Posts Tagged ‘yogic practices’

Yoga and the Four Gateways of Speech: Is it Kind?

Monday, June 11th, 2012

yoga instructorBy Faye Martins

The Four Gateways of Speech are four incisive questions that are considered prior to engaging in conversation. This contemplative spiritual practice has its origins in Sufi tradition. As we consider whether or not what we are going to express is true, necessary, kind and appropriately timed, we are able to decide if we should proceed in initiating such a conversation.

These four questions can be beautifully woven into other Yogic practices that are ultimately intended to create and sustain physical health and clear and quiet the mind. As we take a moment to pause and consider the Four Gateways of Speech, we are afforded the opportunity to evaluate whether or not initiating our intended conversation will uplift our own spirits as well as the hearts of those with whom we spend time.

In order to determine if an intended conversation is kind, we first must determine what is kind. This can be a bit tricky. Ultimately what is kind will be enlivening, uplifting and healing. The information must also be delivered at an appropriate time in order to be heard by the recipient. An appropriate time may refer to the time of day, the day of the week or the time period in a person’s life.

A classic example is that of an individual who becomes aware that their friend’s spouse is having a clandestine affair. It can be a huge quandary whether or not if it is in your friend’s best interest to know about the affair. In this situation, you must judge very carefully the necessity of sharing such information with your friend and the consequences of both sharing your knowledge of the affair or not sharing it. It is wise to consider which path will lead to the most freedom, peace and well-being, in both the short-run and the long-run, for your friend.

In terms of teaching Yoga, you may find yourself in a position where you must judge whether or not it is in a student’s best interest to critique his or her Yoga practice. This could be relevant to a student’s attitude towards Yoga overall or specific only to his or her practice of one of two asanas. According to the Four Gateways of Speech, you must determine the truth of what you are relaying, the necessity and timing of your critique, and if your comments are ultimately going to uplift and encourage your student.

For example, maybe you are annoyed that a student continuously comes fifteen minutes late to class. Gently letting your student know that it is not only disrupting to the class, but consistent lateness also prevents him or her from warming up adequately before performing more strenuous Yoga poses. In this case, relaying the importance of coming to class on time in a kind, appropriate and compassionate manner will ultimately support your student in excelling in his or her Yoga practice.

© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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The Purpose of Yoga – Overcoming Fear

Monday, May 14th, 2007

yoga teacherBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Could Yoga really empower you enough to conquer your worst fears? Very few people are able to overcome fear, without a serious effort. Fear holds us still, stifles our progress, and distorts our view of reality. Worse yet, some of our fears stem from childhood – whether they are rooted in reality or not.

Yoga offers every practitioner the gateway to self-realization. This newfound awareness allows anyone the opportunity to help focus his or her mind. In turn, a focused mind can separate fact from fiction – much easier than a confused mind.

This Yogic formula is a logical and rational method for determining imagined fears from justified fear, but fear can take on many different forms. Phobias, panic disorders, and anxiety attacks, are various types of fear, which are commonly stress related.

Every day, we fear poverty, the loss of a job, or the loss of a relationship, but sometimes there is no real danger or logical reason for feelings of intense fear, which can take a toll on our health. Our imagination can be a powerful tool toward success in life or the creator of panic attacks, without reason.

Yoga training offers many solutions for stilling the mind. The first of these is Pranayama (Yogic breath techniques). Breath is the primary link between mind and body. One of the first techniques Yoga students learn in a class is natural breath.

For adult Yoga students, this means unlearning the short half breath, which most adults unconsciously practice from the diaphragm to the mouth. Natural breath can be started as an inhale (through the nose), at the bottom of the lungs, expanding upward through the chest, and finally finishing as an exhale through the nose, while the stomach collapses, at the same time.

This same breathing technique can be commonly observed in infants. During natural breath, the stomach expands during an inhale and collapses during the exhale. When adults relearn this breathing technique, the positive result of tranquility is often felt within minutes. Some adult Yoga students start to feel consistently more relaxed after a short session of natural breath.

This is just one of many Yogic methods, which can be practiced for better mental focus and to still the mind. The benefits of focusing the mind, through Yogic practices, is unlimited. Yoga training offers a chemical free option for people to empower themselves and move toward accomplishments, success, and achievements.

However, the origin of a solution, to overcoming fear, lies in the individual’s desire to take action in his, or her, best interest. If a person chooses not to help him or herself, no solution, not even Yoga, will help.

Worry, fear, stress, and anxiety, are ingredients which work together to drain life energy from all of us. If we allow worry, fear, stress, and anxiety, to control our lives, we can create a negative cycle of energy which will shorten our life spans. Yoga training offers solutions to all of these problems – without side effects.

© Copyright 2007 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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If you are a Yoga Teacher, 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!