Rituals in Teaching Yoga

Original Date: | May 5, 2016

Rituals create and hold the space for yoga class. They provide a grounding framework that students feel comfortable and familiar with. Once a ritual is set, it opens the pattern in the brain that prepares you for practice and the work to come ahead. It will also help you as the teacher in preparing and feeling comfortable to teach the class. Create and play with designing your own unique class teaching ritual.


I like to start with a greeting, checking in, then closing eyes and turning inside, focus on the breath, and then add any theme or inspiration for the class. We chant om, and then begin our asana warm up. My sequence routine is also a ritual.

After my sequence, I have a closing ritual as well. I offer a “yogi’s choice” one opportunity for student’s to finish their class with a pose or movement that feels right to them. This encourages self empowerment, self trust, and self awareness, all tools that are important in my teaching. Then we come to our relaxation. I always come around with lavender oil at their necks and head (always offering those who prefer not receive this to let me know), as well as eye pillows and/or sandbags. Then I gently ring a bell to wake them, guide them to sit up, and maybe read a poem or inspiring words, or chant a mantra. Then we close with om. The closing ritual can be as important as the opening ritual, to set them back into their day.

Decide on how sensory perceptions will assist you in setting the mood and establishing a ritual for your classes

Use of lights, candles, music, sounds-bells, scents , etc… everything should be chosen specifically to set a specific mood.

Setting intentions/themes, how do you introduce them? When? are their eyes open or closed?
How do you open class? with mantra, “om” ?
Special Svanasana treatment?  Silence or sound-your choice.
How do you close?  Om?  sound?  Mantra?  Bells? What do you say?  Quotes?

As you ponder these questions, let them help you to create a form and rhythm to your teaching. The more of a routine you create, the easier it will be for yourself to offer the teachings and your students to absorb them.