By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed
Teaching Yoga students how to improve their quality of life is what we do. Practicing the art of Yoga on a regular basis helps to eradicate a sense of individual separateness and lack. The comprehensive art of Yoga is not just limited to physical asanas, it also includes breathing techniques, which increase the circulation of prana or life force energy, in addition to meditation and contemplative practices that help to ease anxiety, depression and an abiding sense a separateness. A persistent and multifaceted sense of lack affects many individuals. Often this sense of lack is focused primarily on financial issues, but a sense of lack may also permeate many other areas of an individual’s life.
Teaching your students how to identify areas of lack in their own lives, and how to release the underlying beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that create and sustain that sense of lack, is a gift that goes far beyond the Yoga mat. As a student begins to engage in a regular Yoga practice, his or her overall sense of energy and well-being will increase substantially. This increased sense of well-being will help to generate a desire for even more health and well-being. For instance, a student’s diet may begin to change and his or her friends may begin to shift towards others who are also walking a spiritual or Yogic path.
Not only are external changes promulgated by a regular Yoga practice, inner shifts are common as well. This is particularly true with negative thought patterns and beliefs that create a wide assortment of scarcity in one’s life. On a physical level, a regular practice of asana and pranayama practices helps to generate more physical energy. This energy feels good and the more you do, the better you feel. Reminding your students to breath throughout the class is one of the key elements of increasing physical vibrancy and emotional well-being through the practice of the asanas.
Beginning a Yoga session with Bhastrika Pranayama or Bellows Breath is a great way to increase the inner fire or energy of the body. This will help to energize your students for the practice. Practicing Ujjayi Pranayama or Ocean Sounding Breath throughout the course of their practice will also greatly increase tapas, the inner fire of Yoga. As you guide your students through a class, encourage them to witness the thoughts that arise as they move through each posture.
If the thoughts that arise are negative and limiting, remind your students to gently but firmly visualize the contracting thoughts dissolving into the sound of their own breath as they exhale. As they inhale, remind them to fill their beings with feelings of self-empathy, hope and optimism. In this way, your students will actively benefit from both the physical asana practice and the internal psychological cleansing that the asana practice offers. Closing your class with a brief period of contemplation focused on abundance, optimism and gratitude will leave your students feeling deeply nourished and supported by their own physical and emotional well-being.
© Copyright – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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