Introducing Yoga Philosophy into Your Yoga Asana Classes

How to Introduce Philosophy into your Asana Classes

While your yogis no doubt love your classes already, you may be looking for ways to take things to the next level. One way you can elevate your asana classes is to introduce yoga philosophy. 

If you’ve never used philosophy in your classes before, it can feel a little overwhelming to start. You might worry about the best way to phrase things, whether to use Sanskrit and where to start in the first place.  

But remember, you don’t need to teach everyone everything all at once. By putting that level of pressure on yourself, you could even reach burnout. Instead, let’s take a slow look at layering your classes with yoga philosophy; the benefits, things to consider, and some ideas you can start bringing to your classes.

Tune in to the podcast below or keep reading to learn more.

Benefits of teaching yoga philosophy 

Bringing philosophy into your regular classes isn’t just for the benefit of the yogis themselves. Yoga teachers can also benefit in a few different ways, including:

1. It can take your classes to the next level

Yoga teachers are always aiming to find ways to improve and keep our classes progressing. Yoga philosophy is a great way to elevate your classes and bring even more to your yogis.

You might start out as a flow teacher or an Ashtanga teacher, but as you start to learn more about the body, the nervous system, and philosophy, you can deepen your own understanding. 

By bringing philosophy into your classes, you improve both your own knowledge and understanding of yoga, but also that of your yogis. 

2. It keeps you honest and humble

Introducing philosophical teachings into your classes can help you stay humble and honest. It can keep you aware of the work that we still need to put in over the course of our lifetime (and beyond, if that’s what you believe!)

3. It can help your own life

Another benefit of using yoga philosophy in your classes is that it can help to provide direction, comfort and problem solving in your own life. 

How your yogis will benefit

1. It could change their lives

Part of the reason you became a yoga teacher was, no doubt, because you wanted to help people. You found something in yoga and felt a calling to share it. 

If you bring philosophical concepts into class, you could help someone with exactly what they need at that moment. It could resonate with your yogis, help them feel inspired and at peace – and it could even change their lives.

2. It brings inner peace

Philosophy in yoga can help to reinforce a feeling of inner peace. Teaching philosophical concepts with real-world examples can help your yogis deal with challenges such as stressful jobs or home lives. A greater sense of inner peace and calm cannot be overstated!

3. It can improve their asana practice

Do you ever see people straining in your classes? Maybe they’ve rushed to your class from work, when they get there, they pressure themselves to do the best they can just as they did at work, and then they’ll rush home and on to the next thing. 

But what if you can help them find some stability and give them permission to ease off a little? 

Philosophical teachings can give you and your yogis some breathing space in classes and remind them that it’s not all about the asana.

Three things to consider before introducing yoga philosophy 

Before you take the plunge and start talking about philosophy in your classes, there are a few things to consider…

1. Remember, not every session and concept you teach has to be life-changing 

You can simply ignite the spark and prompt reflection with some simple ideas. The most useful thing you can do is give your yogis teachings they can practically apply to their lives. 

For example, you could introduce a concept like Santosha by asking yogis to think of something troubling them and then to search for something to be grateful for in that situation. 

2. It doesn’t have to be about you (but it can be)

You can use your own life and experiences as inspiration or as an example to teach philosophical concepts. This can bring more authenticity into your classes and shows your yogis that you’re speaking from the heart. But you don’t have to give details or describe everything that happened, especially if it’s going to be distracting or upsetting to you. 

3. Repetition is the mother of learning 

You don’t always have to come up with a brand new concept or theme for each lesson. You can easily revisit concepts and explore them from different angles in your sessions. This ensures that each philosophical concept you bring is explored thoroughly. 

Yoga philosophy to explore

Not sure where to start? Here are a couple of ideas you can explore. If you find something that resonates with you more, feel free to start with that instead. 

The Yamas and Niyamas

The yamas and niyamas are ethical principles that guide how we relate to others and how we take care of ourselves.

You can bring thiseven just one of these 10 concepts into the beginning of your class or during meditation by asking them to think of where they’re particularly hard on themselves in their lives. It could be in work, in fitness, relationships, or something else. Ask your yogis to just be aware of it and keep that awareness throughout their practice as they start to move. 


The second concept of the niyamas is the feeling of contentment and inner peace. A simple way to talk about this is to remind your yogis at different stages of the class to look for contentment within each pose. 

You might want to bring it back to gratitude and encourage yogis to think of what they’re grateful for in their practice to enhance this feeling of contentment. 


Svadhyaya or self-study is a great option for slower classes where there’s lots of time to think and reflect on our thoughts, words, and physical movements. 

Ask your yogis to be aware of how they speak to themselves in asanas they find challenging. How does that reflect how they speak to themselves in everyday life?

To summarise…

Introducing philosophy to your classes can add an extra layer of depth for your yogis.

But if it doesn’t feel right to you, at least not yet, trust that the asana, the introspection, and breathing will do the work. All you can do is try to guide someone out of their head, into their body and their breath, and leave the rest to just happen naturally. 

For more, listen to the full episode and stay tuned for upcoming episodes to help you deepen your yoga practice and teachings.