Yoga & Self-Hypnosis to Quit Smoking

September 6th, 2014

how to quit smokingActually it’s simple and easy to stop smoking.

Many people find it difficult and are unable to quit because they don’t know how to invoke cooperation from their subconscious mind, how to harness that power in their everyday lives and so become the individual they want to be. By practicing yoga and self-hypnosis, we can find joy and pleasure that within days to weeks will empower an individual to quit smoking and remain a nonsmoker for the rest of his or her life.

In his second yoga sutra, Patanjali defines yoga as the “conscious process of gaining mastery over the mind”. By practicing self-hypnosis, asanas, pranayamas, kriyas and meditation, we develop awareness of our body, breathing and thoughts. This awareness awakens inner knowledge and wisdom that helps us better know ourselves. Thus we gain mastery over our mind and learn how to use this power towards helping the individual locate a healthier, happier lifestyle. We become instinctively more health-conscious, more aware of what we do and what we eat. We develop a powerful inner drive to do things that are good for our health and avoid things that are harmful.

To quit smoking through yoga and self-hypnosis, I have developed a simple, practical and effective method anyone can try.

There are three steps:

1) “Positive thinking brings me what I wish”

mudras in yoga therapyMany find it difficult to quit because they already believe it is difficult to quit: a self-fulfilling (or unfulfilling) prophecy. They find themselves unable to do it, therefore they are unable to do it: “As you think, so you become.”

By practicing this method of self-hypnosis I have developed, an individual develops a strong positive attitude that you can in fact live the life you would like, you can become a nonsmoker and it is easy for you to do this.

Here’s the exercise to practice:

In the morning when you wake up (or any time you wake up) as you open your eyes and before getting out of bed, please repeat this sentence: “Positive thinking brings me what I wish” 20 times in your mind. Then get out of bed. In this state, there is now a good communication flow with the subconscious and so useful suggestions and ideas will imprint more easily onto the subconscious mind. Repeat this sentence sometimes during the day, with an attitude of joy and pleasure, particularly any time a negative thought or temptation arrives that is connected to smoking. This sentence can also be repeated during self-hypnosis, asanas and after pranayamas and meditation.

2) Imagined scenarios, ‘imaginations’

The next, equally important step is picturing yourself as a nonsmoker in certain places and situations.

Many unwanted habits are programmed, deeply rooted in the subconscious mind and repeat themselves in a destructive cyclical pattern. These habits can be deprogrammed by the power of positive auto suggestions and also by what I call “imaginations”.

Here are some examples to practice in addition to the imaginations you may want to develop for yourself.

  • Imagine it is the morning and you are having breakfast, drinking tea or coffee: You feel good that you are a nonsmoker.
  • Imagine it is after your meal and feel good that you are a nonsmoker.
  • Imagine you are working with a computer and you are a nonsmoker.
  • Imagine you are making an important decision and you are a nonsmoker.
  • Imagine you are talking with your relatives, friends or colleagues and you are a nonsmoker.
  • Imagine you are waiting for a friend who is already late and you are a nonsmoker.
  • Imagine you are having a walk and you feel fresh and energetic. You feel good that in the last few days you didn’t smoke at all.
  • Imagine you are climbing up a hill or mountain and feeling strong and energetic. You realize your lungs feel clear and healthy because you did not smoke for weeks.
  • Imagine you are laughing, recognizing that your lungs are clear because for many months you did not smoke.
  • Imagine in general about yourself that you are very healthy and a non-smoking person.

In addition to practicing these imaginations during self-hypnosis, they can also be practiced during asanas and after pranayamas and meditation. They are also effective when practiced after waking up from sleep or before getting out of bed.

3) “I am always healthy, and I am a nonsmoker”

about yoga as therapyThe final step is to develop a strong attitude towards a healthy life, so that we do things that are good for our health and avoid things that are bad, like smoking.

The sentence “I am always healthy, and I am a nonsmoker” should be repeated during self-hypnosis and also during yoga asanas, pranayamas and meditation. It should also be repeated sometimes during the day, particularly any time a negative thought or a temptation to smoke invades the conscious mind.

Self-hypnosis practice (10-15 minutes):

After completing yoga asanas, lie down in the shavasana posture, allowing the back to fully rest on the ground, legs apart, hands slightly away from the body, palm facing the sky, eyes gently closed and face smiling.

Now start relaxing the entire body for about five minutes. Start from the toes, directing the mind to different parts of the body and so propagating a feeling of relaxation.

Please bring your awareness to your toes; slightly move them and let them relax. Relax the feet … relax the calf muscles … relax the knee joints … relax the thigh muscles … relax the buttocks and pelvic region.

Relax the muscles of the abdomen and let all the organs in the abdomen relax and function nicely in harmony.

Relax the chest muscles and let all the organs in the chest relax and function nicely in harmony.

Relax the muscles, nerves and bones in the lower back region … relax the muscles, nerves and bones in the middle back region … relax the muscles, nerves and bones in the upper back and shoulder region.

Relax the arms … relax the elbows … relax the forearms … relax the hands and fingers. Relax the throat … relax the neck muscles … relax the back of the head … relax the top of the head … relax the forehead … relax the eyes … relax the nose. Relax the ears … relax the face muscles, chin, lips, tongue and teeth.

Tell your mind to relax your whole body and mind.

Now bring your awareness to your abdomen, feel the abdominal muscles moving up and down … as you inhale, feel the upward movement and as you exhale, feel the downward movement of your abdominal muscles. Feel your breathing become slow, smooth, calm and rhythmic.

One inhalation and one exhalation forms one round. Keep observing your breathing for 20 rounds by counting each breath down from 20 to 1.

After 20, follow the three steps of self-hypnosis:

1) Mentally repeat to yourself 10 times: “Positive thinking brings me what I wish.”

2) Imagine yourself in situations as a nonsmoker.

3) Mentally repeat to yourself 10 times: “I am always healthy, and I am a nonsmoker.”

Now gently move your whole body, your toes and fingers, your head. Count from 1-5 and by the count of 5, open your eyes and feel fresh and wonderful.

Auto suggestions and imaginations during asanas and after pranayama and meditation:

Auto suggestions and imaginations can also be dropped easily into the subconscious mind during asanas and after pranayama and meditation.

While practicing asanas, as you come to the final position of a particular asana, concentrate on the point of stretch for 20-30 seconds and then, holding that position, mentally repeat three times either “Positive thinking brings me what I wish” or “I am always healthy, and I am a nonsmoker”. After three repetitions, slowly return to the relaxing position.

First observe your body, breathing and mind and then imagine yourself in a situation where

you are a nonsmoker. Then continue with the next asana and while in the final position, repeat three times another auto suggestion and as you come back to the relaxing asana imagine yourself in another situation where you are a nonsmoker. And so on. Continue like this.

After completing your pranayama or meditation, follow the three steps of self-hypnosis:

1) Mentally repeat to yourself 10 times: “Positive thinking brings me what I wish.”

2) Imagine yourself in situations where you are a nonsmoker.

3) Mentally repeat to yourself 10 times: “I am always healthy, and I am a nonsmoker.”

Then count 1-5, open your eyes and feel fresh and wonderful.

Wishing you all a better, healthier and happier life,

Dr. Sohail Ebady

About the author:

how to stop smoking with yogaDr. Sohail Ebady, M.D. has been a yoga teacher for 21 years and hypnotherapist for 20 years. He immediately recognized the need for these seemingly separate sciences to be intertwined. He created the Patanjali Institute to impart Yoga Teacher Training in combination with Hypnotherapy training to students who wish to become effective healers. The courses take part in Thailand or Bali.


How Yoga Purges Addictions

August 23rd, 2014

yoga for addictionsBy Avalon Hicks

Addictions in one form or another can help to slowly destroy anything and everything. From destroying relationships to destroying health and wealth, addictions have been notoriously found, to be at the center of all kinds of negativity.

Most addictions start off as simply being part of a social experiment or a teenage dare, and for some, it stops at just this, but for the vast majority, the simple experiment eventually evolves into something more sinister and nasty. There are addictions that could have started out as medications necessary to treat certain health or mental conditions. There are also addictions that could have been a means or an immediate solution to a dedicate problem or a stressful work situation. Either way, any addiction usually spirals out of control and in more severe cases could result in death.

Some people have turned to yoga as a means of purging themselves of an addiction. There has been reliable research to show that yoga can be used for this purpose and it has been able to achieve successful or at the very least promising results. As addiction not only affects the physical but also the mental wellbeing of the addict, yoga presents itself as the ideal one for all solution, to address both planes.

Through practicing yoga, addicts have been able to address both their mental state of mind and their physical body conditions to bring forth enough positive energy over time, to help combat the addiction. There are several different types of yoga programs that can be used to address any addiction problem and choosing one that most suits the needs of a particular addiction is advised.

Through yoga, the addict learns how to be more aware of the connection between body and mind and how each works in tandem with the other. Yoga helps to create a more nurturing spirit which helps the addict to learn to look within themselves so that they can build strength to face the outside world and its challenges.

Yoga helps to connect the inner energy and strength with a series of movements and poses. Through these sessions the body is encouraged to create high levels of positive energy from within so that any adversity can be faced with the help of the now ever present positive energy. Further yoga sessions will help teach the addict how to focus on the positive and also how to attract positive energy to themselves from their surroundings, thus further fortifying their resistance to the addiction.

Yoga also provides the addict with something to do that involves the use of both mind and body. Generally the practice of yoga does not cost anything and can be done within the confines of one’s personal space. The breathing techniques taught through yoga are very calming and this is very important when attempting to distract oneself from the anxieties that encourage the addictions. This breathing helps to quiet the mind and keep it focused so that the addiction cannot take center stage anymore.

Among the elements that can be successfully achieved with the practice of regular yoga are stronger muscles, better brain function, lower levels of stress, increased energy, better sleep, healthier overall health conditions, an improved mood and mind-set and many others. All these then help the addict to move away from the addiction, mainly because there is no longer a need to find temporary relief from problems faced. With the body and mind now functioning at better levels, it is possible to face life’s challenges without turning to the previous addiction for solace.

The positive energy flow that the practice of yoga brings about, will help the mind and body naturally reject any thoughts connected to addiction.

© Copyright 2014 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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