Develop a Home Practice

How Do I Develop a Home Practice?

In an age of unprecedented amounts of distractions, it’s no wonder that so many people struggle with having a regular home practice.

How to start?  Ideally you receive instruction from a qualified teacher who gives a specific method and guidance based on your particular psycho-physiological constitution. Pranayama (breathing practices) is a vital component of getting the mind to be less rebellious and able to focus.  The fellowship of fellow practitioners (satsang) is also very supportive.

Though less ideal, people also turn to meditation apps such as Headspace, and Rod Stryker’s Sanctuary for instruction.  There are plenty of online resources for asana practice as well. Start with the first step. Postponing, or just thinking about a regular practice will not have the same effect.  

A regular home meditation and/or asana practice marks the transition from being a yoga student to becoming a yogi. A yogi is someone who recognizes their limitations and has taken ownership of their evolution. They see the value of regular practice and make it a priority.

Doing 10-15 minutes of meditation a day is an excellent start. Practicing asana for 20 minutes is also beneficial.  Ideally one can dedicate a half hour to an hour on a daily basis. It does not have to be all or nothing.

Being A Yoga Student In Our Training

What does being a student look like in our program?

Yoga teacher training is a significant undertaking for every student. And one should be aware of the demands and expectations in advance.

Enter the Unknown – Some, if not much, of the content in this program may be new to you.  The content might seem foreign and unfamiliar.  It is a little like traveling to a foreign country where you may not have a grasp the language or the food is different.  The experience of travel is always revealing and can show you a world entirely outside of your known reality.

Experimentation You can also look at the yoga training as an experiment in which the outcome is not entirely certain, though you have a hunch that it will lead you to a better place.  Yoga practice is unique in that you are both the subject and the object of your study. 

You are not standing there doing tests on something in a petri dish. You are both what’s in the petri dish and the scientist. You are the canvas and the painter.  The program will support you in integrating the pieces of the program into the grand experiment of your life.

Dedication –  This program is challenging at times. There will be days when you joyfully anticipate class and other days when you may feel challenged and don’t want to go.  Apply yourself to the process to get the most out of it, and know that you will most likely not understand or integrate all of the content. Dedication will help you make the most of this opportunity.

Class Participation – The classroom thrives when people ask questions and fully participate.  Your participation contributes to the welfare of the greater class atmosphere. The program happens over an extended period of time and the cumulative effect of everyone’s participation is quite powerful.

Learn the Craft of Teaching Being a confident teacher is not a given. As with learning any craft, at first, it can be awkward and unfamiliar.  Inevitable questions arise such as: where do I position myself in the room? how do I demonstrate? how do I find my voice? What happens when many different skill levels show up in the same class?  And many other questions.

It can take months or even years of personal practice and teaching on a regular basis before all the components of teaching come together into one unified whole.  One gradually learns the best places to position themselves in the room, how to bring inflection into their voice, and how to see the postures with great insight.

You will also become masterful at designing classes that meet the unique needs of the students.  You might even accumulate a stash of jokes to let loose at the perfect moment!

Strong Reasons To Do Yoga Teacher Training

Seven Strong Reasons To Do A Teacher Training

No matter what program you decide to go with (ours or another), a yoga teacher training costs a lot of money, takes a lot of time and asks a lot of you personally. There are many reasons to never take one up. There are also many seven compelling reasons to do a training if you want to go further with your practice. And it’s essential if you want to teach.

Reason #1: Adios Sporadic Practice. You’ve read my thoughts about the importance of having a consistent personal practice. I believe that the most potent way to develop one is to do a teacher training.  Maybe you had a real streak in your practice at one time and faintly remember the magic.

I’ve spoken with so many people who think that what they need is to improve on their downward facing dog and develop a positive attitude, when what they really need is a steadfast and safe container in which to be guided into practices that unravel years of accumulated tension and start to re-vision how they see themselves and the world in which they live. 

Reason #2: Exponential Momentum. A 60 minutes asana class will only take you so far. The content of classes more or less repeats itself week after week versus a teacher training that builds sequentially and continuously, like a staircase taking you to the top floor balcony where you can see the entire landscape of yoga and your life. 

Dedicated attention from a knowledgeable teacher and a committed circle of peers will exponentially increase your growth. You will receive the support of the class and give support in turn.

Reason #3: Who You Become. One of the biggest benefits of doing a yoga teacher training is who you become. You learn how to manage your mind, eliminate distractions and chart a new path of greater peace and fulfillment.

You don’t just read about these things, you do them for 3.5 months. Yoga teacher training will put yoga at the forefront of your life.  Practicing yoga on a consistent basis for 3.5 months will forever change how you see yourself and how you relate to the world.

Reason #4: Become More Self Reliant. At the end of the program you may discover that you’ve become the source of your own happiness, rather than projecting your sense of worth onto objects or individuals. You’ll probably find that you live in greater accord with what is most important.

Reason #5: Live a Life of Service. Contrary to a lot of motivational hype, you are not defined by your achievements.  However big or small your role may be, you are here to embody your unique destiny, no more or no less.  When you bring the spirit of yoga to everything that you do: as a parent, as a student, as a boss or employee, a school teacher, or a minister or you just might find that you have become a secret agent of good in the world.

Reason #6: Find and Live Your Dharma.
Living a dharmic life is a far greater measurement of one’s success at yoga than how long one can hold warrior III.  The word dharma means ‘greater law or order’, it is what gives a particular thing its unique qualities. The dharma of a pumpkin seed is to become a pumpkin, and the dharma of a swallow is to build nests from mud and migrate thousands of miles each year without getting lost.

Because of our capacity for higher reasoning and reflection, human dharma is more dynamic and complicated. Every thought, word, and action can express one’s highest dharma, or not.

Overstimulation, harboring resentment, fantasizing or neglecting one’s responsibilities undermine the ability to live in alignment with higher dharmic virtues. 

Yoga helps us to discover and live into our unique dharma.  Yoga allows us to get still and quiet enough to hear the voice of our conscience and make peace with shortcomings. Following the path of dharma gradually leads one down the path of greater fulfillment and meaningful contribution – something everyone wants at their core.

Reason #7: Learn to Teach.  At some point yoga becomes a lifestyle.  It shapes how you eat, who you hang out with, how you think and even how you breath.  Teaching can be a natural extension of your values and your personal relationship to yoga.  It feels good to live congruently.

I consider it to be a blessing for both you and the students.

Many people are searching for some way out of their current working life and feel the need to make a greater contribution. Yoga could potentially be that outlet.  I suggest easing your way into the transition to becoming a full time yoga teacher.

Deepen Your Personal Practice And Teach

Four Steps to Deepen Your Personal Yoga Practice and Become a Yoga Teacher With Depth:

Step #1: Be Inquisitive & Expand Your Options

Mainstream yoga focuses on the postures.  However, the potential scope of yoga is far more encompassing. A individual yoga practice is essential to your success as a student and a teacher.

I suggest expanding your options and be open to learning about other yogic modalities. Personally, I feel drawn to personal yoga practice that is rooted in tradition and I offer students the full scope of methodologies.

After some exploration into the deeper, often ignored world of yoga, you might realize that what you really want is to be an ayurvedic practitioner and help people with nutrition and lifestyle rather than teach asana classes. You may find that you really resonate with bhakti yoga (the yoga of devotion), or want to emphasize meditation in your personal practice.  Yoga has so much more to offer beyond the poses. 

There are many possible ways you could ‘do yoga’ in the world.

Step #2: Find and Learn From a Teacher You Resonate With

You can read my in depth thoughts on the ethos of being a teacher, but I thought I would share some of the most essential aspects here as well.  Not all teachers are equally knowledgeable.  Some teachers will leave a much greater impression than others.

The teacher is there to guide the student on a journey from misperception to seeing themselves and life more fully.  They provide a living, embodied example of yogic principles and are also knowledgeable about the particular methodologies that best suit each student (including asana).  Of course the student is responsible for doing work, the teacher simply provides guidance.

In assessing a teacher see that they have a seasoned understanding of the various methods and also demonstrate a regard for the greater welfare as opposed to just themselves.  Personally, having a teacher who is deeply attuned to the spiritual aspects of yoga is essential.


What is it that you are looking for in a teacher?

Step #3: Be A Dedicated Student

We believe that effective teaching is rooted in being a dedicated student.  Teaching then becomes an organic extension of your committed practice.

To say it another way: if you aren’t a dedicated student you have no chance of becoming a teacher with depth. Your personal practice is the foundation for the house of your teaching. 

Of course this same line of thought also pertains to your personal relationship with yoga.  If you practice on a daily basis your mind and body will seamlessly adapt to a more complete version of yourself.  It will happen naturally.

Regularity is the key. Practicing a little each day, or on a regularly scheduled occasion is more effective than “stop and go.” Consistent practice builds momentum over time and eventually takes on a life of its own.

Developing a personal yoga practice is a little bit like growing a tree, at first you have to be very diligent to make sure it gets enough water, nutrients and sunlight.  You may also have to put some kind of barrier around it to prevent it from getting stepped on or eaten by insects. Eventually the tree comes into its own, is able to fend for itself, provides shade, fruit and intrinsic beauty.

Being a dedicated yoga student entails both regular practice and natural curiosity.  As you learn and apply new methods and self reflect on their effect, you discover how to shape your experience of life towards one of less fear and towards more joy.

I suggest that students build a dedicated practice and find delight in it also.

Step #4: Create a Strong, Deep, Personal Practice
Dedication is an attitude. Your personal practice is the laboratory in which to apply the attitude.  Like any craft, the more time you spend with it the further you progress.  If you want to master the violin, you need to practice.  If you want to get better at painting, then practice. The same applies to yoga. The only way to receive the benefit is by regular practice.  In order for the practices to work you have to do them.

These traits make for a good match

These traits make for a good match: 

There are lots of yoga teacher trainings in Denver. Each with its own approach and clientele.  Here is a list of qualities that most resonate with us. And, in full disclosure, the qualities that don’t.

  • You don’t see yoga as a fad, are hell bent on nailing handstand, ‘getting a workout’ or obsess about getting the best yoga pants.
  • You want to teach yoga (formally or informally). You know that life can be impossibly overwhelming. People struggle to manage their emotions, feel trapped within their lives, and spiritually depleted.  Yoga helped you to address all of that and it can help others as well.
  • You are easy going, friendly, giving and supportive of one another. You can get on board with a culture of ‘service’ and ‘support’.
  • You value being punctual, and starting class on time out of respect for your peers. You participate in classes and workshops by asking questions and even challenging some of the ideas presented.
  • You have a home practice (in some capacity) and want the most of each class.

Other positive qualities… 

  • You are willing and able to complete assigned papers and readings.
  • You crave to know yourself more fully and to be inwardly resourced when facing the challenges of life. You stretch into new territory and the discomfort that may go along with that
  • You appreciate that there are many modern styles of postural yoga and have regard for the roots of the yoga tradition. You want classic teachings beyond common cliches such as “this practice is for you”.
  • You have a genuine interest and curiosity about yoga beyond simple asana. Asana is a means to a much greater end that includes stability, equanimity, and spiritual development.
  • You have been doing yoga for 2-10 years.

And we have a special place in our hearts for people who…

  • You desire conversations and philosophies with depth. You value wonder and mystery more than “knowing things”. 
  • You can be open, honest and self-reflective and are willing to be vulnerable.
  • You find them at Natural Grocers (Vitamin Cottage), at the Tattered Cover bookstore, outside, and at meditation and yoga classes.
  • You are dubious of excessive technology and excessive materialism.
  • You desire a richly supportive community of like-minded seekers
  • You care about the welfare of the underserved and may want to bring yoga to those communities. You resonate with underground movements that do a lot of good although they don’t get much recognition. 
  • You appreciate that we are a good-hearted and small business. Some administrative details will feel more like a drive through a scenic country road than mainlining on the interstate.
  • You continue to seek balance in your life between your own needs offering help to others.

The following kinds of people are not a good fit:

  • People who are just in it for the certification and the cool clothing.
  • Only interested in yoga postures and not the greater picture of the yoga tradition.
  • Tend to isolate themselves from and not interact with their peer group.
  • Have no interest in personal development.
  • Are exceedingly dependent upon mobile devices. They could not see themselves getting through a lecture, or even a 10-minute break without logging in.