How to teach yoga in a group by using 8 step method

November 21, 2018


Written by Yadla Vishwa Sree

Teaching Techniques of Āsanas Through Eight-Stepped Method.

Start the session with the prayer

सहनाववतु | 

सहनो भुनक्तु | 

सहवीर्यं करवाव है | 

तेजस्विनावधीतमस्तु |

मा विद्धिषाव है ||

शान्ति: शान्ति: शान्ति: 

Sahanaavavatu shanau bhunaktu, sahaviryamkaravaavahai tejasvinaavadhitamastu Ma vidvisavahai

Om shanti shanti shanti

“May he protect us both. May he nourish us both. May we both work together with great energy. May our study be enlightening and fruitful. May we never hate each other.

Om Peace Peace Peace.”

Step I

  1. Name of the Asana which is being taught. It should be given in English, Sanskrit and the local language.
  2. Meaning of the Āsana. e.g. Tadasana, ‘tada’ in Sanskrit is palm tree.
  3. Justification: Final position will be like that of a palm tree.
  4. Category: Whether the Āsana is cultural, meditative or relaxing posture.
  5. Complementary for the Āsana.
  6. Type of the Āsana: whether the Āsana is Prone, Supine, Standing or Sitting.
  7. Counts: 4 or 8

Step II


First tell about ‘Sthiti’ (initial posture) and Shithila (relaxing posture).

  1. Sthiti: Tadasana Relaxation: Shithila Tadasana – legs apart, hands hanging Loosely (For Standing Asanas)
  2. Sthiti: Dandasana Relaxation: Shithila Dandasana (For Sitting Asanas)
  3. Sthiti: Lying on stomach with hands stretched above your head and legs together. Relaxation: Makarasana (For Prone Asanas)
  4. Sthiti: Lying on your back with hands stretched above your head and legs together.

Relaxation: Shavasna (For Supine Asanas).

Breathing is normal for all sthiti positions.

  • Silent Demonstration.
  • Demonstration with counts.
  • Demonstration with counts, breathing and explanation.

Step III

Limitations and Benefits of the Asana.

  1. a) Teacher must emphasize on Limitations and ensure that a person does not perform a posture contra-indicated to him or her.
  2. b) Benefits (Physical, Therapeutic and Spiritual) to be told to the students.

Step IV

Individual practice: The class will follow the instructor and the demonstration and practice of the Asana. Correction can be done by the instructors.

Step V

Practice in pair: Class will be divided into two groups A & B. When ‘A’ group is performing, ‘B’ group will be watching; make corrections if necessary and vice versa. The teacher and the demonstrator can also make corrections.

Step VI

Key points: Demonstrator again performs the Asana according to the instructions from the teacher, with subtle points (like bending of knees, closing eyes, breathing etc.) involved in the practice and proper explanation at every stage.

Step VII

Whole group practice

  1. a) Teacher instructs, while all the students will perform.
  2. b) Teacher must emphasize on synchronization of body, mind and on stretching position and compression position.


Questions and Answers session with closing prayer.

The teacher will clarify the queries of the student if any.

Closing prayer saluting Patañjali:

योगेन चितस्य पदेन वाचां मलं शरीरस्य च वैद्यकेन |

योपाकरोत्तं प्रवरं मुनीनां पतज़ञजलिं प्राञजलिरानतोस्मि ||

Yogena chittasya padena Vaachaam malam Sharirasya cha vaidyakena

Yo paakarottam pravaram muninaam Patanjalim Praanjaliranatosmi||

Meaning: We salute the sage Patanjali, who has given Yoga for healthy mind and body, medicine for physical ailments, grammar for the speech.


Sthiti (initial) and Shitila (relaxation) postures for all shitilikarana Vyayama and Yogasana.

Sthiti: Initial standing posture – Tadasana

  1. Stand erect with feet close together.
  2. Place the hands along the thighs with fingers stretched out.
  3. The legs, trunk and the head are aligned in a straight line.
  4. Close the eyes and observe the balance.

Śithila Tadasana – Standing Relaxation Posture

  1. Stand erect with legs about six to twelve inches apart, hands hanging freely by the side of the body with the shoulders collapsed.
  2. Make sure that the body is completely relaxed.
  3. Gently close the eyes.

Śthiti Initial Sitting Posture – Dandasana

  1. Sit with both legs stretched with heels together.
  2. Place the palms on the floor by the side of the buttocks.
  3. Keep the spine, neck and head erect.
  4. Close the eyes.

Śithila Dandasana – Sitting Relaxation Posture

  1. Sit with legs stretched apart and relax.
  2. Slightly incline the trunk backwards, supporting the body by placing the hands behind.
  3. Fingers point backwards.
  4. Let the head hang freely behind or rest on either side of the shoulder.
  5. Gently close the eyes.

Sthiti Initial Prone Posture

  1. Lie down on the abdomen with legs together toes pointing outwards, the soles of the feet facing up and chin touching the ground.
  2. Stretch the hands straight above the head, biceps touching the ears and palms resting on the ground.
  3. Close the eyes.

Prone Relaxation Posture – Makarasana

  1. Lie down on the abdomen with feet wide apart, heels touching the ground and facing each other.
  2. Bend both the elbows and place the right palm on the left shoulder and the left palm on the right shoulder.
  3. Rest the chin at the point where the forearms cross each other.
  4. Gently close the eyes.

Initial Supine Posture

  1. Lie down on the back with legs together.
  2. Stretch the hands straight above the head, biceps touching the ears and the palms facing the ceiling.
  3. Close the eyes.

Supine Relaxation Posture – Shavasana

  1. Lie supine on the ground with hands and feet apart.
  2. Slightly stretch the body and allow the whole body to relax completely with eyes gently closed.
  3. Become aware of different parts of the body starting from toes to head. Feel the spread of relaxation in all parts of the body progressively.
  4. With regular long practice, the relaxation will become deeper, natural and spontaneous. Then the whole body is relaxed to the extent that one forgets the whole body. The mind experiences alert full rest.