On the agenda today: how to structure your workshop and build around your subject matter.

Join us as we dig into the nitty gritty of running a fantastic yoga workshop.  If you missed our last post on how to promote your workshop, click here!  

Structure of Workshops

As teachers, it’s important for us to convey lessons that help our students in their lives.  What we teach also needs to be a tool or skill that we incorporate into our own lives—this makes the teaching authentic.

When you prepare your workshops, consider structure and time frame.  People have short attention spans and need breaks.  Present new concepts, then give students time for experience and practice.  This allows for students to take the skill home and use it on their own.

But what is the most effective way to create an experience that will allow for an independent, usable skill?  Our goal is for students to walk away with a learning, and to be able to apply it to the real-world experience.

Aim for one understanding within each workshop.  Bring together the teaching—or Dharma—with the physical experience.  Make the message clear and repeatable.  For example: discuss meditation and its benefits, and how that can impact your life.  Then, let the asana practice be a representation of moving through life.  Encourage your students to maintain the stillness of meditation within the asana—similar to maintaining stillness in daily life.

For a 3 hour workshop:

  • 1/3 is dedicated to the lesson
  • 2/3 is dedicated to the practice

The first 1/3 of the workshop should center around the lesson, the Dharma.  This is the teaching of yoga or concept that students can apply to their everyday lives.  The second 2/3 of the workshop should be devoted to experiential learning.  This portion is where teachers can explain how to incorporate the lesson into everyday life through practice.  Philosophy in the first 1/3 of the workshop is linked with physical experience in the second 2/3 of the workshop.

Asana-Centered workshops

  • Pranayama
  • Asana
  • Meditation

1/3 of an asana-centered workshop is the setup—prepare students for what they will experience, and provide a little background and dharma teaching.  “We will learn [this] and [this] is why and how it can help you in your life.”

Asana workshops can easily be done in a 2 hour session instead of a 3 hour session, but with the same 1/3 and 2/3 breakdown: discussion leading to the typical asana class, with threaded cueing related to the discussion.  Sometimes 2 hour workshops sell even easier and faster than 3 hour workshops, as they are less of a time and financial commitment.

What are your ideas for a workshop centered around asana, and how might you structure it?  For some brainstorming help, we love Mark Stephen’s list of workshop topics!