esther m palmer

my morning practice

Photo by Jonas Weckschmied on Unsplash


Every teacher was once a student. But somehow (prevalence of hierarchical authority and fixed mindset?), this fact fades from notice as soon as a teacher gains students’ respect.

Or at least, I never thought about my teachers as students. It wasn’t until I started to teach myself, that I realized that it’s fundamentally critical that teachers, leaders, and really everyone, is continually learning new things.

And if teachers are learners, they’re students. And all students have homework!

Yoga Homework

Just like any movement practice or feat in which you want to improve your skill, yoga has "homework" — known as the "daily practice."* These days, it’s often referred to as one’s "home" practice to distinguish it from going to a yoga class (which contributes to your learning, but isn’t designed to help you with your specific practices).

Yoga teachers typically encourage their devoted students to practice at home everyday. Which modern-day students invariably, at some point, find difficult to sustain. Eventually real life challenges the everyday-ness of it, and real life wins. (Which, total aside here, is why in the ISHTA lineage* there is so much focus on making meditation relevant to your real life by linking the experience to your actions and thoughts.)

And at this point of despondence, students look to their teachers anew and ask:

"what should I do?"

"what do you do?"

Somehow the latter follows as if the answers would be the same to both questions. And in some traditions, they might be. But yoga is a practice by and for the individual (strong ISHTA perspective there), so there should be no expectation that a student’s practice would sync up with her teacher’s.

So my answer to the first question is likely to be "let’s schedule a time to review what you’re doing/not-doing now and look at what might be useful for you."

And because there might be a little overlap between our two unique practices, I’ll also answer the second: "Well, I’ll tell you what I do now in case it’s helpful to know, but it’s not necessarily what you should be doing."

In the overlap of challenges and comforts that we face through our separate practices (of anything), some solace, inspiration, and guidance might indeed be waiting to be found. Because, really, one human to another, we’re not all that different, even though we’re also entirely unique 😉

And so, because so many of you have asked, and because I hope it can be useful to your yoga education, I'm going to share my current morning practice with you.

Esther's Morning Practice

At least, what I have scheduled. I give myself 90 minutes.

  • Wake up and do the necessary things, which sometimes includes checking twitter (just because it makes me happy)
  • Joint warm up, which I recorded for you as a Yoga Whenever, so you can try it for yourself. This is definitely one of those overlap moments 😉
  • Meditate (using hum sa or sat yam kriya)
  • Strength workout or yoga asana
  • Record thoughts on "meds + moves" (meditation + movement!)

That's it! These days, I'm learning most from the last part, recording my thoughts... which leads to questions, which leads to looking things up, which leads to more questions, and ... you get the idea.

I hope this is useful to you and that you discover the perfect practice to keep you learning, always! I'd also love to hear how you put together your practice. What works for you? Why does it suit you? If you want to share, click the big bar below!

Moving with you,

share your practice with me


* Glossary terms!

  • [Yoga] Practice: all the techniques you practice regularly to deepen your understanding of yoga. That's just one way to define it!
  • Lineage: yoga is taught from teacher to student, and thus the philosophy and practices of yoga are identified by which line of person to person sharing (and evolving/developing) they come through. That's a yogi's "lineage".
And you can get that gentle joint warm up YWAG here if you want to try it for yourself!

Thoughts or questions? I'd love to hear them.

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