Yoga Lesson Planning Clinic

10 Tips To Encourage Your Students To Practice At Home

10 Tips

Tip 1
10 Second Yoga

I tell my students to practice 10 second yoga daily.

My unoriginal name for it is: “10 Second Yoga”. Yes, please forgive me…if I owned a kebab shop, I’d probably have called it “Kebabs R Us”.

The reason I choose the 10 second formula was that anyone can do yoga for 10 seconds.

It takes the pressure off the student.  Discipline takes nurturing.  There are very few students who can go immediately into a 30 or 60 minute daily practice.  The “10 second formula” gently eases them into a daily practice.  And, of course, the hardest part in life is showing up. That includes anything in life, including showing up on a yoga mat.

Tip 2
Yoga Class Handouts 

I’m big on creating yoga class handouts for my students, which really helps them with their home yoga practice.

I ask them to place the handouts at the front of their mats when in class and follow along with me, that way, their handout becomes a really useful asset for their home practice.

Most students don’t practice at home because they can’t remember what they did in class…well, with a handout they know exactly what to do.  I love handouts so much that I’ve created 100’s of them (I know, I know…I really should get a life).

All those handouts are now available in the Yoga Teacher Lesson Plan Kit.

Tip 3
Ask Your Students

This may sound obvious, but I learned this from a speech that a big wig politician gave.

She said to the audience at the end of her speech, “Please vote for me.”

And then explained to the audience that she used to never ask, “Please vote for me”, because she thought it was obvious.

However, as soon as she started stating the obvious, she got lots more votes.  It’s the same when asking your students to perform a home yoga practice.  Ask them to practice at home. Ask them to use their yoga class handouts at home.  You might think it’s obvious, but many of your students wouldn’t have even thought about it.

Tip 4
And Keep Asking 

At the end of every class, remind your students to practice their yoga daily at home…even if it’s only 10 seconds.

Tip 5
Create A Bolster 

Ask your students to invest in a yoga bolster (or they can easily create their own bolster).

Here are the steps…

  1. Get a piece of material with colours you like
  2. Get a bath sized towel and spread it over the top of the material
  3. Begin at one end and roll it all the way up

If the student puts the energy into creating the bolster, there’s a higher chance they’ll actually use it for their home practice.

Tip 6
Do It Yourself

This may seem blindingly obvious, but you’d be amazed how many teachers don’t do a daily practice.   If you don’t do a daily practice, most of your students won’t either.

Tip 7
Your Own Room

Ask your students if they have a “spare room” to consider turning it into their yoga room.   If the student has their own yoga room at home, there’s a much higher chance they’ll practice yoga on a daily basis.  Here are some tips you can give your students…

  • Paint it white with a slight peach or pink (calming colours)
  • Put some music, incense and candles in the room
  • Get some nice lighting
  • If using your office, use computer to listen to meditation music
  • Get a DVD player and follow along with a yoga sequence
  • Put a homemade sign on your door saying:  “Yoga session in practice.”

Tip 8
Repeat This Mantra

The great thing about yoga is that it helps attune our awareness.   Here’s a great question to get your students to repeat as a mantra when stepping on their mat…

“What do I need from my practice today?” 

Give your students a couple of examples…

If you’re tired after a long day at work, you could choose to do some bolster yoga (restorative yoga).   But, if you’re brimming with energy in the morning, you could choose to do a vinyasa such as Sun Salutations.  The point you want to make to your students is that there isn’t one best type of yoga.   Ask them to trust their instinct and feel into what they need in the moment.

Tip 9
Take Home Everywhere

The biggest misconception for new yoga students, and many experienced yoga students, is yoga is only practiced on a sticky purple mat.

Explain to your students that yoga is a 24 hours a day thing. They can practice it everywhere. That’s the beauty of yoga, it has no constraints. It’s there for you everywhere you go.

For example…

  • When travelling to work in your car, practice yogic breathing.
  • When walking in the park, practice one pointedness by observing a flower as if for the first time.
  • When cut off by a reckless driver, send him/her love (instead of hate).
  • When standing in a queue be aware of your posture (practice mountain pose).

There are millions of ways to practice yoga throughout the day.

Tip 10
Get Real Moody 

Music can create all sorts of different “moods” within us.

Ask your students to collect 10 calming music tracks to use during their asana and meditation practices. They can either download them onto their iPod/Smartphones (create a playlist specifically for your yoga practice), purchase them as CDs on Amazon or Ebay, or Charity shops.

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