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How to Build Your Personal Yoga Practice

Establish Yoga Practice Habit | Allison Rissel

Becoming a yoga teacher positively changed my life in a million ways! But I wasn’t prepared for the ways in which my yoga practice would change. 

One of the most common struggles I hear from all yoga teachers, including myself, is maintaining a personal practice. 

In every yoga class that we teach, we give so much of ourselves physically, mentally and energetically that it can be draining at the end of the day to complete our own practice. We end up feeling like hypocrites and we start a cycle of guilt and self-recrimination.

We’re yoga teachers- we know the benefits of a personal practice, so why is it so hard to maintain one?

I personally believe that a yoga practice doesn’t have to be hard, but we do have to follow certain steps in order to accomplish our goals. 

Below are the 4 steps that I followed to establish my regular yoga practice. 

 

1. Evolve Your Personal Practice

Over the years, my personal practice has evolved and changed. I used to believe that a personal practice had to be a 1—hour physical practice or it didn’t count. But the more I taught, the more exhausted I became and the more I didn’t want to practice. I was just too tired!

My practice slowly started to evolve and it became shorter and less physical. Now, my daily practice is anywhere from 10-20 minutes and it involves a mix of meditation, pranayama practices, journaling, chanting and a few very easy physical poses. 

ACTION STEP #1: Give yourself permission to evolve your personal practice. What is a realistic amount of time that you can dedicate every day? What practices will best serve you (e.g., journaling, meditation, pranayama, asana, dinacharya)?

 

2.  Establish a routine or schedule 

Establishing a daily consistent practice is the most important part of your personal yoga practice. It’s best to practice at the exact same time every single day.

It’s okay if your practices become shorter or less physical. Just make sure to find uninterrupted time each day. 

Now, I know you may be thinking- I NEVER have extra time! 

Maybe you have to wake up 10 minutes early. Or go to bed just 10 minutes later.  There is no perfect time to practice. You have to do what works best for your schedule. 

When determining this extra time, make sure to set a MINIMUM and a MAXIMUM time frame for your practice. Be realistic with this!

ACTION STEP #2: Schedule your meditation time in your calendar RIGHT NOW. Set an alarm if you need it.

 

3. Establish a location

When I first started my personal practice, I believed that I had to practice at a studio in a group. But over time, it became harder to make it to the studio and I felt like all my students were staring at me during a group practice, even though I wasn’t teaching! 

So I started to practice at my house. When establishing your practice space, find a spot somewhere away from distractions. I suggest setting up a small area that’s designated “just for you.” Keep your mat or journal or meditation cushion there. Maybe set up a candle with a lighter or a diffuser to help deepen your breath. Keep everything set up day after day to eliminate any “prep work” before your personal practice.

I have a small spot in my guest bedroom that’s set up with a mat, pillow, incense and timer. At my designated practice time, I simply walk into the room and start practicing. It makes my practice easy when there’s nothing to prepare or set up before I practice.

ACTION STEP #3: Set up your practice space.

 

4.  Find inspiration

The majority of us get stuck in our same routines and it can be hard to find new inspiration when you’re on the verge of burnout. Finding a new workshop, reading blogs, watching tutorials, or exploring new methods can re-ignite your inspiration. You can also join my 5-day online yoga practice for yoga teachers challenge. We start January 7 and each day you’ll find inspiration and motivation. You’ll learn breathing practices, self-inquiry questions, meditations and short asana sequences. This will help renew your passion for teaching!

ACTION STEP #4: Find a book, a training, or a challenge to join. Maybe pull out your old yoga teacher training material and start flipping through it for inspiration. Find guided meditations on YouTube. Whatever it is, have a plan and inspiration before you start your practice.

 

Setting personal time for my yoga practice helped me deepen my connection with Self and Spirit. When we engage in a regular physical practice, we find unity within ourselves. We find inspiration, creativity and motivation in our teachings and in our lives. 

I urge you fellow yoga teacher- start your personal practice now and allow the magic of yoga to inspire you and fill your life with love.

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If you’re ready to build your personal practice, join my 5-day Online Challenge for Yoga Teachers. This challenge is for all yoga teachers struggling to maintain a personal practice. You’ll renew your passion for teaching yoga. You’ll feel more inspired to teach more creatively and you’ll move your practice BEYOND the mat. The challenge aims to help you grow as an individual and as a teacher. You choose how much time to practice, and I provide the practice.