Understanding class themes
Updated: Mar 9
You may (or maybe not) be aware that Body and Soul classes follow a monthly theme. This applies to all my classes but it's especially noticeable on Sunday mornings for the signature "Stretch and Flow" session. I usually announce the theme at the beginning of the month and remind students from time to time after that.
During savasana/corpse pose I offer an affirmation (positive statement) connected to the theme and I close the class with a relevant quotation and task for the coming week. Both are available with that week's recording on the Pass Holders' page of the website.
So what's the point of themes and how does it affect your yoga experience? Well, of course, not all teachers use themes and there's no reason why they have to! It really depends on the style of yoga they teach and how they want to focus the class. As a Dru teacher, themes help me to explore the koshas (subtle bodies) which is a vital element of the Dru style.
How do I choose themes? I use the moon cycles and seasons. For example, last week I talked about the new February moon (known as the Storm Moon). I expla
ined that pre/early spring is a time of growth with lots going on under the earth and buds just starting to appear. It can be a difficult period, waiting for the better weather and going through chaos and change before the warmer weeks to come. The start of a new cycle gives us an opportunity to revisit any "new year resolutions" we may have made (and possibly broken!). We can learn from past mistakes and try again in a different way or perhaps, if we are moving forwards successfully, we can build on what we've already achieved. Life, as we all know, tends to be a series of forward and backward steps rather than a continual journey forward!
I use Lia Leendertz's Almanac for the moon cycles and seasonal information. For the main theme I use Jess Sharp's Every Day Matters Diary. The January theme was "Gratitude" and February has been all about "Bravery". I also weave important cultural and religious days, celebrations and national events into the theme. Recently we celebrated Valentine's Day with the Seat of Compassion sequence and heart openers. We need bravery to open our heart to love and offer compassion to others but by doing so we reap benefits and create a better world.
I invite students to explore the koshas as I remind them of the various benefits and sensations they may be experiencing. This is done on a subtle level so you may not even be aware this is what I am doing. For new students focusing on the physical body (annamaya kosha) is more than enough but gradually they will start to notice their breathing (pranamaya), mental images through visualisations and affirmations (manomaya) and eventually may even become aware of the deepest layers of their being: Vijnanamaya, closest to the self and Anandamaya Kosha, at the very c
entre. Anandamaya represents the soul or self. This is the blissful sheath and the place where you will find yourself and true peace. Working towards that place is our journey and Dru yoga is an amazing tool to explore the koshas.
Use the themes in your class practice, throughout the week in your own practice (and in different ways through the zoom sessions or recordings if you can't come to the live classes). Ideally you will start to incorporate the themes into everything you do. The weekly task will help you with this.
Each week's task is available in the Passholders' area of the website together with the Sunday RAFA class recording (Stretch and Flow).