcome, you are creating a safe space. Plus, this is definitely how to start yoga class for beginners specifically as they may feel nervous entering, you greeting them and welcoming them is hugely beneficial to making them comfortable.

You could do this by standing by the door and greeting everyone one by one. It also shows you availability to be spoken to and it gives a time bracket where people are able to ask questions like “where is the equipment” or any alike. 

Greeting each client boasts inclusivity, it puts everyone on the same page and ensures that above all, they are comfortable and welcomed. 

You should try your best to get to know your clients, try your best to remember faces and names and it will make it easy to recognise when there is someone new, we will talk some more about that next.

#6 Check if Anybody is New to the Class (Important for Knowing How to Start a Yoga Class for Beginners)

opening yoga class script

One thing to do at the start of any class is to check for any newcomers.

People might be nervous to tell you that it is their first yoga class, it is understandable to feel a little intimidated if other people in the class can do headstands and you can't!

This is why it is so important to not alienate anybody. However, you should avoid making a statement about them too, try to recognise new faces and before class starts, head over to them and ask if they have any questions and if they have done any yoga before.

Make them feel welcome and look out for them during the class. Even if they have been to other yoga classes, it is a whole new experience being in another yogi’s studio so don’t expect them to simply find where equipment goes once class is over or where to find it in the first instance. 

Show them the things they need to know the most like the housekeeping rules we spoke about earlier, where to put their things and their phone etc. 

This is how to start a yoga class off on the right foot, your new class member will feel included and confident in going forward and is much more likely to return for the next session. 

#7 Avoid Walking Aimlessly

yoga class opening script

Finally, during your yoga class opening sequence, you should avoid walking around aimlessly.

This is not only distracting, but it offers no purpose, particularly at the start of the class. This isn’t to say you can’t walk over to a class member that needs help, because this is walking with purpose.

However, walking around the class and weaving in and out of students is going to be a disturbance if it is consistent.

This also works hand in hand with what we mentioned earlier in tip number 2 on how to start a yoga class, it is important to have taken care of all distractions prior to class commencing as this minimises the risk of you having to make adjustments like closing blinds or putting equipment away.

It is also why it is important to have space and limit your class number because then when you do have to walk around for your students sake, perhaps to correct posture, you’re able to do so without interrupting any other students in the class.

If you’re wondering what to say at the start of a yoga class, or what to do, just remember that it is all about setting the tone and atmosphere and if you talk while walking around or at the back of the class aimlessly, you’re probably going to distract your class which is the complete opposite of what you’re trying to achieve!

For some more content on how to become the best yoga teacher you can be, find our articles below:

3 Example Opening Scripts For Your Yoga Classes

opening meditation script for yoga class

Below we have some inspiration to get you started on writing your own opening to a yoga class script.

We have some popular styles that you can take inspiration from and morph into your own style, the bones of the script will often be very similar, so let’s take a look at how to start a yoga class as a teacher for beginners.

Beginners Yoga Class Script Example

opening meditation script for yoga classes

If you want to know how to start a yoga class with meditation, this is an example for you as for beginners, this is a great option. 

It calmes any nerves and doesn’t ask much of the body at all. It simply requires the class to be in the moment, relax and focus on their breathing without any challenging poses. Make sure to remember, everytime you say the name of an asana, make sure you’re doing it yourself for class members to copy.

If this is what you want for your clients, take some inspiration from this example opening meditation script for your yoga class.

“Sitting in an easy pose in the centre of your mat, allow your eyes to close slowly. 

Begin to pay attention to the muscles in your face, relax the eyebrows, unclench the jaw and soften the shoulders.

Rid your body of tension and take a deep breath in through the nose for 5 seconds…1…2…3…4…5 and out of the mouth slowly for 1…2…3…4…5.

We are going to do this again, now bring your awareness to your breathwork and take another breath in through your nose for 5 seconds and start to breathe deeper so you can feel the breath right down in your belly so that when you exhale, your belly expands.

If you want to, you can softly place one hand on your belly to bring closer attention to your breath. Breathe in again for a third time for 5…4…3…2…1 and out, feel your belly movement as the tension releases from the shoulders and the chest.

Focus on relaxing the body as we breathe through our nose for a fourth time, keep the same tempo and try to breathe as deeply as possible so you’re no longer breathing from your chest, but your belly instead.

One more time, 5…4…3…2…1 and out. Now still breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth we are going to roll the shoulders back slowly focusing on alignment for 5…4…3…2…1 and soften the neck as we turn our head no for 4…3…2…1 and yes for 1…2…3…4.

Bring your arms up above your head and allow your palms to meet at the top, slowly bring them down in front of your sternum and rest in a seated Pranamasana.”

Now, you’re ready to enter the main body of your session after relaxing the body and starting off the class with a relaxing meditation setting the tone for the remaining time your class has with you.

Restorative Yoga Script Example

opening script for yoga class

Restorative yoga can often be much more challenging than other styles due to the fact that the asanas are held for longer periods of time than conventional Hatha yoga for example. 

With this in mind, your yoga class opening script must intend on preparing the body for these movements. Below, you can see how you can ease your class into the practice.

“First, we are going to sit on our knees at the end of our mat and take a deep breath for 5…4…3…2…1 and out slowly. 

Roll the shoulders back for 1…2…3…4 and forward for 4…3…2…1, turn your head to say no for 4…and yes for 4…3…2…1. 

Now we are going to enter a child pose. knees can be spread wide and extend the arms out infront up to where is comfortably and allow your forehead to gently rest on the mat.

You may need to shuffle your legs out wider or closer together whatever feels comfortable for you. Once you’re comfortable in your child pose, we’re going to focus on our breath by inhaling for 1…2…3…4…5 and out for 5…4…3…2…1.

We are going to stay here, bring your awareness to your breath and relax any tense muscles where you’re holding any stressful energy, allowing it to release through your exhalations.

Staying in our child's pose, slowly move towards the left, feeling the stretch through the side while continuing to breathe, remember to focus on your breath and relax into the pose and we’re going to stay here for two breaths. Remember to stay at the pace that is comfortable for you.

We’re now going to move onto the right hand side and repeat for another two breath sequences. 

Come back into the middle and come up into a tabletop pose, as we prepare for a relieving cat-cow sequence.”

Once you have completed the first pose of the restorative practice, in this case the child's pose, your class will understand the lengthiness of the asanas in restorative yoga. You can then ease your class into more challenging poses as the class progresses.

Notice how you don’t immediately start with a thread the needle pose as this could be intimidating as a first step. Instead make sure your class is stretching the muscles necessary and slowly get into the more challenging steps in the main body of the class.

Power Yoga Script Example

opening meditation for yoga class

Power yoga is very demanding and is rather different from the other two scripts and this is because it acts as almost an active workout.

Power yoga is intense and you should make your class aware before they begin that they should go at a pace comfortable for them, let’s look at how to start a yoga class for people looking for a vigorous yoga style!

“We are going to start by getting comfortable with what we have in store, expect to heat the body, sweat and get to work with a more fast paced and demanding form of yoga. If you feel like you need a break, simply take a break and rest on your mat. That is completely fine.

First, let’s sit in the centre of our mat on our knees. Elongate the spine and relax your shoulders. Take a deep breath in and out of the nose, you should feel some pressure, like the action of fogging up a mirror without opening the mouth. 

We are going to continue this for 2 minutes while we focus on our breathing, be in the present and bring your palms together in front of the heart. 

You can take this moment to connect with your thoughts and set any intentions that you may have brought with you to class today.

Now, we are going to bring our left arm over our head, lean to the side and place our right hand on the floor beside us for some stability. Feel the stretch in the side and open it up.

Let's move to the other side and do the same movement. 

Swiftly, let's move straight into a cat-cow pose and up and down for just 1-2 seconds at a time. Stay focused on your deep breaths and move straight into a downward facing dog really thinking about every muscle that you want to stretch out to prepare our bodies. 

If you want to, you can move within this pose and pedal the feet to really get warm and stretched out.”  

You can notice that within this opening script for your yoga class, you can feel the intensity is more apparent, there is more speed and it is less focused on the slow nature that holistic yoga focuses on.

This is how it sets the tone, there isn’t a jump from a relaxing meditation into a fast paced session, you are thrown straight into the intermediate level of power yoga and are prepared for what is to come. 

Before You Go…

We hope that with our help, you’re now confident in how to start a yoga class.

It can be daunting if you’re new to the industry, but practising your scripts and being aware of your intentions for your students is the best way to open a class with purpose and positive energy.

Don’t forget, if you want to expand your repertoire you can enquire about yoga teacher training, available for new comers and for seasoned practitioners who want to further their education. For this and more health and fitness courses, find our downloadable course prospectus here.

 

 

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Written by Kimberley Mitchell

Editor

Having gained a B.A Hons degree in Media, Culture and Communications, Kimberley has gained experience in areas of web journalism, website production and marketing.

Alongside this, Kim expanded her knowledge and passion for fitness, by becoming a fully qualified fitness instructuor and personal trainer. Kim has also gained specialist qualifications in yoga, nutriton, spin and many more.

After working in the industry as a PT, Kimberley went on to study an MA in Digital Marketing and continues to expand her knowledge in the industry. Her main focus is to keep up with current trends and communications with a focus around health & fitness, writing and being creative.

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