It would have been so useful to have been given some guidelines at the start of my teacher training in how to craft a home practice. Our upcoming ‘Develop Your Own Self-Guided Home Practice Workshop’-20th December 11am-1pm presents a good opportunity for anyone who is thinking about teacher training or is looking to enhance their time on the mat outside of their regular public classes. For more info please click here. This workshop is part of the Yoga Booster: Masterclass series
Developing My Home Practice During Teacher Training
During my yoga teacher training course in 2018/2019, students were required to do a self guided home practice for one hour per day and to journal what we did, so that we could reflect on our progress. As a trainee I was so enthusiastic and determined to keep to every task. I was already practicing regularly but not every day and not an hour each time. I remember at the start feeling like I didn’t really know what I should be doing and how I should be using this time.
I was already attending Ashtanga classes regularly and felt confident with it as a set sequence, so it seemed like a logical place to start for a self led practice. I printed out a few different versions of the primary series and made sure that I showed up on my mat each day.
After a few months I was pretty tired by the process and my home practice had become a chore. The repetition of the same sequence & poses meant that I was progressing in certain areas but also putting quite a bit of stress and imbalance on my body. I love the discipline of Ashtanga but it wasn’t suiting my individual body, needs, and energy to practice for that duration every day.
I still very much enjoy the Ashtanga practice but I realised I was ignoring some areas of my body and decided to start mixing things up on the mat so I could focus on these which included tight hip flexors & quadriceps (front of the hips and thighs) from all the cycling I do!
I started to notice the difference straight away when I chose to include a few more complementary movements, and the exploration I was having with other poses helped me to tune into what I needed on a day to day basis and as an outcome I enjoyed and valued my time on the mat a lot more. Sometimes I went back to an Ashtanga inspired practice, and other times I picked out a selection of poses for a slow hip releasing session.
From my experience of developing my home practice as a teacher trainee I would say that it can feel quite challenging when you’re not sure where to start and what to do. Plus its easy to put a lot of pressure on yourself to advance your asana practice to meet a perceived expectation that you might be setting yourself or holding onto subconsciously and especially within a timeframe which is in line with when the course ends.
Attending lots of public classes as a student can be useful because you are always learning from your teachers in how to explain something or how to thread different poses together. However only attending public classes means that you are always in the hands of what that teacher wants to teach. For example they might be teaching back bends for a number of weeks when you are aiming to improve your experience of arm balances. Or maybe you are wishing to include more time in meditation and breathwork. So it’s really important that as you continue on this yoga journey, you have a varied and adaptable home practice that you can turn to at anytime.
With time, experience and knowledge I’ve developed and continue to develop my home practice which is a lot more relaxed than when I first started. I still practice on most days but I also honour when I need to rest. I have a much more regular and structured meditation practice and my asana practice is playful and inquisitive but also still quite focused. I still come back to the Ashtanga practice fairly regularly and when I do, I really enjoy it. One thing I find very useful about my approach to my home practice now is to scribble down a few peak poses before I start so that I know where I am going with my sequencing and I think that Ashtanga has really helped me to find that sense of structure.
It would have been so useful to have been given some guidelines at the start of my teacher training in how to craft a home practice. Our upcoming ‘Develop Your Own Self-Guided Home Practice Workshop’-20th December 11am-1pm presents a good opportunity for anyone who is thinking about teacher training or is looking to enhance their time on the mat outside of their regular public classes.
For more information on our exciting Teacher Training Course starting March 2021 please click here
Become a healthy, peaceful, content version of yourself in December & 2021!