Nurturing Independence with Yoga: Practicing Compassion

August 16th, 2014

about compassion

By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

There are many ways to nurture independence with Yoga. There are also many different kinds of independence. Of course, there is the independence that comes from robust physical health. If you have ever experienced an injury or surgical procedure that has taken a substantial amount of time to heal, you are well aware of the sense of dependency that less than optimal physical health can create. This state of dependency can be very frustrating for many Yoga practitioners, especially those of us who are used to being quite independent. Many of the physical postures of Yoga help to strengthen and heal the body, so that an optimal state of physical health is nourished and sustained.

On a less visible level is the psychological independence that many of the practices of Yoga nurture in a committed student. For instance, if you struggle with an anxious mind, taking the time to switch from “doing” to “being” while you rest in a Shavasana is an important first step towards expanding into a state of peaceful awareness. The system of Yoga practices and techniques is quite diverse and comprehensive. If a Yoga student practices several of these techniques regularly in a balanced manner, the beneficial effects of the practice are magnified tremendously.

Many different traditions of Yoga offer service to the community in which they are located. This feeling of compassion and generosity naturally arises when the mind and body are balanced and the heart is open. Nurturing a feeling of compassion, by releasing the constriction around the heart, will dissipate feelings of isolation and the judgment of oneself and others. Dropping into our own hearts with sensitivity and awareness is one of the primary internal gifts that a regular practice of Yoga offers to us. The ability to reside for a period of time in our own hearts, with loving kindness and compassion, will enable us to carry this same compassionate energy into the world.

When we are able to drop into our own heart with a feeling of deep compassion, we are more able to truly love ourselves unconditionally. This does not mean that we are completely off the hook for our own wrong doings! It simply means that we can offer ourselves the loving kindness and forgiveness that so many Yoga practitioners offer to others, both near and far. It is often more challenging to allow a feeling of soft compassion to arise in our own hearts for ourselves, than it is to feel compassion for those who are struggling 3000 miles away from us! When we are able to extend a feeling of compassion to ourselves, we are also freed from past mistakes and are more able to become independent of patterns of thinking and behavior that are no longer serving our highest good.

* Reclining Goddess Pose

This Yoga pose is a very simple way to slow down, release tension and drop into the space of your own heart. To further facilitate the sense of relaxation and rejuvenation, you may wish to use blankets to support your knees and an eye pillow to help support you to focus internally. If you are using these props, place them near your Yoga mat. To practice Reclining Goddess Pose, lie back on your Yoga mat and place your legs in a diamond position with the soles of your feet touching. If you are using blankets, fold them and place them under your knees. If you are using an eye pillow, place it over your eyes now.

Position your left hand on your Heart Chakra and your right hand on your belly. Very gently breath into your heart – Feel the rise and fall of your belly as you expand your inhale to fill your entire heart area. As you continue to breath, visualize a soft, warm, glowing pink light flowing through your left hand into your Heart Chakra. Gently dissolve any mental objections or feelings of unworthiness that may arise by continuing to breathe as you fill your heart with the divine love of the Goddess. Hold Reclining Goddess Pose for five to ten minutes, and then roll to your right side and gently push yourself up to Easy Seat on your Yoga mat.

© Copyright 2014 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about teaching yoga students and our selection of online yoga instructor training courses.

If you are a teacher, yoga school manager, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is. Namaste!

Related Posts

Teaching Yoga: Compassion for Students

Value of Compassion in Correcting Yoga Students

Yoga Poses to Cultivate Compassion during the Holidays

Share


Nurturing Independence with Yoga: Practicing Forgiveness

August 13th, 2014

about mantrasBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

One of the primary ways that many Yoga students get stymied emotionally is by carrying around the burden of not forgiving themselves for their own shortcomings and transgressions. Many of us are much harder on ourselves than we are on the people that we feel have mistreated us in some fashion. For example, it is often easier to forgive somebody for being rude or insensitive at work, than it is to forgive ourselves for being intentionally mean to a family member or friend. And yes, even though we may be adept at many of the Yoga postures, we may still find ourselves not behaving in the most uplifting fashion, shall we say!

If you are carrying around the burden of not forgiving yourself for a past transgression, releasing that energy through Yoga will help to free your heart to love again. Backbending Yoga postures are particularly good for releasing constriction around the Heart Chakra. Hip opening Yoga poses are also great asanas for delving deep into the emotional pain and internal recrimination that many Yoga practitioners carry around, sometimes for years. Additionally, I find that if I am stuck emotionally or am unable to release some painful emotions, I unconsciously hold my breath. So, in those instances, practicing Yogic breathing techniques, such as Skull Shining Breath and Bhastrika Pranayama, helps to dislodge and release these heavier, tamasic emotions.

Kapalabhati Pranayama is also called Skull Shining Breath. It is part of the Yogic system of cleansing, known as Shatkriya. This pranayama exercise is aptly named because it truly invigorates your entire body as it uplifts your mind. This breathing exercise can be practiced in either the beginning of a Yoga class or towards the end of a class, just prior to Corpse Pose or meditation. Kapalabhati Pranayama is a wonderfully effective breathing technique for releasing and clearing away mental strife and agitation, while it energizes your whole body.

This clarity will help to create a feeling of internal freedom and spaciousness that will, in turn, give your more of an ability to release constricting thoughts and emotions. When these denser, heavier thoughts and emotions are released, you will find that it is much easier to forgive yourself for your own shortcomings. This state of internal forgiveness and independence will allow you to open your heart and truly love yourself and others. As Ammachi, the great “hugging saint” from India said, “Forgive. It is the way to peace and love.” Well, there you have it!

* Kapalabhati Pranayama or Skull Shining Breath

When you are ready to practice Skull Shining Breath, come to a comfortable seated position on your Yoga mat. If your hips feel tight, you may wish to place a folded blanket or Yoga bolster underneath you for additional support. Before beginning your practice of Kapalabhati Pranayama, simply take a few deep breaths at your own pace. Notice if you are inhaling and exhaling fully and completely. If you are not inhaling or exhaling fully, slow down the pace of your breathing and mindfully allow the life sustaining fresh oxygen to fill your lungs. When your lungs are fully expanded, release your breath completely with a moderately- paced exhale.

To practice Kapalabhati Pranayama, take one smooth, complete inhale, pause, and then forcefully release the air out of your lungs in a set of ten small exhales, by pulling in your lower abdominal area forcefully like a pump. When you are first learning to practice Skull Shining Breath, it is helpful to place your palms on your lower abdomen so that you can feel your stomach pull in with each partial exhale. One inhale followed by a forceful exhale divided into ten parts is considered to be one round of Skull Shining Breathing. Practice this Yogic breathing technique for ten rounds.

As you become more experienced with Skull Shining Breath, you may want to increase your count to thirty rounds. If you become light headed while practicing this invigorating and cleansing pranayama, simply rest and breath normally for a few minutes, and then continue your practice of Skull Shining Breath when you are ready. When you finish your practice of Skull Shining Breath, pause for a few minutes before moving on to the next Yoga pose, in order to enjoy the vibrant mental clarity and pulsating energy coursing throughout your whole being.

© Copyright 2014 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about teaching yoga students and our selection of online yoga instructor training courses.

If you are a teacher, yoga school manager, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is. Namaste!

Related Posts

Yoga Poses for Forgiveness during the Holidays

Igniting the Creative Spark with Yoga: Skull Shining Breath

Intermediate Pranayama Exercises for Trauma Survivors

 

 

Share


What is the Practical Application of Mantra Practice?

August 11th, 2014

utkatasanaBy Avalon Hicks

For many individuals the practice of yoga is wide and encompasses many different aspects. Mantra and meditation are just two aspects of yoga practice that are utilized regularly and for good purpose. If you are new to the practice of yoga and meditation you will want to explore all that mantras can do for you in its entire entirety.

The word Mantra is from the Sanskrit language, which simply means a word or sound that is repeated in order to help concentration during the practice of meditation. There are many different mantras that are practiced throughout the world, depending on what divine force you feel is your center. Some common mantras used are Hindu, Buddhist, Christian mantras, or even basic mantras wishing peace to all living beings. You will need to explore which mantras will suit you and learn how to incorporate them into your meditation practice.

There are many different mantras that will aid with different areas of your health. Once you become familiar with the different types you can use them as needed. Typically a mantra can range from one syllable up to a combination of extensive sounds depending on what you are trying to accomplish in your meditation. It is recommended that you learn mantras from a teacher rather than reading from a book or other literature. With so many different mantras out there today you will want to choose your mantras carefully so that you get the desired result.

When you practice mantra meditation you are centering your core being. You are learning to calm your mind, focus your inner energy and put yourself at peace mentally and spiritually. With mediation practice you can become calmer, more focused and less stressed at everyday activities. It is important for everyone to know how to slow their bodies down and reconnect with their inner self on a regular basis. You will feel rejuvenated and more centered after mediation with mantras and will be able to go through your day more effectively and balanced.

One well-known mantra is the “Om” mantra. This mantra when repeated during meditation can bring a calming and balancing effect on you. The sound itself is easy enough to repeat for anyone and can be practiced for short or long periods of time depending on the overall purpose of the meditation. If you are just starting out with mantras during meditation you will want to start off slowly with practices of only a short amount of time until you become more practiced.

Mantras can be performed in coordination with your inhalations and exhalations of breath. This could be easily done for any beginner. The Om mantra can be long and drawn out with each breath in and each breath out at the beginning. When you become more practiced in the art of meditation and using mantras you can begin to use pulsing tones with your mantras in order to reach a different result from mediation. You may find once you change up your mantras to pulsing tones or other mantras you will feel more energized and get different effects.

You will find that during mantra meditation your mind will wander significantly. At the beginning it is normal for your mind to race and fill up with all of the thoughts of the day. We live in a busy world where silent, calming time is few and far between. Once you begin to practice mantra meditation more and more you will find your mind will calm easier and quiet itself. If you find thoughts coming and going, just let them be and be mindful of them without letting them take over your mantra meditation.

© Copyright 2014 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about our selection of online yoga instructor certification intensives.

If you are a teacher, yoga school manager, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is, including the resource box above. Namaste!

Related Posts:

The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra

Yoga Mantras for Different Purposes

Yoga Mantras for Managing Anxiety

Yoga Instructor Training: Mantras for Tranquility

Share


Tips for Observing and Assisting Yoga Students

August 10th, 2014

about emotional counselingBy Avalon Hicks

The practice of yoga is essential for many aspects of physical, mental and spiritual health. Yoga is known as a Hindu spiritual practice that includes controlled breathing, meditation, mantras and holding many different body postures in order to aid in relaxation and promote health benefits. Many benefits of yoga can include self-awareness, mental calmness and even strength and flexibility. If you have been practicing yoga for some time and want to teach others there are some points that you need to keep in mind while you begin the road to teaching others about your practice.

If you are new to teaching yoga there are several things to make note of in order to be an effective and helpful teacher. Firstly you should realize that not everyone will absolutely love your practice the way you do. Everyone learns the practice at their own pace and while you may favor Hatha yoga, others will prefer Bikram yoga. How you approach students’ learning is an important aspect to developing a relationship with them that you can build on as you go through the classes.

Keep your vocabulary simple and speak slowly. Often students will be new to the practice and will need to be explained poses in simple terms rather than Hindu or Sanskrit references. Speaking slowly and clearly will help your students remember what you are saying and aid them in performing the poses that you want them to complete.

Leave your own mat when possible. Do not stay at the front of the class the entire time, but rather walk through your class. Offer suggestions to your students’ poses such as modifications or advanced moves when the poses allow. Remember that all of your students will progress through the poses at their own pace and may require modifications based on their own needs. Your students will thank you for the individualized attention you can give them during the class.

Be sure to practice different sequences that you want to do in class beforehand. You will want to be able to show the flow of movement properly and effortlessly for your class rather than not being prepared enough. Every teacher no matter what class they teach should be prepared and part of being a yoga teacher is having your poses determined before class.

Remember that even through you are the teacher, you will never stop learning. Keep in mind that your students can teach you something every class. Be open to learning from them as often as they learn from you. Take other classes to learn from other teachers as well as teaching your own students. Try to learn about many different types of yoga so that you are open to many different styles for your students.

Practice up on your adjustments so that you are able to help your students no matter how seasoned they are at their practice. You will need to study anatomy more closely in order to understand them better for your students. Pair up with another teacher and perform adjustments on one another so you become familiar with hands-on experience before you begin classes.

Be open with your students. Try to help them learn how to connect with their inner-self and find inner peace through yoga. Explain to them about your own practice and talk them through your own journey so they can see how you progressed as a student to teacher. Build up a rapport with them by letting them in and expressing your love for the practice. Let them know that yoga is a expedition that will never be completed but rather an on-going journey.

© Copyright 2014 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about our selection of online yoga instructor certification intensives.

If you are a teacher, yoga school manager, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is, including the resource box above. Namaste!

Related Posts:

Yoga Instructor Training: The Teacher Within

Four More Yoga Posture Safety Tips

Five Tips for Teaching Pregnant Yoga Students

 

Share


Making Unrealistic Claims About Yoga

August 7th, 2014

Kneeling Side Plank VariationBy Azahar Aguilar

Unrealistic yoga claims. As teachers, you’ve all been there before. Either to overhear others or to hear the words come out of your own mouth,  “Yoga is like a natural sleeping pill, an anti-anxiety medication, a weight-loss goldmine, prevents heart attacks, and will make you live past 100 year-old with the face of a 20 year-old.  It’s true! My sister’s best friend’s brother’s neighbor is 101 and swears by it.”

With the spread of yoga around the world from India over the past century, especially mainstreamed in the West within the past two decades, misconceptions inevitably pop up and dilute the truth.  Frustrated students may walk away if the practice is not talked about and taught clearly.

So, when do claims become more hearsay than fact, and where do you draw the line with exaggerations that yoga will make people superhuman?

Do your own research to clarify your own explanations

As an instructor, you come from a place of love for your students. Just like it is difficult to describe the feeling of love, it is difficult to interpret how yoga changes a person’s mindset, attitude, body, and ailments over a period of time. While it may not be eloquent, often studies with demonstrated scientific facts help clearly outline what benefits exist in a certain posture, just as it would with what the brain does under the influence of love.

Unfortunately, the actual amount of scientific yoga studies lack in comparison to how long the practice has existed; yet there are millions of incredible personal stories on yoga and its amazing benefits.  So where to start?

A recent resource, The Science of Yoga, written by yogi William Broad, outlined scientific studies along with his own experience of the practice for a number of decades. He references different medical publications, as well as the research behind certain postures or benefits in yoga.  While controversial, it is a good starting point for anyone interested in a rounder opinion of yoga.

Have fun with your research, and your own classes will benefit in claims you regularly like to tell your clients, such as how yoga reduces anxiety, for example.  Peace of mind will follow as you solidify the sources of benefits in certain yoga asanas, and know what exaggeration sounds like. Accumulate a list of publications as a resource to refer students or friends to. Memorize a couple of the facts for ease of use in conversation, short of carrying around various studies of yoga around in your yoga pants. It also will help for those that challenge your statements!

While a specific study may have one outcome, patience, dedication and realistic expectations are factors students must remember as well.

If you do decide to personally speak to a specific asana or style of yoga, and how it has helped you (because personal stories are so powerful), just be sure to highlight the fact that every person is different, every body is different and every circumstance is different.

Make Satya a Priority

To ask a question of yoga, the best place to search for the answer is within yoga itself – Specifically in The Yoga Sutra, the art of living. In this eight-limbed yoga path, nestled in the Yamas (Universal Morality) is Satya. Satya is to speak the truth.  Consider what, how and the effect your truth and the truth have on people.  Satya states that honest communication is free from exaggerations, mistruths or deliberate deception that would hurt others.

As a yoga teacher it is natural to be infused with excitement to tell anyone that will listen, especially an enthusiastic new student, about the amazing benefits this practice holds. However, it is important to balance this love with a place of truth and patience.  While all you want to do is simply inspire a new yoga student, frustration may set in too early on if his or her expectations are sky high or extremely specific.

Take the time to highlight the fact that every person has his or her own experience with yoga, and to try as many different kinds until s/he finds one that speaks more personally.  The pillars of patience and gentleness should weave throughout this journey.

Remind yourself and your students that yoga is just one branch of eight in the philosophy of a true life of yoga.  Meditation, kindness practice, breath work, and other disciplines will round out the mind and body and balance specific claims.

Love Your Yoga Enough to Speak from a Place of Educated Truth

Yoga has many healing properties and can do many amazing things.  From mind to body and the energy in between, it is a sacred practice for a reason.  When a practice incorporates body, mind and spirit, it’s little wonder most of the claims have a base in truth.

So while you highlight studies and personalized benefits for practitioners, it is important to also equalize the information and remind practitioners to listen to their body for Every Day is different. Encourage your students to take it slow, research on their own, and use yoga as just one tool in the path to a whole and healed self.

© Copyright 2014 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about our selection of online yoga instructor certification intensives.

If you are a teacher, yoga school manager, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is, including the resource box above. Namaste!

Related Posts:

Yoga and Health

Yoga for Cancer Survivors

Yoga and Pregnancy

Share


Knowing When to Refer Yoga Students

August 2nd, 2014

how to refer yoga clientsBy Azahar Aguilar

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” – Henry Adams

A yoga student will ideally have many yoga teachers in his or her lifetime. One teacher cannot act as an expert in all styles, modalities and afflictions, especially with the diversity of the human population, the human body and the number of options in yoga styles today.

As an instructor, you must remember each time you step into the studio, the ego must be removed when you direct a group of students. Teach to the best of your ability, and recognize when a practitioner has the opportunity to learn from another teacher.  Each student is on a specific and unique yoga path; try not to be the one to disrupt or confuse that process, know when to refer your students.

The Three Major Types of Referral Opportunities

New practitioners, prenatal or postnatal students and those with physical or mental afflictions need the most love, attention and care typically.  Bless these students with the opportunity to learn from other teachers that specialize in these areas if you feel uncomfortable with them.

New students may have many questions about specific postures.  While you are able to answer most questions from beginning practitioners, often times there are teachers that connect with new students and have a unique way of introducing them to the practice.  Allow these teachers to share their gifts in this area, and take the time to refer new students to them.

Most pregnant women usually inform you how far along they are (if it is their first studio experience with you), and that they might do a modification of their own in class.  They seem to be very informed with prior research on posture adaptations and major positions to avoid. So, even if they do not ask, it is appreciated when you offer specialized courses or teachers for them.  With every bit of advice or encouragement, always end the conversation with “check this out with your doctor too.”

Students with physical and mental injuries or afflictions require a lot of love and attention.  Some practitioners speak up about questions and alert you to aches, pains or mood disturbances. Others you only may notice as you walk around the room during class.

Take the time to learn a few modifications for the most common physical (shoulder pain, low back injuries, knee problems, and ankle issues) and mental (anxiety, non-clinical depression, stress), but have a comfortable line ready to refer them if their question or behavior in class seems to surpass your level of comfort.  Think of a gentle way to offer a recommendation to another teacher with a similar injury, specialty in anatomy or focus in mental afflictions.  Reiterate to ask their doctor as well, but especially if you do not know specialist within your yoga community.

Focus on Your Strongest Niches

Understand where you feel most calm, at peace and energized in styles of yoga that you teach.  These are your home bases.  Take the time to learn everything you can about these niches, talk to your students after class, and others may begin to refer to you when they have questions or practitioners that require more knowledge in these areas.

When aches, pains or life experience occur on your own journey (bodily injuries or pregnancy), take them as an opportunity to become well versed in the area.  Students respect and trust someone that has coped with a similar bodily injury or life experience, and will want to learn from your process.

Wrap Your Referral with the Gift of Other Offerings

Love yourself and your students enough to continue your own education.  If a student walks into class and asks for modifications or to target mental care, offer your guidance, but don’t be afraid to recommend another teacher or medical professional with more experience.  Supplement your referral with recommendations in other resources such as books, videos and specialty classes, and take the time later to look up important modifications to have on hand for the future if you feel a bit rusty. There is nothing wrong with admitting that while you are a trained instructor, your specialty lies elsewhere, and you don’t have the experience with a specific topic to feel comfortable as an authority on the subject.

Teachers may feel a need to be authoritative in all subjects of yoga, but students will understand you can’t be an expert in every practice or situation.  It takes more love to refer your students to another practitioner or medical professional with experience in the area.  At the same time let them know the areas you are well versed in, in case they have future questions in that yoga subject.

Never stop looking for opportunities to expand your knowledge. If you feel uncomfortable with certain modifications, but it comes up consistently as a question, have a few modifications on hand.  Just take the time to offer a referral after class to supplement your adjustment.

To Refer a Student Comes from a Place of Love and Truth

Continually learn and explore.  Take new classes, hang out with other yoga teachers, find a yoga mentor, and read yoga articles and books.  Fascinate yourself with the diversity of this practice and the number of afflictions that it unlocks. Practice your referral conversation so it feels natural and filled with love.

As a teacher you affect the lives of your students and those around them.  Your students will thank you for the love behind your referral.

© Copyright 2014 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about our selection of online yoga instructor certification intensives.

If you are a teacher, yoga school manager, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is, including the resource box above. Namaste!

Related Posts:

Teaching Yoga: Student Safety is Top Priority

How Yoga Teachers Can Prevent Student Injuries

Correcting Yoga Students in Standing Postures

Value of Compassion in Correcting Yoga Students

Share


Should Yoga Teachers Give Emotional Counseling?

July 29th, 2014

emotional counselingBy Eleanor Bartel

At its core, yoga is a healing practice that works on a variety of levels. It affects the physical body, the mind, and it also has a spiritual and emotional effect on people. The emotional aspect of yoga can often come out unexpectedly in a class, especially in certain poses that encourage emotional release, like camel pose and child’s pose. As a yoga teacher, it is important to recognize these emotions in students and help them through it. Sometimes, this involves recommending outside emotional counseling for more serious personal issues.

Recognizing Emotional Breakthroughs

Emotional breakthroughs can be sudden and intense in yoga class. Certain poses can release a flood of emotions for students, from elation to deep sadness. These emotions may come out in the form of laughter or crying. As a yoga instructor, you should be prepared for these events to occur in your class, whether you teach a relaxing meditative session or a fast-paced power yoga class. Recognize the common poses that can trigger these breakthroughs – heart-openers, intense backbends, and restorative positions are all common emotional triggers. If you see a student struggling with their emotions during your class, approach them gently. Make sure they know that these types of emotional breakthroughs are common in yoga practice, and that’s it is perfectly acceptable to express what they are feeling through tears or laughter. Do you best to maintain a compassionate and understanding demeanor – many students will be embarrassed or ashamed at being unable to control their feelings in a public setting.

Discussing Emotions 

As a yoga teacher, it is perfectly acceptable to discuss emotions and their relation to the practice either in your class or outside of the studio. To help your students connect with their inner selves, you can introduce poses that encourage emotional breakthroughs and teach students how to recognize and celebrate the feelings that come up. Because many people are used to hiding their emotions in public, yoga class is a good place to experiment with allowing feelings to show, without shame or embarrassment. You should encourage students to consider their emotions in every class, whether they are there for fitness, rehabilitation, or for spiritual growth. Anyone can benefit from having an open-minded teacher who doesn’t let the emotional aspect of yoga fall by the wayside.

Recognizing Your Limits 

Yoga teachers are well versed in many areas of emotions, but sometimes people will need more help then you are equipped to give. It is good to be prepared with resources for mental health professionals, support groups, and hotlines. If someone is really struggling with deep seated issues coming up from their past, you may want to recommend deeper therapeutic options that can help them work through it. While yoga should be continued as a great way to confront emotions and reduce stress, it may not always be enough. As an instructor, it is important to recognize when you are out of your depth and when you should consider recommending another professional. While you can still be there for your student and support them through your classes, you should not be the only one they can turn to. There is nothing wrong with having a strong network of support for difficult emotional breakthroughs.

There is a lot that yoga teachers can do for students experiencing emotional breakthroughs. As an instructor, you can offer support and healing through the practice of yoga. However, it is important to remember that you are not a licensed counselor or therapist. In some cases, your student may need more to get through a difficult time. Be prepared for these issues to arise through the healing practice of yoga and support your students the best you can.

© Copyright 2014 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about our selection of online yoga instructor certification intensives.

If you are a teacher, yoga school manager, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is, including the resource box above. Namaste!

Related Posts:

Teaching Yoga: Regulating Emotional Flow

Restoring Emotional Balance with Yoga Exercises

Kids Yoga for Emotional Guidance

Share


Yoga as Mental Exercise

July 26th, 2014

yoga as a mental exerciseBy Avalon Hicks

For years, yoga has been praised as a spiritual and physical practice able to increase flexibility in the body and help reduce stress. However, there are specialized programs that use yoga as a form of mental exercise designed to increase focus and clarity of thought. This type of Yoga has been used in several studies and has been shown to have significant results in both adults and children.

The techniques are simple and easy to do as is most yoga practices in their basic forms. This means that no matter your body type or activity level, whether you are flexible or not, you can benefit from what yoga has to offer both mentally and physically. If you are experiencing issues with mental clarity and memory, then using yoga as a mental exercise may help.

If you are experiencing certain neurological conditions or if you suffer from a learning disability, then you may find some help through yoga. There have been studies done showing that doing yoga can have a positive effect on the mind as well as the body. It can help with mental clarity and focus and can help when it comes to remembering and even retaining information.

Consider what causes loss of mental acuity and focus in your life. Is it a disease, stress, just lack of time to rest and relax? The reason behind it goes a long way to determining which type of yoga is going to work best for what you need. There are multiple exercise, techniques, and one of the great things about yoga is that you can put these together to create something that works to give you what you need to maximum benefit.

Once you have determined the cause, consider the various options open to you. Try doing the basic set of yoga movements. Add them as needed and see how the results work for you. You may need yoga a few times a week or every day. Everyone is different. Do not be afraid to experiment with the various practices to find the one that works best for you.

To give yourself a quick boost at the office consider doing the following exercise, it has been proven to increase mental focus and clarity and all that is necessary is a small bit of space, you can do it right in your office next to your desk. The exercise is simple; you place your tongue against your palette, then cross your arms with your left going under your right. Grasp your earlobes gentle with the thumb on the front index finger on the back. Then do a set of squats – 14-21 of them. You will need to inhale as you go down, exhale as you go up. This combines yoga principles with that of acupressure and has been tested in hospitals and classrooms. It was found to improve overall mental focus.

Many times people lose their mental focus because their mind is tired. We live in a fast-paced world with high demands. Most people do not do enough to relieve the pressure that builds up on the body and mind. Yoga is a great way to relieve that stress and pressure. The less stress you have the more you will be able to focus. Consider the benefits yoga can bring to you as a mental exercise and a way to help give your brain what it needs to support you in your everyday life. There are many different options available, check the internet and your local listings to find out about Yoga and where classes are located.

© Copyright 2014 – Avalon Hicks / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about teaching yoga students and our selection of online yoga instructor training courses.

If you are a teacher, yoga school manager, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is. Namaste!

Related Posts

Yoga For Physical and Mental Wellness

Yoga and Meditation – The Keys to a Healthy Body and Mind

Igniting the Creative Spark with Yoga: Skull Shining Breath

Share


Yoga for Emotional Turmoil

July 25th, 2014

yoga for emotional turmoilBy Avalon Hicks

Emotional turmoil, it is something that preys on your mind constantly even if it is not in the forefront. All the worries you currently have, even if you put them aside out of your active conscious thought the pressure they present to your mind and body is still there. It can create a number of issues for you from lack of focus to depression. If it is something active you are dealing with, it can make it so that everything you try to do becomes overwhelming or you have difficulty getting even the smallest thing done. This simply adds more pressure to both the mind and the body.

Yoga is a great way to help get over emotional turmoil or deal with it, if it is currently something going on in your life. Yoga is more than just a physical way to move your body and gain flexibility. It is more than a spiritual practice. It is more than a mental discipline. It brings together all three elements, the body, the mind, and the spirit. It works to bring these into balance.

The first step is to relax the body. When your body is tense, everything is harder. It is hard to deal with emotions and harder to do even the basic daily tasks of life and work. This in turn makes everything that much harder. The movements in Yoga help to stretch the muscles and loosen them. As muscles loosen, tension is released. Once your body starts to relax you can use both the moments and the breathing techniques to help expel that tension from the body.

Once the pressure is off the mind, the movements and breathing of Yoga are designed to help structure thoughts and allow you to slow your mind down. This gives you the opportunity to process what is happening. It can give you the calm center necessary to deal with any type of tragedy. There is also a spiritual component that has nothing to do with religion. Spirit is important; it helps you with your ability to deal with things. A strong spirit has the ability to face difficult situations with strength. Yoga helps you to rediscover this spirit and awaken it within yourself.

It gives you the chance to remind yourself that you are a strong person or discover you are a strong person able to deal with whatever life sends your way. You do not have to become trapped by your own emotional turmoil. Yoga can help you gain the perspective you need to place your emotions in perspective and handle whatever situation has caused the emotional upset currently creating havoc with your life.

You may think that you do not have the time to do Yoga. You are already dealing with an emotional crisis and everything that it brings with it. You may feel that adding one more thing to your schedule may just be too much. If you are unable to attend classes, consider watching a video, many of them are available online and can provide you with a great starting point. If you do not think, you have time for the entire process start with just the breathing exercises.

The breathing exercises are an integral part of Yoga. It is one part of Yoga that can be done anywhere you are and no matter what you are doing. You will find that once you have the breathing down you will start to feel better and be able to deal with things better. Eventually you will find that you can easily add Yoga to your daily routine to help calm emotional turmoil.

© Copyright 2014 – Avalon Hicks / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about teaching yoga students and our selection of online yoga instructor training courses.

If you are a teacher, yoga school manager, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is. Namaste!

Related Posts

Teaching Yoga: Regulating Emotional Flow

Restoring Emotional Balance with Yoga Exercises

Kids Yoga for Emotional Guidance

Share


How and When Should We Teach Pranayama

July 24th, 2014

how should we teach pranayamaBy Azahar Aguilar

Life breath, life energy, life force. Pranayama is the vital energy behind a yoga asana practice, and instructors have the opportunity in every class to make time for the basics, if not more advanced techniques as well. Wonderful moments exist at the beginning, middle or end of a practice, no matter the style of class, which offer space for the instructor to speak on the importance of pranayama, and the tools that guide prana energy.

If new faces populate an instructor’s class, the simple emphasis of pranayama building blocks can create such a different experience for yoga students. Duo space exists to remind veterans to focus on the prana, and to newcomers, the opportunity to view their breath and body anew.

Certain practices have pranayama exercises and explanations built directly in, Bikram and Hot Yoga does this well by always incorporating Pranayama at the beginning of the course with Standing Deep Breathing and at the end with Kapalabhati (Skull Shining Breath). Other practices can incorporate attention on the breath exercises in key poses.

Standing Deep Breathing: At the beginning of class, the pupils stand tall, feet slightly separated, shoulders pulled back, crown of the head lifted. Gather the hands together in a fist down to the webbing, and place the thumbs against the throat and the knuckles underneath the chin. Relax the shoulders and exhale out all stale air through the mouth. Slowly lift the elbows up toward the ceiling on an inhale through the nose, to the count of five or six seconds, biceps parallel and shoulders stay down. Once the elbows reach shoulder height, slowly exhale out the breath for the same five to six seconds, through an open mouth. At the same time tilt the head back to open the throat, squeeze the elbows as close together as possible with arms parallel with the floor. Repeat this process ten times, and bring elbows down to neutral to complete each circle and begin again.

As the practitioners activate their bellies in this exercise, encourage them to fully fill the belly with breath – to expand it out into the room, and with the inhale, pull the belly button into the spine, to allow all the air to press out fully. This sets the energy for the entire class, and allows an immediate connection to the prana.

Tree: Midway through class, from a tall standing position, take the right leg and press the bottom of the foot in a kickstand with toes pressed in the ground for beginners, against the calf for intermediates, inside the thigh for more advanced, or inside the hip crease on the left leg (outside knife edge of the right foot pressed there), and remind the body to pull the right knee toward the back of the mat for alignment with the left knee.

Allow the pupils to place one hand on the belly and one hand over the chest when in their own version of tree. Take a breath and focus the students on the movement there, the feel of the rise and fall of the belly. Actively press the belly out and notice the lift and expansion on the inhale – and then allow it to collapse back towards the spine with exhale. Continue this conscious breath and body movement for the length of tree, all the while focusing the drishti, the gaze, at a solid point in the room in front of the practitioner.

Kapalabhati (Skull Shining Breath): To end class (before Savasana), with eyes closed sit in a comfortable seated position (Lotus, hips over heels or laying down), with the hands resting long (on the knees if comfortable), spine tall, and exhale out used breath. Breathe in halfway, then quickly snap the belly up and into the spine on exhales, while at the same time blow out air through the mouth as though there were a candle six inches in front of the face. Breaths are fast and sharp. Repeat quickly thirty times slow, and thirty times fast, and check in with how the body feels the entire time (as this is a more advanced technique).

Savasana: The end of class is another beautiful space to teach the technique to feel the belly lift and fill, and collapse and empty. Again, use the hands on the stomach and/or one on the belly and one on the heart, to allow the practitioners to fully feel what their body does during the full breath – new and veteran yogis both. With the earth underneath the body as complete support, the breath feels much different than it did in the standing tree exercise above.

All of these options also give the instructor space to walk around the room and connect with a row of students at a time. Watch how the bodies take in breath, and move to help certain yogis connect more fully and safely.

At some point in the class, offer the space for practitioners to ask questions after class, and communicate pranayama, especially more advanced methods, are difficult to perform correctly. This also opens the door to one’s education on the subject.

Breath must have a center stage moment (or many moments) in each yoga class. The importance, technique and reminder to connect with the sacred life force allow students a fuller and safer yoga experience. Honor the breath, energy, life force, and soul of the yoga asana practice by acknowledging the tools of breath.

© Copyright 2014 – Azahar Aguilar / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about teaching yoga students and our selection of online yoga instructor training courses.

If you are a teacher, yoga school manager, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is. Namaste!

Related Posts

Intermediate Pranayama Exercises for Trauma Survivors

Common Pranayama Techniques for a Yoga Class

Pranayama Exercises for Trauma Survivors

 

Share