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Bringing It Home

Encourage your students to develop a home practice—and stick with it.

By Sara Avant Stover

Making a Plan

Having a private session with your student could be a way to provide him or her with the extra support needed to develop a regular routine and stick with it.

"There are many asanas to work with, and many meditation techniques," says Satterfield, who meets with all of her teacher trainees privately to look at alignment and emotional needs. "One size definitely doesn't fit all!"

Nicholson meets draws from a variety of tools, including pPranayama, asana, chanting, meditation, and imagery. This way she designs a practice that suits the individual needs of the student.

Then she diagrams the practice, adding notes and the date, and she always asks for a follow-up meeting within one week to confirm that the student has understood the practice—and to ensure that it will remain appropriate for the following two to three months.

After that, Nicholson requests that her students offer feedback about how they're progressing, especially if their situation changes, they outgrow the practice, or they have further questions or difficulties.

By giving your students a set sequence to practice, they will feel supported and structured when they step on the mat alone for the first time.

Working Through Resistance

No matter how well equipped your students are, they will inevitably face obstacles. Resistance afflicts everyone at times—even the most seasoned yogis.

"One of the most challenging aspects of home practice is finding the motivation to get on the mat and begin," Swenson says.

Having an informal practice group with friends at home once a week, in addition to your private home practice, can be a great motivator.

Another way to keep students motivated is to have them set aside a regular time and place for practice. Ask them to stick to a specific goal or intention to return to daily. Steeping themselves in the "bigger picture" will remind them of their highest priorities for practice.

Encourage your students to continue attending classes once or twice a week to learn new things that they can bring home with them. During class time, speak of the importance of having a personal practice. Share with them your own successes and tips about how you have learned to work through resistance.

Getting Them Started

These tips will help your students get started:

  1. Set aside a place and a time to practice every day. Start with a short amount of time, such as 15 to 30 minutes.
  2. Identify an activity that is no longer valuable in your life and remove it, so that your home practice doesn't just add another task and make your life more complicated and full.
  3. Commit yourself to being consistent in your practice for six months.
  4. Find an occasional practice partner.
  5. Have several planned sequences in the back of your mind as a backup.
  6. Continue to go to class weekly for inspiration and ideas on how to change your home practice or what to focus on at home.
  7. Recognize how much yoga has already helped you, and trust that your daily life will be better with a daily practice.
Sara Avant Stover is a freelance writer and Anusara-inspired yoga instructor. She teaches private sessions, workshops, retreats, and teacher trainings around the world. Visit her website www.fourmermaids.com.

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Reader Comments

EverybodyYoga.us

We are total creatures of habit, and a very successful home practice can be developed from making it a habit - the same time, even the same place, as part of the normal routine. My website has easy-to-read information about what people need to get started, so feel free to direct them my way, too. Home practices make happier people!

IA

Directing a student to the resources on yogajournal.com, such as the podcasts, may also be a helpful - and inexpensive -way for a new home practitioner to get thier feet wet.

iyan Yaspriyana, Bali

Dear Sara, just want to tell you my advice to my studnt. I told them in the last day of our retreats how to keep disciplin doing in their own at home. I said: develop disciplin, breack the stuburness and laziness by doing yoga every day only 15 minutes, for 21 days. Keep the regular joining class in their town in the same time.

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