Backbending (themed class) Lesson Plan

75 minutes approximately


Sit, eyes closed, in butterfly, chest forward.

  • Anahata chakra is located in your thoracic spine and translates to unstruck. This can mean that beneath our personal experiences of pain in our heart lies love and compassion.
  • In today’s class we are going to be backbending. Backbending requires a great deal of faith in yourself: that you will stay up, pressing your heart forward and if you enter the pose from standing that you will catch yourself. In anahata you follow your heart. In backbending you push your heart forward. Backbends require trust and surrender to open the heart fully and it is important to remove fear to allow space for love and joy. In our last class, we spoke about devotion – bhakti. It is through devotion that anahata can be awakened, today fully devote yourself to your practice, to opening your heart. 
  • With the symbol of air, Anahata energises and thus pranayama helps balance this chakra. While you’re sitting here, I want you to listen for your heart beat and draw your attention to this chakra. Breathing deeply through both nostrils feel your heart beat and focus on this area.

Sit cross legged (3 mins)

  • laterally flex back to right then left
  • circle through body bringing chest forward and then back, clockwise then anticlockwise
  • holding knees with hands push backwards, and then forwards stretching through the spine.


  • Suryanamaskara A x 5 (3 mins)
  • Suryanamaskara B backbending variation x 5 (5 mins)
  • Warrior 1 – warrior 2 – sun warrior – vinyasa x 2 (right and left)  (5 mins)
  • Warrior 1 – warrior 2 – parsvakonasana – parivritta parsvakonasana – vinyasa x 2 (right and left) (5 mins)
  • Warrior 1 – warrior 3 – tree – eagle – warrior 1 – vinyasa x 2 (right and left) (7 mins)
  • Warrior 1 – warrior 3 – ardha chandrasana – ardha baddha padmottonasana – warrior 1 – vinyasa x 2 (right and left) (7 mins)
  • From downward dog – 3 legged dog – pigeon pose (push chest up, then lie over leg), lift back foot to stretch through quad, holding toe rotate arm over head, If possible grab both toes – come back to downward dog x 2 (right and left) (5 mins)

Jump through to seated

  • Navasana (5 breaths, 5 times) – vinyasa (2 mins)
  • Supta vajrasana (15 breaths)
  • Naukasana – vinyasa (5 breaths, 5 times) (2 mins)
  • Supta virasana (15 breaths)
  • Cow face pose one arm, then other (2 mins)
  • Back bending (on the wall) (10 minutes)
    • Try full wheel once on the floor to get the feeling.
    • Stand against the wall, 2 feet away – put hands on wall and push chest out
    • Stand 4 feet away from the wall, hands to prayer up and push chest forward, reach hands back to the wall, come up
    • Stand 4 feet away from the wall, hands to prayer, push chest forward, reach hands back to the wall, walk hands down to the wall. Rest then walk hands back up.
    • If feeling ok stand on mat hands in prayer – teacher hold student’s hips – student exhale lift hands in prayer over head, push hips forward, head back, when spot ground reach for it. Teacher hold hips until hands on the ground – hold 5 breaths. Exhale rock backward and forward into palms and knees, inhale on a rock forward to feet stand up.
    • If student is ok – try by self with teacher spotting.
  • Pashimottonasana (2 mins)
  • Butterfly pose (1 min)
  • Headstand (3 mins)
  • Child’s pose (10 breaths)

Savasana (5 mins)

Oms and conclude (2 mins)

Lesson plan: focus class – Hips

This lesson plan is for advanced beginners and intermediate students and focuses on stretching and strengthening the hips area.
 Intro (5’)

  • Introduce yourself
  • Inquire about the students’ health and body conditions
  • Remind students of the importance of breathing (Ujjayi)
  • Few rounds of deep breathing to ground and center themselves

 Warm up (10’)

  • General body warm up, with specific attention to hips (flexion, abduction, rotation…)
  • Surya Namaskara (Hatha style) *4

 Standing: (15’)

  • Utthita Trikonasana (on the wall, flex knee  down and up 5 times, then hold for 3 breaths on last round)- alternance between Utthita Trikonasana and Virabhadrasana 2 stances
  • Virabhadrasana 1 (flex knee  down and up 5 times, then hold for 3 breaths on last round))
  • Prasarita Padottasana A

 Sitting: (20’)  -sit on block if needed

  • Paschimottasana A (separate leg in needed), Purvottasana as counterpose
  • Baddha Konasana (butterfly mod 1st, then A)
  • Frog
  • Upavistha Konasana (open, one leg at a time if need be)
  • Table top (3 times)
  • Camel + Child’s pose
  • Half pigeon (time permitting)

 Cool down: (10’)

  • Happy baby
  • Gentle twist from the floor (lumbar release)
  • Savasana

Themed Class building up to Purvattanasana (East Anterior Stretch Pose) – 1 hour

  • Intro: Hi everyone. My name is Jeremy and I am going to be your Yoga guide for the next 1 hour or so. This is a beginner’s yoga class and today we are going to learn some basics of yoga poses and breathing to gain an understanding of why we do Yoga.  Before we begin, I would also like to caution anyone with any medical conditions and to let me know how they are going with this.
  • Mantra:  Explain OM = A + U + M as the original sounds after creation and how they reverberate in and benefit the body when practice with awareness – Do  OM x 10
  • Breathing: Explain Yoga health benefits of Ujjaya breathing –i.e.  reduce heart rate increase stroke volume – Do Ujjaya 10 x
  • Warm Up slowly top to toe
  • Surya Namaska A x 3
  • Surya Namaska B x 3
  • Padangusthasana (Standing Forward Bend with Bound Toes)
  • Padahastasana (Standing Forward Bend with Palms Under Feet)
  • Prasarita Padottanasana C (Spread Legs Intense Stretch Pose)
  • Naukasana (Superman pose)
  • Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)
  •  Dolphin Pose
  • Dhanurasana (Bow pose)
  • Uttana Padasana (Extended Stretch Foot Pose)
  • Purvattanasana (East Anterior Stretch Pose)

Since the above exercises are focused on the back, may need to intersperse each asana with child pose and/or sun salutation to pick up the energy – depending on students level at the time

  • Finish Halasana
  • Pranayama Uyaji 25 times
  • OM 3 x
  • Savasana

Lesson Plan- Advanced Yoga Class (by Adeline Choo)

Advanced Yoga Class (1.5 hour)
10 mins Warm-Up (10 mins)
20 mins 14 rounds of Sun Salutations with Different/ Modified Asanas for each set (2x each set)
> Virabadhrasana I, II
> Reverse Warrior
> Parivrita Parshvakonasana with hands in prayer and extended
> Side Planks
> Virabadhrasana III
> Revolved Half Moon
20 mins Standing/ Balancing Asanas
> Tree Pose (option with closed eyes)
> Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana
> Dancer’s Pose
> Prasarita Padottanasana D, A –> modified with transition into tripod headstand
> Eagle Pose
20 mins Sitting/ Arm Balancing Asanas/ Abs
> Bakasana
> Side crow
> Baddha Konasana
> Working the obliques: Lying down, raise both legs straight 90 degrees and drop slowly (diagonally) with control towards hands (left/ right) –> repeat 8 times
10 mins Finishing
 Shoulder Stand (hold 1 min)
 Drop feet back behind head into halasana (hold 10 breaths)
 Roll back onto mat slowly and go into Matsyasana
 Urdhva Dhanurasana (3 x)  option to lift 1 left up straight then other leg; 1 leg at a time
 Release and back to mat; hug knees and roll sideways and backwards-forwards, then drop bent knees to either side (3x each side) and hold for 10 breaths each time
 Paschimattanasana (10 breaths)
10 mins Savasana & relaxation

Lesson Plan #1: Beginner (1.5 hours)

Lesson Plan #1 (1.5 hour) – Beginner
Class Size: max. 10 students
 stretch hamstrings and spine, open hips, tone thighs and glutes, tone abs, lymphatic drainage
 asanas with emphasis on correct alignment
Padangusthasana, Pada Hastasana, Virabhadrasana I & II
Paschimottanasana, Navasana, Baddha Konasana (bound angle)
Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand), halasana, matsyasana, bridge
6 min Introductions + Enquiries of any medical conditions of the class
12 min
Breathing, stretching, rotations, twistings Warm Up :
Standing: Breathing – Deep Inhalation & Exhalation (10 breaths)
 Rotate head slowly (clockwise and anti-clockwise)
 Circle arms (clockwise, anti-clockwise, alternate rotations of each arm in different directions)
 Rotate hip, hip flexors, wrists
 Side twists (x10)
 Side Bending (x10)
12 min
Getting into Padangusthasana
+ Pada Hastasana > Stand straight and tall in tadasana, feet slightly apart.
> Keep spine straight and long, bend forward at the hips at 90° with hands outstretched to the front (tuck tummy in), hold for 5 breaths. Repeat 5 times, each time stretch further towards toes using breath (reach further with each exhalation) to help.
> Repeat another 5 times with first 3 fingers trying to grab the big toes. For those who can’t reach, continue to stretch as much as possible using breath to help.
> Remind students to keep spine straight, bend from the hips and tuck tummy in.
> For those who can reach their toes, pull chin closer to shin, bending elbows.
> Then head-up, raise torso to hip level, then put palms (facing up) underneath feet and fold forward again. Hold for 5 breaths. Release and repeat.
10 min
I & II
> Come to front in samasthiti, step right leg back into lunge (Virabhadrasana I) with arms raised upwards. Hold for 5 breadths and change to other side.
> Then switch to Virabhadrasana II. Hold for 5 breaths and change to other side.
5 min
Dandasana > Stand straight and tall in Tadasana, feet slightly apart. Breath for 5 long and deep breaths.
> Then sit down in dandasana with straight and long spine, legs stretched out in front. Hold for 5 breaths.
5 min
Navasana > Keeping spine straight, lift both legs straight up to 45°, leaning back to 45° at the same time. Hold for 5 breaths. Repeat 6 times.
5 min
Leg raises in supine position (45° / 90°)
> Lie flat on back, lift both legs straight up to 45°, hold for 5 breaths. Option: may bend legs if cannot keep straight. Keep lower back flat on ground.
> Raise straight legs up to 90° and hold for 10 breaths (keep lower back flat on the ground). Option: may bend legs slightly.
20 min
Salamba sarvangasana
Fish Pose (matsyasana)
Side twist with knees bent > Lift both legs straight up towards head (and upwards towards ceiling) using both hands to support at the upper back.
> Rest weight on shoulders, squeeze should blades together and move elbows closer towards each other. Hold for 15 breaths.
> Keep hips in line with shoulder and keep both legs directly straight up. Option: hips may be further away from hip using both hands to support if unable to lift to align with shoulders.
> Then bring legs over head into Halasana. Support back if legs cannot touch the floor behind.
> Release and come into matsyasana (10 breaths)
> Move into bridge. Hold for 10 breaths. Repeat 3 times.
Side twist with knees bent (release tension in the back):
 Still lying on flat back, hands outstretched on each side, bend knees 90° and drop to one side, both shoulders on the ground, gaze towards other side. Hold for 10 breaths.
 Repeat with knees dropped to other side and gaze at opposite side of knees. Hold for 10 breaths.
10 min Savasana (Relax)
5 min > ‘Awaken’ and sit in comfortable cross-legged position.
> Put palm together and bow “Namaste’.
> Ask if there are any questions and clarifications. Encourage students to come forward to ask questions.

Lesson Plan – Building Up to Trikonasana

Introduction (3 min)
The following lesson plan focuses on building flexibility and strength in the core to hold and position the body properly in Trikonasana, open up the hips so that the toes and kneecaps can be pointed in the correct directions, as well as increase flexibility in the back of legs and strengthen the quads so that back leg can be used actively to support weight distribution.
Ohm and Pranayama (12 min)

  • Ohm x10
  • Ujjayi – 5 min
  • Bhramari – 5 min

Warm-up (5 min)
Asana (30 min)
Suryanamaskara A x5
Suryanamaskara B x5
Navasana (Boat Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Santolasana (Plank)

Vasisthasana (Side Plank)

Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose)

Tiryaka Tadasana (Side Bending Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Leg Forward Bend)

Parsvotanasana (Intense Stretch to the Side Pose)

Ukatasana (Chair Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parvaritta Utthita Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Closing sequence
Closing (10 Min)

  • Kapala Bathi
  • Savasana
Thanks to the Fat Girl for doing the poses.