Sunflowers, Yoga and the Svadisthana Chakra

April 22nd, 2014

svadhisthana chakraBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

As the sun travels toward her yearly zenith point, her warmth and energy begin to permeate the earth, coaxing new life to emerge from its winter stasis. With each passing day, we begin to witness the perennial growth of abundant flowers and plants. The sunshine and warm temperatures also bring bears out of hibernation and the bees back to the business of making honey! Traditionally, the Incas worshiped the yellow color of the sun as a symbol of optimism, happiness, pleasure, and wealth.

If you live in a temperate climate that was quite cold this winter, the very advent of the spring like temperatures and the return of the warmth of the sun’s rays may be inspiring a new found hope and optimism for creative projects, both large and small. This energy of optimism is embodied by the resiliency of the sunflower. The sunflower is a classical symbol of the sun. The vermilion-tinged yellow of the sunflower is also symbolic of the Second Chakra, known in Tantric Yoga as the Svadisthana Chakra.

The Second Chakra is located a few inches above the Root Chakra and just below the navel area. It is strongly connected to one’s place in the world in terms of a sense of home and belonging. The Second Chakra is said to have six petals according to ancient Yogis. These petals resonate with the seed mantra “yam.” This chakra is also strongly correlated with the element water, which is depicted by the silver crescent moon. In the process of balancing the Second Chakra, we are asked to embrace the watery, emotional elements of life and to let life ebb and flow with the symbolic tides.

Although this ebb and flow of life experiences (and frequently the people in our lives) can be painful, allowing things to flow and change is critical to the health of the Svadisthana Chakra. The shadow aspect of the Second Chakra is a clamping down of one’s creativity and sexuality, as well as being mired in issues of jealousy and betrayal. Staying mired in these shadow emotions will ultimately close down one’s creativity and hamper a Yoga practitioner’s ability to sustain a nourishing home base. Symptoms of an unbalanced Second Chakra usually include an inability to experience pleasure, resistance to change and being out of touch with one’s own emotions. Second Chakra imbalances may also be manifest by discomfort in the hips, lower back and reproductive organs.

Healing a Second Chakra imbalance includes the ability to release deeply held physical and emotional tension in the pelvic and hip areas through Yoga postures. If you have a history of sexual abuse, you may want to seek the support of a professional therapist as you gently coax your Second Chakra back into a vibrant state of well-being. Along the path, you may become conscious of experiences that are best integrated with the help of a professional who can offer you therapeutic emotional support and perspective on your experiences.

* Restorative Seated Wide Angle Pose

Restorative Seated Wide Angle Pose is one of the most profoundly relaxing Yoga asanas for opening up the groin and pelvic areas of the Second Chakra. If you would like to practice this Yoga pose in a restorative fashion, you will need a Yoga bolster, a rolled up blanket, or a pile of pillows to rest your head on while you are in the posture. Seated Wide Angle Pose is usually practiced at the end of a Yoga class, just prior to Shavasana.

When you are ready to practice Restorative Seated Wide Angle Pose, come to a comfortable seated position on your Yoga mat with your legs in a wide-angle position comfortably far apart. Place your bolster, blanket or pillows in between your legs. With your next exhale, gently drape your upper body over your bolster, blanket or pillows and rest your forehead on the Yoga prop you are using. Allow your energy to cool down and rest on the support of the earth.

Let the stress and tension melt away as you breath deeply and evenly. For the next several minutes, just rest and relax as you allow your senses to be pulled inward. When you have completed your practice of Restorative Seated Wide Angle Pose, sit up and place your Yoga bolster or blanket to the side and come back into Easy Seat. Pause for a moment and feel the quietude within you before moving into the final poses of your Yoga practice.

© 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 hatha 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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About Yoga for Golfers of All Levels

April 21st, 2014

about yoga teacher certificationBy Rachel Holmes 

Yoga for golfers has a proven track record for improving your posture, which controls your swing because flexibility and stance can dramatically affect your game. These yoga techniques can help prevent golf injuries and even help the golfer recover from injuries sooner. Yoga for golfers can be practiced year-round to help you keep your edge.

To start this session, begin in the Down-Dog position where you are on your hands and knees. This is your relaxed position where you will clear your mind of all negative thoughts that clog your creative mind, which can eventually affect your health. Breathe in deep then slowly exhale this is a great exercise for your lungs. Breathing techniques can strengthen your lungs and increase the air capacity. Do this for one minute. After this, practice breathing through your nose only during your yoga routines.

Now from the Down-Dog position bring the left knee forward keeping the left knee straight up and the left foot is flat on the floor. This is called the Lunge Position. In his position you want the knee straight up and down not to extend beyond the toes. Now begin to gently rock forward then back, but not side to side as this could cause uneven joint movement that may cause problems later on. Do this for about ten repetitions for beginners. As you become more comfortable with this routine, you may want to increase the repetitions. The idea is not to put too much pressure on the ligaments, just enough to flex them. This is great for the posture and swing, which may help to prevent golf injuries.

Now with your left knee still in the upright or Lunge Position, place both hands side by side and next to your left foot and begin to walk your foot left to right in a swing motion. Your foot will actually move in a wiggle fashion with your hands supporting you as you make this swing. Practice your breathing by inhaling into the diaphragm with this routine.

Move back to the Lunge Position and rock back where your left foot is pointing to the ceiling and your heel is on the floor in a Hamstring Position, now rock back to the front. Repeat this routine until you feel the level of intensity that is comfortable for you. Just don’t overdo it. As you start to feel a little looser you may want to increase these routines.

Still working with the left side in the Lunge Position, left the right leg so your right toes are flat on the floor, but fully supporting the right side. This means your heel is facing the ceiling. Now if this position is too much, then keep the right knee on the floor or workout mat. This routine may take time to work into; although you are still getting great benefits, but just not as much.

Next while in this position, place your forehead on the floor, but again if this routine to too much for you, just back out and slowly incorporate it into your full regimen of yoga routines as you feel comfortable. Slowing left yourself up using your arms to support yourself, repeating this exercise to a level of your intensity tolerance. There are no rules just relaxing yoga exercises that are proven to work with your golf game using strength, breathing and agility.

Now switch to the right side and go through all the routines. As you may know, you do not have to keep these routines in the order as demonstrated; you can break them up as you feel. As I’ve said, there are no rules. All these techniques are great for improving your golf swing, focus, balance, endurance and for an overall successful game of golf.

Your breathing is a major part of your workouts and your game as well including focus and concentration. You only need to practice these yoga exercises two to three times a week for an improved and invigorating game of golf, which also can help recover from injuries.

© Copyright 2014 – 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 hatha 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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Red Tulips, Yoga and the Muladhara Chakra

April 20th, 2014

yoga  and the muladhara chakraBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

Finally, spring has sprung, as the saying goes! The time of regeneration and renewal is upon us. It is the time of year when we celebrate the return of succulent flowers, delicate green leaves, birds of all colors, and the warmth of the sun’s rays. As Yoga practitioners and teachers, following the rhythm of the earth around us during our practice will help to align our bodies and minds to the vibrancy of the spring energy the suffuses the world around us.

The tulip is a quintessential spring flower. It represents rebirth and resiliency and is often displayed at Easter time on many church alters. Historically, the tulip was revered in the Ottoman Empire as a symbol of indulgence, plentitude and material abundance. Additionally, it symbolized the veritable manifestation of heaven on earth. The red tulip is also symbolic of the wealth that arises from a steady and solid stance on the earth.

As Yoga students and teachers, we have a number of tools in our “Yoga asana tool kit” to help stabilize and strengthen our stance on the earth. According to Patanjali, who is the famous author of the Yoga Sutras, the regular practice of Yoga asanas, meditation and pranayama exercises are all intended to still the thought waves of the mind and create a steady seat, or asana on the earth, as a foundation from which to do our spiritual practices.

The central chakra that forms the very root of our seat on the earth is the Muladhara Chakra, which is also aptly named the Root Chakra. According to ancient seers and Yogis, this chakra emanates the deep-maroon color of the red tulip. It is the first of seven chakras that follow our spinal column from the pelvic area all the way to the crown of the head. A balanced and healthy Root Chakra is integral to allowing us to stand in a balanced and healthy way on the earth.

When this chakra becomes unbalanced, our very stance on the earth becomes unbalanced. When this chakra is out of balance, we also may experience deep restlessness, anxiety and insomnia. These energy centers ideally move freely and without impediment. However, due to a variety of physical health issues, emotionally painful experiences and/or karmic energy knots our chakras may be come stuck and stagnant. When this happens, our energy is dissipated and we may experience inertia, dullness and lethargy.

Practicing Yoga postures and specific pranayama exercises will help to release stagnant energy and allow the prana to flow freely throughout your chakra system. When the energy is flowing freely throughout the energetic matrix of the body, a Yoga practitioner will feel both relaxed and energized. When the Root Chakra is balanced and healthy, you will feel safe and grounded in the world. Your posture will be upright and your movement through the world imbued with a sense of optimism and dharmic nobility. 

* Utkatasana or Fierce Pose 

There are a number of Yoga poses that help to facilitate a healthy Muladhara Chakra. Most of these poses bring a Yogi or Yogini’s awareness to one’s stance on the earth. Some of the poses that strongly bring a practitioner’s awareness to the Root Chakra are Tree Pose, Standing Forward Fold and Fierce Pose. Utkatasana, or Fierce Pose, is one of the most effective poses for balancing and strengthening the Root Chakra. This is one of the primary Yoga poses of the Sun Salutation B series in Ashtanga Yoga. It is also known as Chair Pose because it resembles the action of sitting in a chair.

To practice Fierce Pose, begin by standing in Tadasana at the front of your Yoga mat. Take a few deep breaths, and with your next inhale raise your hands over your head with your palms facing towards each other. Keep your arms directly above your shoulders and perpendicular to the ground. With an exhale; sink down towards the earth by bending your knees 6-8 inches. Keep your knees comfortably far apart and directly over your ankles. Hold Fierce Pose for 10 full breaths.

When you are ready to come out of the postures, release your arms with an exhale and come back into Tadasana at the front of your Yoga mat. The springtime is a wonderful time to strengthen your awareness of your connection with the earth. If possible, you may wish to practice Utkatasana outside on a patch of fresh, green grass. As you sink down into Fierce Pose, remember to wriggle your toes into the earth as your reach your arms and upper body up to the blue sky of the heavens.

© 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 hatha 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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About Yoga Exercises for Runners

April 16th, 2014

yoga for runnersBy Rachel Holmes

This session of yoga exercises for runners is a combination of beginner, intermediate and advance techniques that will aid and boost the runner. Yoga for runners is proven to enhance the abilities of the runner through meditation, techniques on how to breathe and exercise techniques.

The first exercise for Yoga for runners will begin from the Child’s Pose position by kneeling on the workout mat, spreading your knees wide on the mat and allowing your big toes to touch each other, push your hips down into your heels, work your fingertips forward, tuck your chin close to your chest and place your forehead on the mat.

This is one of many resting postures in yoga that is necessary to start your session by clearing your mind and conditioning your body for an inner body workout, which leads to an outer body workout experience. Allow yourself to let go of whatever stress or tension or tightness you brought to the mat with you. While relaxing, connect to your breathing rhythm, breathing through your nose only. This will help to warm and sooth your body while calming your mind preparing you for your workout flow.

This practice is going to focus on creating strength, stability and flexibility. It will help you to recover from running injuries or prevent any future injuries. It will help your body to be strong and supple.

Now from the Child’s Pose come into the Downward Dog (Down Dog), hands and feet flat on the mat and hips lifted up high. Breathe in Down Dog spreading your fingers apart, pressing your palms forward, draw your chest back, allow your shoulders to roll away from your ears and down your back. Feel your hips move high while feeling your heels move into the mat. Use your breath, with each inhale you lengthen to create space and during the exhale you go deeper. It is your breath that is your guide in yoga.

From Down Dog, walk to the top of your mat to Rag Doll placing your feet hip distance apart hedging forward from your hips folding your arms across each other, tucking your chin deep into your chest allowing your crown to become heavy. Breathe here, soften your knees, feel your heels pressing into the mat and feel the energy rise up the back of your legs, as your hips left high. Release your fingertips from the mat, place feet together with chin tucked to your chest, slowly roll up to a complete standing position one vertebrae at a time. Roll your shoulders back and down spinning your palms open toward your mat. Now feel the energy throughout your body, as you stand tall with every breath.

Raise your hands up as far as you can in the Tadasana position, fingers spread out wide. Allow your shoulders to relax in this position. Now breathe in deep then exhale pulling your elbows down to the small of your back and arch your back backward into a backbend. Now straighten your back up with your palms together high over your head.

Again breathe deep and exhale as you bend forward with your fingertips touching the mat, forehead to your shins. Inhale and halfway lift up where your back is parallel to the mat fingertips touching the mat, when you exhale move to the Chaturanga (pushup) position. Inhale with body in Chaturanga and upper body arched upward.

The tops of your feet should be pressing into the mat, fill your lungs, and then exhale moving back to the downward dog position lifting your hips high. Inhale and raise your right leg high, breathe for a minute in this position while rolling your ankle from left to right, opening and closing your toes. Draw your knee to your nose, which is good for both the asanas for plantar fasciitis and the asanas for hamstrings for developing the foot strength hedging forward with your shoulders directly over your palms and repeat this method until you no longer can. Now switch to the left leg and repeat the exercise.

Move to the Low Lunge position, which is an asanas for hamstrings and asanas for plantar fasciitis with one leg outstretched behind and the other forward but bent with the knee upward and fingertips on the mat creating a straight line from heel to the back of the head. Inhale and raise your hands over your head in the Crescent Lunge position with palms facing each other with fingers spread apart. Breathe deeply in the Crescent Lunge and exhale thoroughly. Drive your heel back and forth and feel the tension as it works the Achilles tendon, when you exhale hover your back knee one inch from the mat. This technique adds strength from the ankle to the hip joint. Now as you inhale straighten your leg back to the crescent position.

Move to the Warrior position, which is having your legs spread out with one foot facing forward flat on the mat and the other behind you sideways for support, with your arms spread out. Here, you will rotate your feet by simply turning them in place without lifting them, almost as if you are tearing your mat. You will end up facing the front to rear and back. This routine is also an excellent for both asanas for hamstrings and asanas for plantar fasciitis.

The half-moon is a balancing position where you will have your left foot flat on the mat and your left fingertips on the mat, your right leg will be extended out and up as high as you can get it. Then go back to the Warrior position and then back to the half-moon using your other side.

Practice these yoga exercises 2-3 times a week balancing the repetitive running on the body. You’ll work on flexibility and over-all strength, as it increases your posture as a runner. Yoga will also help to relax the mind, teach you how to control your breathing, help you to recover from running injuries, and give you an overall feeling of happiness.

© Copyright 2014 – 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 hatha 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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Daffodils, Yoga and the Manipura Chakra

April 15th, 2014

about yoga teacher training and chakra theoryBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

Ok, so you may be wondering, “What do daffodils, Yoga and the Manipura Chakra have in common?” Well, the color yellow, of course! Daffodils are one of the first flowers to peak their heads above the earth during springtime. They represent the continual process of regeneration and the optimism of new beginnings. In the east, daffodils are symbolic of wealth and abundance. In China, the daffodil is strongly associated with good fortune and is culturally associated with the Chinese New Year. In many cultures throughout the world, the color yellow represents lightness, energy, wealth, and the optimism of new beginnings.

The Manipura Chakra is the third chakra or energy center of the body, according to Hindu tradition. It is located at the level of the solar plexus. This chakra is primarily associated with the color yellow and is known as the resplendent gem. This fiery chakra governs the digestive fire, self-esteem and initiative. When the Manipura Chakra is moving freely, an individual’s sense of self-direction and self-esteem are strong. When initiative, self-esteem and the fire to follow through on one’s goals are strong, wealth often follows. However, when this chakra is closed or hampered in some way, a Yoga practitioner may find it more difficult to generate the initiative to start new projects and work towards personal and professional goals.

This sense of determination, energy and optimism may be dulled by the heaviness of the winter season. As springtime arrives, many Yoga practitioners find that there is a new sense of energy and hope that arises from within them. Practicing Yoga asanas that help to dispel inertia and generate more warrior energy will in turn support you in starting new projects and manifesting your dreams. A healthy Manipura Chakra will also make it easier to speak up for yourself, assert your own will in different situations and generate a sense of vitality and warmth in your belly region.

Surrounding yourself with the color yellow, whether it is in the form of a bunch of delicately scented daffodils or yellow pillows and curtains, will also help to nurture a healthy Manipura Chakra. Additionally, offering selfless service to your community and laughing are both said to increase the energy of the Manipura Chakra. In terms of a Yoga practice, incorporating poses that specifically release tension and generate energy in the solar plexus will help to dispel inertia and invigorate your entire being. This invigoration will help to fuel the process of initiating new projects, speaking up for yourself and following through on the many tasks that must be accomplished, in order to make your dreams and goals a reality.

If you are a Yoga teacher, teaching a sequence of Yoga posture during your class that help to generate energy and warmth in the area of the Manipura Chakra will support your students in feeling the warrior energy within their own beings. Likewise, if you are a Yoga practitioner, including Yoga asanas into your practice on a regular basis that nurture the energy and freedom of movement in the solar plexus region will help to dispel any inertia that may have settled into that area of your body during the long, cold winter months. Practicing Warrior I, Warrior II and Warrior III poses are some of the quintessential Yoga asanas aimed at increasing warrior energy throughout the body.

Additionally, practicing twisting postures also helps to release inertia and “stuck energy” in the solar plexus region. Yoga poses such as Eagle Pose, Seated Spinal Twist and Revolved Crescent Lunge all help to generate energy and warmth in the Manipura Chakra. These twisting postures release deep-seated tension in the shoulders and the thoracic spine, which will increase the flow of prana or life force energy throughout your being. A regular practice of Yoga postures that includes many of these poses will be sure to increase your warrior energy and fill you with new vitality and optimism, which will in turn support you in initiating and manifesting your goals, dreams and desires. For detailed instructions on how to practice these postures, please refer to a professional Yoga teacher training website or visit a Yoga studio in your area to receive personalized instruction

© 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 hatha 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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Lilacs, Yoga and the Crown Chakra

April 14th, 2014

power yoga teacher training intensiveBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed 

Many Yogis and Yoginis experienced a cold, difficult and long winter this year. This is particularly true if you live in northern area of the United States. Finally, we are seeing a resurgence of the gentle warming rays of the springtime sunshine. With the sunlight and warmth, comes the unfurling of new leaves and the blooming of spring flowers. The beautifully scented, violet-blue lilac is one of the first flowers to bloom in the springtime. Its heady scent is intoxicating. Symbolically, the lilac is said to represent love. This is all well and good, you may be thinking, but what does this have to do with Yoga? 

The practice of Yoga is a wonderfully effective way to reinvigorate your entire body. When we feel the pulsation of energy throughout our entire being, it is much easier to achieve our dreams and flow with the ever-changing panorama of life experiences. When our life force energy is stuck, it is far more difficult to initiate new projects, articulate our feeling and needs, or even be in touch with our own creative potential. Although the wintertime can be a cozy time of quietude and reflection, it can also be a period of time during the year when stagnation and inertia increase. 

On the other hand, the springtime generates a sense of new energy, optimism and hope that requires the release of stagnation and inertia. Many Yoga postures will help to increase the sense of energy and optimism as deep-seated tension is released through the practice. A regular practice of a variety of Yoga postures will also help to balance the flow of life force energy throughout the entire chakra system. According to ancient Yogic texts found in the Hindu tradition, there are seven main spinning energy centers that lie along the body, known as chakras. 

The violet-blue color of the lilac governs the Sahasrara Chakra, which is located at the crown of the head. This chakra is the seventh chakra in the Hindu depiction of the spinning energy centers that lie along the central axis of the body. Yogis and Yoginis who have experienced this chakra directly describe it as pulsating violet-blue lotus flower with a thousand petals that dance and sway in the internal light of divinity. Symbolically, the Crown Chakra represents the doorway to infinity and oneness with the Divine essence of life. It also represents a sense of detachment from the illusion of the permanence of this world. 

* Supported Headstand 

Inversions of all types will help to increase the flow of prana in the Crown Chakra. This includes Downward Facing Dog, Dolphin Pose and Standing Forward Fold. However, Headstand is one of the most powerfully effective Yoga Postures for increasing the flow of fresh energy, oxygen and nutrients to the Sahasrara.

Headstand is considered to be an intermediate Yoga posture. However, practicing it in a supported fashion along the wall will make it much more accessible to students who are still in the beginning stages of their Yoga practice. 

Headstand is usually practiced towards the end of a Yoga class. When you are ready to practice Supported Headstand, bring your Yoga mat perpendicular to a wall in your home or studio. Come to a kneeling position on your mat facing the wall, and then place your elbows on the mat approximately twelve inches apart with your hands clasped. Your forearms will form a triangle. Shift your weight to your forearms and hands and with an inhale; gently kick your legs up the wall. You may wish to practice a few times with some gentle kicks before extending your legs completely up the wall. 

When you have inverted your body and your legs are resting along the wall, hold Supported Headstand for three to five minutes. Keep your feet flexed and your legs together. Do listen to your body, and if you tire or are experiencing any neck or head pain, come gently out of the posture and rest in Child’s Pose. When you have finished practicing Supported Head Stand, slowly bring your legs down to the mat and rest in Child’s Pose for two to three minutes. You will feel a new sense of aliveness, energy and clarity in your Crown Chakra after practicing Supported Headstand.

© 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 hatha 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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How to Market a Successful Yoga Studio

April 12th, 2014

market a yoga studioBy Sangeetha Saran 

Opening a yoga studio is similar to any other fitness or personal service business. Perhaps, one merely starts as an instructor in someone else’s business. Perhaps, one gets a business loan to rent a studio and hire other instructors as well. Perhaps, one builds the business on the side, teaching yoga during evenings and weekends while working a more conventional job. There is no one right way to get your business off the ground. And, of course, the business model you choose will expand over time. 

5 Ways to Market a Yoga Business 

Marketing a yoga business is no different than marketing any other business where one offers personal services. Although the content and philosophy of yoga may be remarkably different compared to becoming a bodybuilding and fitness instructor, the marketing follows a similar route. 

Here are some ideas successful yoga teachers have used to market their business: 

1. You could attend community events and meet new people where you can share your passion for yoga. 

2. You could visit yoga studios and get ideas on how other teachers market their business, and you can even introduce yourself to the business owner and ask for tips, making it clear that you are not a competitor but planning to set up your own business in a different town or a different part of town. When yoga teachers who run their own business meet someone who does not threaten to limit their own business, they are actually eager to share what they have learned through trial and error. 

3. You could create marketing collateral like business cards, brochures, flyers, and so on. Dispense these freely whenever you meet people socially. However, before you start, spend a great deal of time thinking about what is unique about your business, and what logos, slogans, and even colors will represent your unique approach to yoga. 

4. You could create an online presence consisting of a website, a blog, and a social media network. Connect these online resources to your existing print materials, as well. For instance, if you hand out your business cards at a social event, the recipient should be able to go to your website, follow your blog posts, and even befriend you on your social media pages. 

5. You could study marketing and sales literature, getting a good idea of a wide range of ways people have been able to promote their small business. In promoting any business, advertising is probably the fastest way to get attention, so consider studying how to advertise economically yet effectively. 

Final Thoughts 

While it may feel awkward and difficult to go from the high ideals of yoga philosophy to hawking your wares in the marketplace, remember that this is merely a perception. Instead of thinking of this as labor, consider it a labor of love. Instead of thinking of promoting yourself as marketing, consider it sharing your passion. And instead of thinking of selling your services to those who respond to your marketing efforts, think of it as sharing your own story of personal transformation.

© Copyright 2014 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

To see our complete selection of affordable yoga teacher education programs, please click on the courses and products button in the navigation bar in the upper left section of this page.

If you are a yoga teacher, yoga studio owner, 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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The Evolution of Becoming a Yoga Instructor

April 11th, 2014

becoming a yoga instructorBy Jenny Park 

It seems safe to assume that the majority of yoga instructors start out as students. It is usually a process of metamorphosis from that first day on the mat to making the decision to become a certified teacher. Yoga beginners often are unaware of what they will experience, as they become seasoned yogis. Yet, many experience a transformation so profound they feel propelled to move on from student to instructor. 

If you are considering pursuing yoga as a profession, you should be clear on your objectives and goals. 

• Do you want to teach full-time or just moonlight?

• Do you have a nurturing nature? People often look to their instructors for solace.

• Do you lead a healthy lifestyle? It is always good to set a good example.

• Are you a compassionate person? Will you be able to understand the issues of those injured or unfit clients?

• Are your financial goals realistic? Yoga teachers often make a moderate salary.

• Do you have the confidence needed to stand in front of a classroom of students and teach? 

Once you have addressed some of these important issues and feel assured that indeed, you do have what it takes to make the leap from student to teacher; you are ready to begin the process. 

Transforming from Student to Yoga Instructor 

Step 1. Tell your decision to friends and family. It is quite a journey and you will need all the encouragement and support available during the lengthy transition period. 

Step 2. Decide where and how you will approach your teacher certification. Will you take the minimum required 200-hour program or go for a 500-hour program? Will you do an intensive course over a month or spread it out over a longer time frame on evenings and weekends? It is important to consider your budget and time restrictions. In addition, make sure you feel comfortable with the teacher, as they will have a huge impact on the result. 

Step 3. Your yoga course will touch on some of the philosophical side of yoga. However, you should make it a point to delve into the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and any other reading materials that you feel will give you a deep understanding of the practice. 

Step 4. Walk the talk. If you decide to teach others, you will have to practice what you preach. If you have some lifestyle habits that conflict with the message you want to send, you will need to adjust accordingly.

© Copyright 2014 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

To see our complete selection of affordable yoga teacher education programs, please click on the courses and products button in the navigation bar in the upper left section of this page.

If you are a yoga teacher, yoga studio owner, 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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About Yoga Training for an Inner Quest

April 10th, 2014

eagle poseBy Kimaya Singh

Yoga is widely recognized as a complementary healing system. People seeking relief from the stress and anxiety associated with the present-day fast track life often take refuge in yoga on their quest to bliss and happiness.

The key thing to understand here is that happiness does not involve external conditions and is not dependent on achievements and occurrences that are external to your essential selves. This may sound like a cliché, and yet it is a fact that all our efforts to find happiness outside ourselves are destined to meet with failure. Instead, the perfect state of bliss can only be achieved when we are at one with the true core of our being, which in turn helps us to be in perfect harmony with our surroundings and the outside world. What yoga does is to help us along in this inward quest.

Many yoga techniques are aimed at making our vital energy flow unimpeded and thus attain a true union with our body, which is also a way to transcend our ego. Managing anxiety, or finding states of bliss, or attaining a perfect emotional health – all of these are dependent on a perfect understanding of our own body and how the myriad bodily processes influence our mental states and our actions.

Different yogic techniques and practices such as meditation, quiet asana, guided imagery, slow breathing, etc. are essentially aimed at helping us form a real communion with our own inner self, and thus helping the practitioner resolve physical, mental, and emotional problems that he or she may face during the course of his/her daily life. One way how yoga performs this is by inculcating a practice of proper physical postures and alignment.

Proper posture and alignment is an important factor in maintaining a healthy body and keeping out of harm’s way. And yet, curiously enough, posture and alignment do not often summon the attention they deserve. Our posture directly influences our spinal health and a good spinal health is responsible for the creation of maximum vitality and unimpeded vital energy flows. And yoga practices can be tremendously effective in helping one gain a good spinal health.

Many of us, especially those who work at offices sitting for long hours, are being made to lead a more or less sedentary lifestyle. Sitting at a place for long periods, bad postures, such as slouching, cramped, or humped positions, etc. can result, over a period of time, in conditions like dowager’s hump or what is known in medical terminology as hyper kyphosis. Conditions like this create shortness of breath, restrict breathing flow, make us more vulnerable to fractures and loss of function and balance as we age and also result in increased depression and anxiety in older people. But conditions such as these can be minimized or prevented if one practices yoga regularly. Yogic practices will help you attain proper posture and will correct skeletal alignment, thereby reducing the risks of developing illnesses that flow from a bad posture.

Variously, yogic practices of stretches and deep breathing, etc. help to transform our perceptions of space– both the inner and the outer space. One feels like the space around him has extended and thus stress, which often seems to enclose us quite in a claustrophobic manner, seems to recede and dissolve. This leads to a more creative emotional health and managing anxiety and other stressful conditions become easier for us. Yogic practices also physiologically transform depression and apathy by increasing endorphin levels in our blood and by oxygenating our brain, thereby making it easier for us to achieve states of bliss and fulfillment.

© Copyright 2014 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

To see our complete selection of affordable yoga teacher education programs, please click on the courses and products button in the navigation bar in the upper left section of this page.

If you are a yoga teacher, yoga studio owner, 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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Yogic Practices for the Wandering Mind

April 8th, 2014

yoga for the wandering mindBy Bhavan Kumar

We live in a world saturated by images and where visual stimuli abound. It is not easy to keep your mind from wandering living in such a climate. There are just so many things to distract our mind and thoughts and make us lose focus off things that really and truly matter in our lives. Also, apart from that, our mind has this tendency to wander, daydream, get lost in fantasy, fret about future, relive past moments of happiness, etc. Although these may not seem to be harmful enough at first, they actually are, because a wandering mind serves to disconnect us from our body, and therefore from the present moment. Yoga recognizes this problem and many of the yogic relaxation practices and techniques are therefore geared towards helping us retain focus, develop a trained mind and achieve a real communion with our body and our true inner self.

Yogic techniques can be broadly divided in three separate practices, that of asana or postures, pranayama or breathing, and drishti or focusing. These techniques, practiced together, will help one gain vital energy, perfect physical health, and a state of bliss and happiness. Yogic practices in the west generally tend to focus more on the postures or asana practices, but breathing and focusing are just as important in achieving focus and finding inner peace.

It is not even that you practice these techniques in separation. Most yoga items will combine all of these techniques together. Yoga is, in fact, a practice of holistic self-care. So, even when you are practicing certain yogic postures, you are required to control your breathing the proper way and focus your gaze so that your mind does not wander.

Let us, for a moment, look at the importance of proper breathing practices and breath awareness. Generally, as we pass through daily life and activities, we do not tend to think about breathing. Our body has developed the function of breathing automatically, which means that we do not need to employ conscious awareness for breathing. However, focusing our attention on the breathing process help us to connect with the present moment. Breath awareness makes us more conscious of our body, which is also our present, the moment of the now. Becoming conscious of our body is also a way of transcending our ego which serves to separate us from others, and thus from ourselves, too. This also shows how the yogic practices are closely related to philosophic thoughts and had emerged out of them.

Similarly, the practice of drishti or focusing is meant to still our mind and keep it from wandering into distractions. These practices help us attain a perfectly trained mind. So, even when we are faced with difficulties in life or are tempted by a myriad distractions, we can control our mind and thoughts more effectively and can continue focusing on things that really matter.

On the scientific base of yogic systems, we may mention how yoga relates to SNS and PNS – the two nervous systems in our body. The SNS or sympathetic nervous systems quicken our breath rate, increase blood pressure and heart rates, and stimulate our nerves. While this may be necessary in situations of challenge and hardship, unnecessary stimulation, triggered by unproductive stimuli, can result in health consequences such as migraines, ulcers, heart disease, etc. PNS, or parasympathetic nervous system, on the other hand, reduces blood pressure and slows down breath rate. This means that the blood can then freely travel to glandular, digestive, reproductive, and immune systems – these systems are made up of organs essential to long-term good health and well being. Now, studies show that yogic relaxation practices such as focusing or deep breathing stimulate PNS actions and thus help attain our mind a stillness and our body its healing powers.

© Copyright 2014 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

To see our complete selection of affordable yoga teacher education programs, please click on the courses and products button in the navigation bar in the upper left section of this page.

If you are a yoga teacher, yoga studio owner, 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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