Yoga is a growing industry, and as beginners join your studio, it is often initially for the physical benefits of practice. As a teacher, you know that it is about more than asana, and want to educate them on making yoga a lifestyle choice.
While you are in charge of what happens in the studio, how do you guide them once they are outside? We have put together some ideas for you to teach your students how to practice everyday mindfulness outside of the studio, with or without their mat!
7 Ways Your Students Can Practice Everyday Mindfulness Outside Of The Studio
1. Frame Thoughts With A Positive Mindset
So much of what we do daily is framed with stress and frustration, and we need to be aware of how this affects our mindset. The energy our thoughts create can build us up, or leave us feeling down. To improve our life, we must frame these with positivity, and let them be the inspiration for action.
Negative feelings can become habitual, but so can the positive. Teach your students about the power of firstly being aware of negative thoughts, and secondly, having the conviction to change them. To accept what is, and channel the energy into surrounding themselves with the positive instead.
2. Meditation As A Tool To Calm The Mind
As you know, to make the most of meditation, regular practice is necessary. Fortunately, it is easy to take this practice outside of the studio. Students simply need to set aside some time for it in day to day life.
Aside from that, it can be done in the comfort of their home, with the guidance of an app, or taking what they learn from your yoga class. There is no need to be in a studio, focus on technique, be on the mat, or use any specific equipment.
Whether setting aside two minutes or ten minutes a day, taking these moments to still their thoughts is all your students need to start enjoying the benefits of regular practice. Let them know that everyday mindfulness can be achieved by sitting on a cushion on the floor, or with a view of the garden.
3. Move The Body With Simple Stretches
Just as you guide your students through a sequence to warm up at the beginning of class, let them know they can do this at home too. The importance of stretching to increase mobility and blood flow through to the muscles is even greater when considering the often sedentary nature of working in an office.
The best part is that your students can do this anywhere – during an office break, at home when they wake up, or on an out of town getaway – there is no hard rule.
Easy movements they can include in their routine are neck rolls and ear to shoulder movements, half sun salutations, roll out wrists and ankles, legs up the wall, and twisting with breath movements. All of these are gentle enough to warm up the body without being overexerting.
4. Practice Breathing
At the beginning of class, your students stretch and prepare their bodies for the deeper practice about to come. At the end, they breathe and gather their thoughts to reflect on the class. As a teacher, you also remind your students to breathe through movements. The process of inhaling and exhaling allows them to get deeper into a pose and avoid the overwhelm that may be arising.
These benefits can be taken outside of the yoga studio, and practiced as everyday mindfulness. Point out to your students that just as they use their breath in a class, they can use it to re-center themselves whenever they feel anxious, stressed out, emotional, or overwhelmed outside too.
During class, practice belly breathing. Encourage long soothing breaths and ask students to lessen tense shoulders and clenched jaws. Remind them that these are the practices they can use to tackle the negative emotions they feel in life.
5. Take Principles Learned On The Mat Outside
Just as relaxing shoulders and eyebrows, and unclenching jaws are things you teach during class, they are also practices that students can apply off the mat. You also encourage patience and kindness during class, point out that this should be applied to their everyday lives too.
Remind them that just as they are capable of overcoming emotions on the mat, they can keep a check on frustrating situations outside too. While they don’t have control over slow traffic or long shopping queues, they do have control over how they handle and react to the situation.
6. Reflect Before Reacting
It is human nature to react in situations out of our comfort zone or control. While some people are able to practice composure in these situations, for others it is not quite as easy. But rather than instantly responding to something frustrating, teach your students to observe and reflect on their thoughts first.
Taking that moment to breathe instead of responding by saying something they haven’t properly considered, or reacting in a way that they wouldn’t ordinarily, can help them to frame the situation in a better light. Often, once the emotions have passed, people realize that the situation wasn’t as bad in the first place.
7. Feel Gratitude
You teach students to honor and respect their bodies and minds for taking them through their class, so encourage them to take this and turn it into an everyday mindfulness practice too.
We are all too often critical of ourselves, and gratitude teaches us to appreciate the miracle that is life that our body and mind gives us.
Gratitude teaches love. Your students can be grateful for the people in their lives who love them in return, for their home, and for the nourishment that they give their bodies.
Teach them to question what they are thankful for every day. Placing the thoughts in their heads makes them aware of the very fact of its existence.
Teaching your students to be more at ease, more mindful, and more in harmony are principles they can apply both on and off the mat. As the teacher, you have the power to encourage them to make these a lifestyle choice as well as practice everyday mindfulness.