Holiday Study Success Strategies – Tips for Yoga Teachers in Training

A guide to organizing your yoga teacher training study schedule and achieving coursework goals

by Heather Agnew, ERYT-500, senior yoga trainer

As we approach the holidays, those engaged in their yoga teacher training studies might have aims to really dig into their coursework over their break. It’s a terrific idea, but it can come with challenges. Without a regular schedule, days can blend into one another, and weeks can pass almost without you noticing! For this reason, it’s a great idea to make a plan, even if it’s just a quick sketch, of how you want to approach your coursework.

Below I’ve shared a few tips and strategies for organizing a study schedule and achieving your coursework goals over your holiday break. I hope you find them helpful!

Know Your Study Style:

Get to know yourself and your study style. What motivates you? what deters you? what makes study fun or engaging for you? Get to know your study style and organize your study sessions to best meet your unique style.
• Are you a formal student? Do you respond well to setting a time, sitting at a desk etc.
• Are you a casual student? Do you study best on the couch or in the garden, or with smaller study sessions?
• Digital or analog? Do you need some paper to support your studies? Having a notebook or printing your study checklist and logs can help to keep you on track.

Set Clear Goals:

• Define SMART goals – specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and time-bound. For example: ‘I will study for X minutes each Saturday before lunch’.
• Consider what aims motivate you, a focus on duration of study, or ticking tasks off a list, or submitting completed units – and aim your goals at those things that motivate you.
• Break down larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks. With larger units, break them down into components. For example, for a writing assignment you might have four goals, first read the text, listen to the audio, or watch the video, then jot some bullet points, then put those notes together into your assignment, and finally press send and submit your assignment.
• Be flexible and open to making changes to support your study goals and needs.

Plan for Success:

Just like with exercise or yoga, sometimes planning for overly intense study periods feels heavy, so we put it off. Better to plan for shorter, more enjoyable study sessions, and then if you get into the flow and can study for longer, great!
• Plan for what is reasonable and enjoyable.
• Take smaller study snacks – 15-30 minutes at a time.
• Plan for breaks e.g., work for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break to maintain concentration and avoid study burnout.

Create Your Study Space:

• Create a study space that works for you – it might help to reduce distractions, and be comfortable with the right lighting, a comfy space to sit, all your materials at hand, etc.
• If possible, turn off unnecessary notifications on your devices during study sessions.

Create a Schedule:

• Develop a daily or weekly study schedule that aligns with your goals and what is reasonable given your other holiday activities.
• Allocate specific time blocks for study, rest, and of course holiday social time.
• Whenever possible, consider your most productive times of the day and aim to schedule your study sessions during those periods.

Prioritize Tasks:

• Identify longer term units like practice log, ongoing learning log – attend to these on a regular basis.
• Consider completing similar units together – technical studies together, philosophy studies together etc.

Stay Healthy:

If you are planning more intensive study sessions, also plan for self-care.
• Prioritize sleep, movement, and nourishment to ensure physical and mental well-being.
• If you start to feel stuck or your mind wanders? Take a walk or get on the mat to move your body and clear your head, then you can return to your studies refreshed. In fact, sometimes a bit of movement or space is just what you need to bring your thoughts together.

Seek Support and Community:

• Don’t be an island! If you’re struggling with a particular concept or assignment, don’t hesitate to seek help from your trainers or fellow teacher trainees.
• Consider reaching out to others to plan for partner or group study sessions – face-to-face or online. Having a study buddy can help to motivate you both and make study sessions a lot more fun!
• You might have more family and friends around in the holidays, which is a perfect time to do some practice teaching and get some support and encouragement from your loved ones.

I hope these strategies and tips are useful to you as you plan for your holiday study time. Remember that, even if you have grand plans for your studies, holidays are a time for relaxation and rejuvenation and time with friends and family, so finding a balance between study and leisure is essential. Adjust your schedule as needed to accommodate festive activities and personal time.

Read more on yoga teacher training success strategies:

How to film and submit yoga teacher training videos

Finding your voice and sharing your passion and enthusiasm as a yoga teacher

How to open and close a yoga class

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