Lesson plan: first class for absolute beginners, 1 hour



1.    Introduction (a few words to introduce each other); 5 minutes

2.   Breathing exercises, to assess breathing patterns of participants and ‘tune’ them into yoga atmosphere; 5 minutes
Good opportunity to observe students, how they seat, how they breath; to observe their facial expressions and gain hints about their personalities;
Ask about possible medical conditions.
Teacher can ask to seat down, in any comfortable position (lotus, half lotus or on knees); ask to concentrate on their own breathing, bringing them into deeper and slower breathing and suggest to listen to the sound and rhythm of their own breathing.
Alternatively teacher can ask to breath in standing position (by bringing the students slowly into Tadasana)

3.    warm up, concentrating on
–       joints (half rotation of head, left to right- right to left; rotation of shoulders 5 x front to back+5 x wrists back to front; make figure 8 with hips, 3 x clockwise, 3 x anti clock wise; standing on one foot and using the wall if balance is not good enough, rotation of bent leg, focusing on hip opening, 5 x clockwise 5 x anti clock wise; repeat with other leg/hip; same exercise with knees and ankles
–       back: cow pose or cat pose
–       deltoids: half prayer pose: the student seats on his/her knees and join hands on his/her back as much as possible
–       ribcage: use a strap and go into a sort of Trikonasana pose
–       hips: malasana
It is important to explain each step of the warming up and the whys; special stress on the important of warming up joints as theses are the most common place for injuries. Max duration 10 minutes

 4.  Surya namaskara ashtanga: duration max 30 minutes
 For the first round teacher shows the pose and explain step by step how to get into it; after that, students join the teacher and a slow pace, teacher observes the students and eventually adjust the poses; once the flow is clear to everyone, teacher invites to repeat the sequence for 3 times
It is important for the teacher to inform the student the he/she is going to touch him/her in order to adjust the pose; the student will not feel surprised or scared or eventually intruded upon.
The touch should be firm and determined; the student should be able to ‘feel the differnece’ in his/her body adjustment

5.    Option: if the class is going with a good pace and time is allowing it, teacher can add a couple of seated poses; for example:
–       Paschimattanasa A
–       Janu Shirshasana A
The transition from standing position to seated pose could be reached with a repetition of Malasana (already done in the warming up section).
If seated full bent poses are added, teacher must counterbalance with back bent, for example:
–       Purvattanasana for beginners (table top pose, legs are bent and not fully stretched)
–       Camel pose for beginners (toes are tucked into the floor, so that there is less gap between the hands and the feet by reaching down)

 6.    Resting:  Shawasana : 5 minutes
 Teacher can guide the relaxation using a soft and calm voice, with lulling tone, so that students can focus on each part of their body, starting from feet and ankles and moving up to head. Images of water, or sand or colours could be used.

7.      closing: 5 minutes
 Teacher invites students to seat in a comfortable position (either half lotus, or simply crossed legs, or seat on the knees) and explains about ujjayi breathing (what the words means ; how to reach it by putting a hand on the throat and constricting slightly the ‘pipe’, obtaining a sound which can vary and can sound like the ‘snoring’ sound.
Students practice it with teacher together, closed eyes, for at least 5 times, then they h back to their normal deep breathing.
Teacher and students end the session by vocalizing on ‘ohm’ for 3 times before opening the eyes.
The teacher thanks students for their participation and asks about how they feel, after 1 hour practice.