How to Slay at Theming

There you are at the front of the room and you really have no idea what to say. Sound familiar?

 It actually happens to all of us, even the best yoga teachers can draw a blank at times. The only way to prevent it, is to prepare for it.

There may be more flexible yogis, or younger yogis, or stronger yogis, but there will never be a more prepared teacher if you do the work.

 Theme Weaver can help.

 The original book, Theme Weaver: Connect the Power of Inspiration to Teaching Yoga ($18.95) is a step by step guide to how to find your original, authentic themes. It gives helpful advice on how to save time when creating classes. It offers about a dozen themes as examples of the Other Eight Limb Path formula.

 The new book is a collection of themes. Theme Weaver: A Companion Workbook to Plan Yoga Classes ( $21.95) offers a brief description of the simple formula we use to make classes. Then it offers 60 bright and fresh yoga themes on mythology, philosophy, and modern-day topics. It has blank formula pages you can use to make your own unique themes, and perforation so you can rip everything out and create a theme binder.


Should I buy the original Theme Weaver or the new one?

If you are brand new to teaching, then buy the original. It gives you more information on the process from your YTT to your first class and how to discover what you want to teach.

 How is the new Theme Weaver different?

It has 60 completed themes, whereas the original TW offers a few themes and more information about the process and the formula.

 I don’t know what to teach with the theme.

Choosing poses is part of the creative expression of a class. The new Theme Weaver offers suggestions, like using an inversion with a class about fearlessness. But this is really the unique part of teaching and time and experience will help.

How do I sequence a class?

There are many wonderful books and guides about sequencing for safety, for strength or for flexibility. Theme Weaver doesn’t cover this topic in depth.

What is an HOV?

Gosh I hear this so often. HOV stands for Human Operating Value. It could be a virtue, such as fearlessness or compassion. It could be something we are trying to cultivate, like curiosity. If you create a theme without any thought to what is the underlying message, it will sound trite. So, I offer this concept to help explain how to make inspiration more meaningful to students.

For example, a theme about Ganesha being a roly poly deity is cute. But talking about him to emphasize that we all have to learn to feel good about ourselves even if we are rounder, then it becomes a theme about self-acceptance. Self-Acceptance is the HOV, and Ganesha is the Theme.

Do I have to have an HOV?

Heavens no. You don’t even have to theme. Yoga is wonderful with just breath and movement. Be yourself, have fun, and your students will enjoy it. But Theme Weaver is there for you when you want to take the next step in being an inspiration.


Michelle Marchildon is The Yogi Muse. She’s an award-winning journalist and the author of the Theme Weaver series of yoga books. She is also the co-author of “Fearless After Fifty: How to Thrive with Grace, Grit and Yoga.” Her first book, Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga, shows how to laugh through the tears to enlightenment. She’s a long-time professional writer and her Blog is a must-read for the industry. You can find her in Yoga International, Yoga Journal, Mantra Yoga and Health Magazine and Sports Illustrated.