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When planning a yoga class, the location, teacher, and music (or lack thereof) can make or break the success of the class. What you might not realize is that the name of your class can make just as much of an impact. After all, the name is the first point of contact for your students—the formal invitation to the experience.
Consider this: There is a big difference between “Vinyasa Level 2,” and “Yoga Warrior.” The first indicates a general idea of what the class will be—sequences that an intermediate student would be familiar with. However, these days, saying “level 2” is kind of like saying “blue.” There are so many shades and variations that you might mean electric blue or navy blue. On the flip side, a name like “Yoga Warrior” gives you an idea of the feeling or tone of the class.
How to Name a Yoga Class
When crafting a name for your yoga class, one of the first steps you should take is to consider your audience. If you are teaching a restorative yoga class to people at the end of the day, adding in the time of day with an image from nature can make the class sound more inviting. (For example, you might name that class “Sunset Restorative Yoga.”)
Descriptive adjectives and verbs that evoke a particular feeling can create a name that jumps off of a screen and reaches more people. If you need a little more direction, try writing down the three words that you would like people to feel at the end of your class. Do you want to invite feelings of warmth, radiance, and strength—or do you want your students to leave class feeling chill, nourished, and receptive?
At the other end of the spectrum, names that are too flowery can be a deterrent. For example, “Sun Celebration” sounds more like a song title than a descriptive yoga class name that lets students know what they should expect. It’s important to find a balance between the concrete (for example: yoga, prenatal, restorative, yin, or Ashtanga) and the descriptors (such as powerful, peaceful, or energized). As you brainstorm how to name a yoga class, play with names on paper or on your computer and be aware of the length of the name. Names that are too long can be hard to remember.
A name with alliteration can intrigue students. Names like “Buti,” “Budokon,” and “Yogafit” have all been a hit because they are short and memorable—kind of like singers and actors with just one name. Longer names with alliteration or even rhyming can also work because they are fun to say. “Fitness Flow” and “More Core” are clear indicators of what students can expect.
If you are a traditional teacher and want to pay homage to your lineage, make sure your Sanskrit is on point. We have all seen or heard teachers use or say Sanskrit terminology that was not correct. Also, keep in mind some names, both in English Sanskrit, may have been trademarked. Some trademarks cover the right to use a name for videos, books, and products, while other trademarks cover in-person classes. If you want to check if a name carries a current trademark, visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office website and enter the name you’re considering. You can also apply for a trademark on a name you really love to protect it.
The next time you’re asked to name a yoga class, here’s a quick checklist to help you come up with a winner:
- Get a piece of paper and draw a line down the center: On the right side, write down the feelings that you hope your class will evoke. On the left side, write down what the class will entail.
- Use a thesaurus to find additional words that can help you with alliteration and rhyming.
- Check your Sanskrit, or any language that is not your first language, to make sure the terminology you’re using is correct.
- Check the United States Patent and Trademark Office (uspto.com) to make sure the name you’d like to use isn’t trademarked.
- If you have a name that you love, register it on the USPTO to protect your idea.
Remember, your class name is a reflection of your style. Students will get an idea of what your vibe is simply by reading the name of your class.
If you work in a studio where the names are already selected, ask your studio manager if she is open to using a new name. If she says no, consider using the name online and in your branding. I teach “Prenatal Yoga,” and the name of my brand is Mothers into Living Fit. On social media, I post my classes as “Prenatal Yoga with Mothers into Living Fit.” Remember, your class names are your signature, and you can be creative with the names as well as where and how you use them.
About the Author
Desi Bartlett works as the Head of Yoga Programming for Manduka Yoga and is the creator of Mothers Into Living Fit. She has appeared in 10 yoga and fitness DVDs and is the prenatal and postnatal yoga teacher for Beachbody. Her new book, “Your Strong, Sexy Pregnancy,” comes out this April with Human Kinetics. Learn more at mothersintolivingfit.com.