Yoga Stick Figures for your Yoga Class Planning

photo credit David Perkins

So……..are you a writer or a sketcher?  For me, as a yoga teacher sketch planning yoga classes using yoga stick figures is one of the most useful and fun things to do in preparation for a class.

Who Could Use Yoga Stick Figures 

But it’s not just for yoga teachers.  Teacher trainees & all yoga students can work with visuals to really help with understanding sequencing, asana mechanics and yoga practice flow.

I have always been a yoga class plan sketcher and my yoga stick figure has evolved over time.  It started with your typical kindergarten kinda look.  Disproportioned with straight limbs and a circle head but still illustrating the form of the pose and idea of the sequence.

Over time my yoga stick figure has evolved into more of a character with a round belly and pony tail.

The pony tail became a feature as I always wear a ponytail myself. The belly feature is getting there too 😉 

Eventually she became the inspiration for my blog logo.  

Creating your Yoga Stick Figure

You don’t need to be an amazing artist to create your yogi and classes with sketches.

I love the work of artist Eva Lotta Lam.  She has created a number of books about sketching and her book Yoga Notes: How to Sketch Yoga Postures & Sequences is an awesome resource for yogis.

Yoga Notes by Eva-Lotta Lam
Photo by Eva-Lotta Lam

Eva shows you how to sketch your own simple yoga stick figure and illustrates a bunch of yoga poses and sequences.

Her little yogi characters are so adorable that just flicking through them is inspiring enough on its own.

In my own sketches the orientation of the pose and gaze is shown by the position of the ponytail.  ie. if the ponytail is facing upwards then she is facing forward eg tadasana. Or to the left or the right if she is facing to the side eg virabhadrasana 2

Eva includes a nose on her yogi to demonstrate the position of the head and gaze.

Anatomical perfection is not critical as long as your sketches show the ‘essence of an asana’ Eva says. Simplicity is the best place to start and then you can embellish and make your yogi your own as you continue to sketch more.

How to Create your Sequence 

Whether you are planning classes or taking practice notes here’s how to start.

Grab paper and your favorite pen.  You can use index cards, a dedicated journal or  a yoga class planner that has been devised specifically for the sketching purpose of creating your own yoga class plans.

I devised a planner specifically to create an organized approach to my yoga class planning.  It’s an instantly downloadable 3 page PDF which you can see in my online store yogaskinnystudio here

You can sketch, create a written plan and list all of the details of your class such as class focus, props needed and blessing/reading.

How to take your notes

  1. Practice simple stick yoga figures. Approach with an open mind and no concern for artistic perfection! Take a look at Eva’s yoganotes blog for inspiration
  2. Start creating your sketch sequences with your stick figure.
  3. Add written notes as you go (if you need to)

Ta-da!  Enjoy sketching and have fun with your yoga character!

how to sketch a yoga avatar
Aren’t these just the cutest! Photo credit Eva-Lotta Lam

You can find out more about Eva’s adorable yoga sketches and her book yoganotes here

yoga sketch stick figures with class planner and sketching pens

5 Life Inspiring Books to Read in your New Year

Embrace creativity and inspiration

The start of a New Year often brings with it new intentions and decisions for change.  What better than some life inspiring books to help you as you embark upon your 2019 journey.  Here are 5 inspiring books well worth a peek.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic - creative living beyond fear
Explore the possibilities of your own creativity

Well, who hasn’t heard of Elizabeth Gilbert?  Launched to success with her classic ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ (I bet you’ve read it.  If you haven’t, then get to it)  Big Magic is her uplifting exploration of the role of creativity in life and why we should just go for it.  

Creativity is within each and every one of us.   We just need to face and overcome our fears and embrace the creativity that is buried within each one of us (regardless of whether we feel we are creative )

Whether you are making art, writing books, crafting dreams or living each day with more creativity, inspiration is there for the taking.  We just need to be curious and willing to embrace our hidden creativity.  

 ‘forget about perfect.  We don’t have time for perfect’

Elizabeth Gilbert

In a world caught up in the perfect Instagram photo,  Big Magic explores all of the possibilities that are open to us.   There is no better time to start your creative journey than right now.  It is time to quit waiting for everything to be just right.   As Elizabeth says in the book,  ‘forget about perfect.  We don’t have time for perfect’

Thrive by Arianna Huffington

Thrive by Arianna Huffington
How to Thrive in life…and its not just money & success

Arianna Huffington wrote Thrive following a personal experience when her own health scare forced her to put her life in balance.  

Thrive came about following her collapse brought on by exhaustion and the subsequent questions she began to ask herself.  She was successful and wealthy but her health was paying the price.

Her conclusion was that money and power alone as evidence of success are out of balance with life.  Life needs a third facet, or ‘third leg to the stool’.  That ‘third leg’ she describes as well being and the need to reconnect with ourselves and those around us.  When this balance is in place we then have the opportunity to truly thrive.

Bringing Yoga to Life by Donna Farhi

Bringing yoga to life
Donna Farhi’s classic yoga book

Donna is a globally recognized yoga teacher and author, well respected and loved in the yoga community. Bringing Yoga to Life is a must have for anyone interested in the practice of yoga in all its forms – not just the physical.  If you’re  looking to study and understand yogic philosophy in daily life, this is an inspiring read.

a yoga practice is a life practice and not just a physical workout at the gym

Donna Farhi

In the book she discusses the teachings of the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali’s classic yoga text.  She describes how a yoga practice is a life practice and not just a physical workout at the gym.  With several decades of teaching experience, she shares her wisdom and spiritual practice.

This is a book well worthy of shelf space for any yoga student or yoga teacher wishing to understand yoga philosophy in as much depth and detail as physical yoga poses.

May I Be Happy by Cyndi Lee

Cyndi Lee's personal memoir, May I Be Happy
May I Be Happy – the personal memoir of Cyndi Lee

Cyndi Lee is another well respected teacher of the yoga world who incorporates the teachings of Buddhism into her practice.  May I Be Happy  is Cyndi’s personal memoir exploring her lifelong cycle of self judgement and her journey to self acceptance.

As with any journey, it is the experiences and people she spends time with  that shape her way.  It is a memoir well worth reading for its honesty and humor.

Living Your Yoga by Judith Hanson Lasater

Judith Hanson Lasater's classic yoga book
Living your Yoga

This is one of the most dipped into books I’ve ever owned. My copy has more notes, highlights and underlining scribbles than a kids coloring book.

If you want to explore ‘living your yoga’,  then this one’s a keeper.  It is a very useful and easy to understand read that discusses the concept of ‘living’ your yoga.  The book is broken up into three parts discussing yoga within yourself, yoga & relationships and yoga in the world.  

Judith writes about everything from discipline and faith to compassion and suffering through to service and love.  She discusses topics with lots of reference to Patanjali’s wisdom.   This is a perfect addition to any yoga teacher’s box of learning tools as well as for those interested in the spiritual life.  

Invest some time and pennies in some inspiring books for your 2019.  Which book will you choose?

Please know that I am an affiliate for Etsy & Amazon. This means that I may take a small commission, without any cost to you 🙂 from any purchases you make directly from the blog posts on yogaskinny.

Bullet Journal Page for your Yoga Practice

If you haven’t ventured in to the world of the bullet journal, or BuJo as it’s also known, then it is well worth a little Pinterest investigation.  It was created by digital designer Ryder Carroll as an ‘evolving, adaptable practice meant to be self curated as you determine what works best for you’.  Essentially, a creative, personal life planning & organization tool tailored to your own personal needs.

Bullet Journaling for Yogis

As a yoga teacher and student, a bullet journal functions as one dedicated location for time planning, class notes, to do’s, book lists, self care and yoga practice tracking. (for a great article about self care and bullet journaling take a look here!)    The beauty of BuJo as a system is that it is totally personal to you!

Yoga practice tracker for bullet journal
A simple yoga tracker

Here is a simple yoga practice tracker to log asana practice and meditation.  A simple grid that is easy to complete and helping to  make you accountable and build up a routine to reinforce  your yoga and meditation habit.

a bullet journal functions as one dedicated location for time planning, class notes, to do’s, book lists, self care and yoga practice tracking

Yoga tracker for bullet journal
Yoga tracker using a simple color coding system

Get Creative with your Bullet Journal Practice Tracker

There are lots of great notebooks and pens available that work really well for bullet journaling purposes but, for me, the best notebook I’ve found is one of your BuJo fan’s favorites, a Leuchtturm, accompanied by fine liner felt pens by Staedtler.  The Leuchtturm works well as it lays flat when open and the pages are lightly dotted in a grid system making it easier to draw simple charts.  Staedtler fineline felt pens are a good felt pen match at a reasonable investment.

a creative, personal life planning & organization tool tailored to your own personal needs.

The beauty of a bullet journal is that you can embellish and decorate it exactly as you like it so get creative with your colors and copy or create your own headings and borders.  Just a doodle works well.  Here are a handful of simple examples for doodle inspiration!  If you are looking for a fun felt pen for more creative work try another bujo planner’s favorite, the  Tombow range of double ended markers that combine a sweeping stroke brush with a fineliner.

Bullet journal doodles for yoga tracker
Simple hand drawn doodles to personalize your yoga tracker

Enjoy getting creative as you track your progress and be sure to share your yoga trackers with us!

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Please know that as an affiliate for some of the items included in this post I may be paid a small commission if you buy something you link to from this post at no extra cost to you.  I am also an Etsy affiliate.

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7 Yoga Class Planning Tips for Yoga Teachers

tips for yoga class planning, yoga class plan, teachers plan
Yoga Class Planning Tips


Yoga class planning is a big part of a yoga instructor’s teaching career to ensure that classes are safe and inspiring but it can be challenging to keep class themes fresh and original.

Maintaining personal yoga study is an important part of teaching but it is easy to get attached to favorite poses and sequences.

With this is mind, here is a list of seven easy ways to keep classes inspired and organized using the teaching resources we have already accumulated.

Improving your yoga class planning and organization

1 Get Organized

Having all of your notes, sketches and plans in one place is the start point to getting organized.  Try compiling a journal that combines all of your class notes with dedicated sections for class types.  Paste in pages from other notebooks or build up a stack of photocopies if you can’t bear to tear pages.  Alternatively, a really workable solution is to invest in a printable class plan that can be arranged in a filing system that allows for reshuffling of pages to accommodate changes and expansion.

2 Be Consistent

Keeping one dedicated place for class plans will soon build into an invaluable class teaching manual.  Consistency will also help you keep track of your class history to ensure variety and avoid repetition.

Look at older class prep notes to see which poses, breath techniques or sequences you may have used in the past but have gravitated away from.

3 Make Use of Old Stuff

Review older class prep notes and yoga class plans to see what poses, breath techniques or sequences you may have used in the past but have gravitated away from.  There is a good chance that there is a vinyasa or a transition that you haven’t used for a while which you can now resurrect with a fresh perspective.

folder for class plans
Downloadable class plans organized in one place for easy reference

4 Combining Plans

Experiment.  Try taking the opening sequence of one of your favorite class plans and mixing it with the middle flow section of your most recent vinyasa to create a pot pourri style class.

it is easy to get caught up with relying on our own favorite poses and sequences.

5 Create a System

Over time, as you gather all of these new, inspiring sequences and class plans, you can create a system organized by level, pose group, anatomical focus, spiritual theme or whatever other way you approach your teaching.  Using a simple binder or adaptable filing method such as the disc system from Arc at Staples   will become your personal yoga class plan ‘go to’ center for inspiration and direction.

downloadable yoga class plan template
Class plan templates incorporating a theme page, written sequence page and sketch page

6 Reuse, Recycle, Regenerate

Every scribbled note has something to offer whether it be a list of poses or notes from a training manual or a favorite quotation, book or piece of music.  Make use of what you already have.

7 Read & Review

Always maintain your personal reading whether it be digitally on blogs and websites or in your own collection of magazines and books.  Your constant reading, researching, and curiosity about yoga will continue to inspire.  Remember that even the oldest and most experienced teacher is always still a student.

How do you keep your yoga class planning fresh?  Share your tips and ideas in the comments – we’d love to hear them.

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