Yoga is something that millions of practitioners have practiced throughout history to find tranquility, balance, focus, and clarity. It is understandable that the calming poses and mindfulness meditation can create a more intelligent and mentally sharp individual.
One of the most important and significant lessons that a Yoga instructor teaches his or her students is the healing potential of Yogic methods. By healing potential, I mean the ability to transform one's negative situation.
According to Duke Integrative Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, the quickest-growing segment of the American population consists of seniors over the age of 65, and many of these are turning to Yoga to stay mentally and physically fit. Considering the fact that statisticians expect the number of these seniors to double to 80 million by 2050, there is obviously a need for Yoga instructors trained to work with older students.
Another great activity for seniors is Yoga training. The gentle postures (asanas) and slow, centered movements of Hatha Yoga are the perfect way to loosen tight joints and relieve pain.
One common mistake some yoga teachers make is classifying students according to age. When you consider students over 55 years of age in a class that requires movement and flexibility the difference is mobility.
Whether you are a practitioner or you have taken a few yoga teacher certification courses, you know that a regular practice helps to keep the body the body young. In fact, some seniors who practice yoga refer to it as a “fountain of youth.”
Violence is a result of many things, including mental illness and feelings of loss, anger, loneliness, and powerlessness. Fortunately, these feelings are something that a yoga practice can address, especially when meditation is guided by someone who intentionally wants to empower and encourage students who are dealing with these types of emotions.
Whether you are teaching yoga to children or teens about breath awareness or practicing asanas, emphasize the idea of non-judgment. Depressive children and teens spend their days judging themselves and their actions negatively, so it's important to use the non-judgment philosophy of yoga to help stop the process.
Yoga may help kids on different levels. Practicing physical postures (asanas) can increase the production of endorphins, which generate feelings of well-being. Breathing techniques (pranayama) help regulate the nervous system by activating parasympathetic (relaxation) neurons and calming sympathetic (flight or fight) neurons. Guided relaxation techniques benefit kids by giving them an alternative way to respond to the stressors in their lives.
To enhance intelligence with Yoga, storytelling is a useful tool that provides a young mind with external stimuli to focus on, while the physical Yoga poses help the child work out excess energy, stress, or other negative emotions. Stories can be told from books, from story boards, or even from memory, as the instructor uses the stories to pace a Yoga asana series and to emphasize certain poses.