As a dedicated yoga teacher, my life revolves around guiding students through the physical, mental, and spiritual journey that is yoga. For years, I’ve spent countless hours in studios, leading classes, and helping students find their own path to wellness. Yet, amidst the demands of teaching, it’s easy to neglect one essential aspect – my personal home practice.
Over the course of my own journey, I’ve come to realize that a home practice is not just a complement to studio teaching, but the heartbeat. In this blog post, I want to explore the benefits of maintaining a home yoga practice as a yoga teacher.
Benefits of Maintaining a Personal Practice as a Yoga Teacher
- You’ll Always Have a Safe Space
- Authenticity and Vulnerability in Teaching
- Experimentation and Creativity
- Understanding Your Body’s Needs
- Consistency and Discipline
- Self-Care and Well-Being
- Rediscovering Your Love for Yoga
You’ll Always Have a Safe Space
I vividly remember the first time I truly felt the power of my home practice. I was going through a lot of changes in my life, and stepping onto my mat was my safe-space amidst the chaos. It felt like a personal sanctuary, where I was free to explore and be in my own company – with no expectations.
In the moments where I stepped onto my mat, I felt an immediate sense of calm. I had the opportunity to feel any emotions, to release any thoughts that no longer served me, and to simply connect with my body and breath.
These are the moments that help you to deepen your connection to yoga, and which allows you to recreate these experiences for your students. To be a truly great teacher, you must take the time to self-reflect, build self-awareness, and enjoy all the benefits of yoga on a personal level. And there is no better way than through a personal practice.
Authenticity and Vulnerability in Teaching
I remember teaching a challenging arm balance in class. I’d been working on this pose at home for weeks. I was open with my students and invited them to join me as we all attempt the challenging pose. Instead of feeling embarrassed, I shared my journey with them.
This vulnerability strengthened the connection with my students – making the class more authentic and relatable. Some students came to me after my class and applauded me for not pretending to be some “pro” who could do everything; and that they felt inspired to continue practicing at home.
At the end of the day, even though we’re teachers, we’ll always be students of yoga. And you’ll only grow as a yoga teacher if you continue to challenge yourself to learn new skills. Your personal practice is the perfect place to give yourself the freedom to learn.
Experimentation and Creativity
My home practice is a canvas for my creativity. Or if you’re more of a science-type person – see it is a laboratory for experimentation. Through your home practice, you can play with new poses, sequences, or meditation techniques without the constraints of a class structure. It’s where you grow as a teacher – expanding your knowledge and honing your skills.
During my personal practice, I often find myself exploring variations of poses and crafting unique sequences. Allow yourself to use this time to have some fun, and then feel free to bring these new poses and techniques into your teachings.
Understanding Your Body’s Needs
Some mornings, my body craves gentle, restorative poses, while other days I’m bursting with energy and enthusiasm. My home practice allows me to honour these fluctuations, fostering a deeper understanding of self-care and intuition that I can share with my students.
This adaptability has not only improved my own practice but also helped me cater to the diverse needs of my students in class – ensuring that yoga remains a practice of compassion and self-awareness. If you struggle to feel into what you need on a daily basis, whether that’s coping with stress or choosing better food options or finding a balance between alone-time and socialising – a personal yoga practice will help you understand what your body is asking for.
Consistency and Discipline
There are many days when my cozy bed seems much more enticing than my commitment to yoga. And let’s be real – sometimes the cozy bed wins. But I’ve experienced the profound effect that consistency and discipline in my practice has had in my life as a whole.
I used to struggle to stick to what I committed to and to finish the things that I started. Maintaining a home practice has allowed me to cultivate the discipline and consistency I needed to be able to finish projects, to start my own business, and to keep the promises that I make to myself.
So, I choose to show up every day (okay – most days), because I’ve seen how this dedication has profoundly changed my life. This allows me to be a better teacher as well, since I can share from personal experience that a daily practice is a starting point for better habits, integrity, and self-trust.
Self-Care and Well-Being
In the role of a yoga teacher, it’s easy to become so focused on others that you forget to prioritize your own well-being. I learned this lesson the hard way when I neglected my home practice for an extended period – leaving me burnt out and disconnected from yoga. I recovered rather quickly once I committed to a daily yoga practice. The key was to stop looking at my personal practice as a “I have to” and instead see it as “I get to”. I get to take care of myself. I get to deepen my connection to myself. I get to love myself. I get to show up for myself. I started living my life in a way where I decided to put myself at the top of my priority list, because I knew that if I wanted to help others and guide them through the powerful world of yoga – I needed to be my best. And that’s exactly what my personal practice helped me to achieve.
Rediscovering Your Love for Yoga
Over time, the demands of teaching can sometimes overshadow the love and passion that drew you to yoga in the first place. There have been moments when I questioned my path as a yoga teacher. However, my home practice has consistently rekindled my love for yoga.
It’s in the quiet moments on my mat that I remember the profound impact yoga has had on my life and why I want to share it with others. These moments of reconnection with my own practice have been instrumental in revitalizing my teaching and reminding me of my purpose as a yoga teacher.
My home practice allows me to consistently be connected to the true power of yoga and to share my knowledge and skills from a place of true passion and commitment.
I encourage every yoga teacher to make their home practice a priority. In nurturing your personal practice, you’ll become a more effective, inspiring, and fulfilled teacher, leading your students towards a deeper connection with yoga and themselves.
Your home practice is not just a space; it’s a sacred journey of self-discovery, growth, and profound connection that ultimately enriches your teaching and enhances your students’ experiences on the mat. A personal practice is like a life-long companion – if you choose to take care of it and spend quality time with it, you’ll develop a deeply fulfilling and lasting relationship.