Establishing A Home Yoga Practice
Yoga in America is booming. A 2016 report by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance reported that 36.7 million people practice yoga, up from 20.4 million in 2012, and 28 percent of all Americans having taken a yoga class at some point in their lives. As a result, the demand for yoga instructors has never been higher and increasing numbers of practitioners are becoming inspired to teach — a career that can be as challenging as it is fulfilling.
Have you ever taken a yoga class when you could just tell that the teacher was not into it? Or have you been that teacher?
A passionless teacher can’t inspire students. Fortunately, there is a remedy, and that is to get on your own yoga mat and meditation cushion. As the yogini Dana Trixie Flynn puts it, “Just as a concert musician must practice their instrument, a yoga teacher must practice on their mat.” This doesn’t mean going to a workshop or retreat only once in a while — though that can be nice — and coming back inspired and enthusiastic. This is about continual refueling. It means getting on your yoga mat consistently, at home, in a class, or at a practice for teachers and advanced students. This may seem obvious, but the majority of teachers we’ve polled complain that their single biggest challenge as a teacher is keeping up their own practice.
If you don’t continue to practice regularly in addition to teaching, your only source of inspiration for your teaching is the stale memory of a regular practice.
Vow to practice at least ten minutes a day, five to seven days a week. By committing to only ten minutes, you avoid putting pressure on yourself, and you’re more likely to stick to the resolution. If you start small, you will find yourself craving more time on the mat.
Create a dedicated space in your home for your practice. This will encourage you to practice at home more often. It doesn’t have to be anything special — and you certainly don’t want to put so much thought into it that the planning process prevents you from rolling out your mat! But when you put just enough energy into a space, it can become magnetic, drawing you onto the mat. Amy Ippoliti and Taro Smith, PhD are the authors of The Art and Business of Teaching Yoga and founders of the online school 90 Monkeys, which has enhanced the skills of yoga teachers and studios in over 40 countries.