Teaching yoga
Teaching Yoga: Essential Foundations and Techniques

Paperback, 432 pages

Publisher: North Atlantic Books, 2010

ISBN 978-1-55643-885-1

Dimensions: 8 x 10

Also in Kindle format


Teaching Yoga gives a broad overview of yoga philosophy, history, subtle energy, and body structure and movement before going into depth on the practical methods and techniques for teaching highly effective classes to a diverse array of students. Special focus is given to language, setting, vibem pace, observation, and the needs of unique students.

This readily accessible book is written to serve a diverse range of yoga teachers – not just those teaching within one style, brand or lineage. Its eclectic perspective encourages teachers to be their creative best while clear in understanding the foundational of the art and science of teaching yoga.

Available in over 10 languages.

Inside page

PRAISE FOR Teaching Yoga: Essential Foundations and Techniques

Ganga White TY

Ganga White photo

 "Teaching Yoga is an urgently needed manual that will be a valuable tool in the arsenal of aspiring yoga teachers to add perspective and to hone their skills. It provides a wealth of foundational information, advice, tips, guidance, and grist for the mill."

– Ganga White, founder, White Lotus Yoga Foundation, Santa Barbara, California, author, Yoga Beyond Belief: Insights to Awaken and Deepen Your Practice

Praise for teaching Yoga


Mark Stephens, a teacher of teachers, has created a comprehensive and inspiring guide for yoga teachers and serious practitioners alike...a brilliant merger of traditional wisdom with contemporary rigor and insight. It should be on the shelf of everyone who loves the practice of yoga." –

Sally Kempton, author, Meditation for the Love Of It and Awakening Shakti    

Joel Kramer TY

Joel Kramer photo

 "Comprehensive, deeply insightful, and chock full of tips and techniques for teaching and doing yoga, Mark Stephens' Teaching Yoga will be required reading for yoga teachers, teacher trainers, and serious students alike. We heartily recommend this essential new contribution to the conscious evolution of yoga."

– Joel Kramer, coauthor with Diana Alstad of The Passionate Mind Revisited: Expanding Personal and Social Awareness

Erich Schiffmann TY

Erich Schiffmann photo

 "Teaching Yoga is friendly, well thought out, helpful, clear, and tremendously thorough. Many people will benefit from this gift, it being exactly what is needed to help a growing teacher teach at his or her best. I'm glad it is finally in print and it is coming out just in time for my next teacher training!" 

– Erich Schiffmann, author, Yoga:The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness



"Yoga teachers and their students will love this book. Mark Stephens untangles the complexities of yoga, giving teachers a rich array of practical teaching tools. Teaching Yoga should be in the hands of every teacher and dedicated student."

– Seane Corn, author, Revolution of the Soul

Shiva Rea

Photo of shiva rea headshot

 "Mark Stephens' offering to yoga teachers provides practical tools and inspiration for the path that embraces all forms of embodied yoga. There are hard-to-find gems that make this a great resource, from the section of the mythological meaning behind the asanas to teaching cues for the core asanas and sequencing tools from vinyasa krama. Enjoy this great resource and dive deep into your own transformation of teaching yoga."

– Shiva Rea, yoga teacher, author, Tending the Heart Fire


Foreword by Mariel Hemingway


Chapter 1: Ancient Roots of Modern Yoga     

  • The Vedas   
  • The Upanishads     
  • The Bhagavad Gita     
  • The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali     
  • Tantra     
  • Hatha Yoga     
  • Toward Modern Hatha Yoga

Chapter 2: Modern Hatha Yoga     

  • Yoga’s Journey to the West     
  • Contemporary Hatha Yoga Styles     
  • A Teacher’s Palette of Styles

Chapter 3: Subtle Energy     

  • The Five Sheaths     
  • Prana     
  • Nadis     
  • Bandhas     
  • Chakras     
  • Gunas     
  • Doshas     
  • Highlighting Subtle Energy in Classes

Chapter 4: Body Structure and Movement     

  • The Feet     
  • The Knees     
  • The Pelvis     
  • The Abdominal Core     
  • The Spine     
  • The Shoulders, Arms, and Hands     
  • Anatomy in Teaching

Chapter 5: Creating Space for Self-Transformation     

  • The Physical Setting     
  • Classroom Setup and Orientation     
  • Class Levels and Prerequisites     
  • Class Etiquette     
  • Waking up the Spiritual Environment     
  • Archetypes and Mythology     
  • Creating a Happy Space     
  • A Space for Healing and Awakening     
  • Holding Integrated Space

Chapter 6: Techniques and Tools in Teaching Yoga     

  • Teaching Who Is in Front of You     
  • Voice and Language     
  • Basic Elements of Asana Practice     
  • Instructing Asanas     
  • General Principles in Giving Physical Cues and Adjustments     
  • Modifications, Variations, and the Use of Props

Chapter 7: Teaching Asanas     

  • Surya Namaskara: The Sun Salutations     
  • Standing Asanas     
  • Core Refinement     
  • Arm Balances     
  • Backbends     
  • Seated and Supine Twists     
  • Forward Bends and Hip Openers     
  • Inversions     
  • Savasana

Chapter 8: Teaching Pranayama     

  • The Discovery and Development of Pranayama     
  • The Modern Science of Respiration     
  • Teaching Basic Breath Awareness     
  • Refining the Flow of Breath     
  • Ujjayi Pranayama     
  • Deepening the Pranayama Practice     
  • Consciously Cultivating Energy

Chapter 9: Teaching Meditation     

  • Patanjali’s Path of Meditation     
  • Taking One Seat     
  • Six Guided Meditation Techniques     
  • When to Meditate     
  • Meditating Amid the Flow of Body and Breath

Chapter 10: Sequencing and Planning Classes     

  • Principles of Sequencing     
  • The Basic Arc Structure of Classes     
  • Sequencing Within and Across Asana Families     
  • Planning Specific Classes     
  • Sequencing for the Menstrual Cycle     
  • The Chakra Model of Sequencing     
  • Popular Hatha Yoga Sequences     
  • Creating Your Classes

Chapter 11: Specialized Teaching     

  • New to Yoga     
  • Working with Injuries     
  • Working with Depression     
  • Working with Pregnant Students     
  • Teaching in Alternative Settings

Chapter 12: The Yoga Profession     

  • Yoga Teacher Training and Certification     
  • Apprenticing     
  • Teaching Opportunities and Remuneration     
  • Cultivating Abundance     
  • Preserving Abundance     
  • Regulation of the Profession     
  • The Path of the Teacher


  • Appendix A: Yoga Associations, Institutes, Organizations, and Professional Resources
  • Appendix B: Glossary
  • Appendix C: List of Asanas
  • Appendix D: Asana Elements Notes Bibliography Index About the Author

Downward Facing Dog pose at White Lotus retreat 1999


Teaching Yoga – In French
Teaching Yoga – In Italian
Teaching Yoga – In Korean
Teaching Yoga – In Czech
Teaching Yoga – In German
Teaching Yoga – In Spanish