Saturday, September 24, 2016

Can Yoga Reduce Community Violence

controlling anger
By Amruta Kulkarni, CYT 500

Yoga has matured over the years with its various techniques that not only help with staying fit but improving the quality of life as well. Yogis continue to discover the different advantages that the practices offer. Recently, there have been studies and debates over the effectiveness of asana methodologies in reducing violence in communities. Is it possible to curb violent tendencies through yogic practices?

Reducing Verbal Aggressiveness

One form of violence that is prevalent in young adults is verbal aggression. Verbal aggressiveness refers to the attack on an individual’s ideas and points of communications with the aim of inflicting harm. A randomized control trial by Sudheer Deshpande, H R Nagendra, and Nagarathna Raghuram published in the International Journal of Yoga, July 2008 indicates that asana practices help in reducing verbal aggressiveness. Yogic breathing exercises have been proven to help control, anxiety, depression, stress, and tension. These are factors that contribute to verbal aggressiveness in individuals. Learning how to calm oneself before communicating with other people helps to curb aggression.

Controlling Anger

Anger is another way violence manifests itself. Getting angry is typical for any normal person; what you do with that anger is what matters. Angry people characterize communities where members are prone to violence, especially the youth. Yogic twists do wonders in finding your calm and controlling anger before it gets out of control. The advantage with yoga asana is that the breathing is synchronized with the physical activities, which contributes in relaxing the body. A person reacting to an enraging situation from a place of calm is less likely to engage in violent behavior compared to someone that acts with a hot head.

Getting Rid of Bad Feelings

Negative feelings play a significant role in instigating violent behavior. Some life circumstances may leave an individual laden with feelings of frustration, undue pressure, dissatisfaction, and depression. Someone who is not at peace with his or herself is not likely to react well to bad situations. Pranayama practices can help with meditation, which is ideal in getting rid of bad moods. Of course, the emotional state of an individual and the methodologies in use will play a critical role.

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Preventing Yoga Student Injuries Through Continuing Education

By Rachel Holmes

With millions of people practicing the art of yoga worldwide, people everywhere are experiencing such benefits as improved strength and flexibility, reduced tension, lower blood pressure, and much more. However, while many people who practice yoga are able to stay injury-free, others who are new to the practice may try to do too much too quickly. As a result of their enthusiasm, they often suffer various types of injuries that may hinder their progress. However, as yoga instructors gain experience and knowledge through continuing education, they can often help students’ progress at a safer pace and allow them to avoid many nagging injuries.

For many yoga teachers, one of the most interesting aspects of continuing education involves homeopathy. Focusing on how to keep the body free of illness and how to provide remedies for various injuries, this continuing education class is always a popular choice for many teachers. Addressing common problems that both adult and younger students may experience, teachers learn about which movements lead to the most injuries and how to help students stay injury-free.

Because most injuries in yoga occur due to over-stretching or misalignment during poses, continuing education classes often allow teachers the chance to learn how to make their classes safer and more enjoyable for students. In addition to classes on homeopathy, other CE classes focus on core strength and how to deepen the effects of asana and meditation. Learning how to help students increase physical stability, mental concentration, and progressive core strength all come together to make teachers better able to help students stay focused on proper techniques and outcomes.

Yoga, which is an excellent exercise for those experiencing joint pain and stiffness, also lets teachers take CE classes in the art of Gentle Yoga. Focusing on the joints and glands series of movements, these CE classes let teachers learn new ways to help students flush joints of congestion and metabolic waste while also increasing nutrients in their bodies. By focusing on these and other areas, yoga teachers and their students can look forward to injury-free classes that are fun and beneficial to everyone.

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Yoga for Sleep: Supported Child’s Pose

By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

As the heightened activity of summer begins to quiet into the steady rhythm of the fall season, you may find that you are busier than ever! The fall is traditionally a time to begin a new school year, professional training program and/or new projects at work.  In addition to the exhilaration of the crisp fall weather, new academic and professional training programs offer the excitement of learning new information and skills. However, these new endeavors also take time and energy. 

With the waning days of sunlight and warmth in the temperate Northeast, many Yogis and Yoginis find themselves struggling to fit into their already busy schedules their new obligations while still finding time to enjoy the final month or two of warm weather. For example, I often find that I am rushing to go for a swim before the temperature falls when the autumnal sun dips below the horizon by 7pm! Or I find that I am rushing to spend some time at the beach before it is too cold to enjoy body surfing without a substantial wetsuit. The pressure to enjoy the final days of summer warmth can lend itself to higher levels of stress and anxiety. 

As stress and anxiety levels increase, many Yoga practitioners find it difficult to fall to sleep and to sleep deeply and restoratively. As we all know from personal experience, if the quality of your sleep is optimal, you will awaken refreshed and ready for a full day ahead of you. Practicing Yoga on a regular basis will help you to release stress and lower your anxiety levels, so that you are able to sleep more restoratively. Additionally, there are specific Yoga poses that will help you to quiet your mind, release the busyness of the day and melt away tension. 

* Supported Balasana or Child’s Pose

Supported Child’s Pose is a quintessential Yoga posture for easing into a restful sleep. This posture calms the mind as it relieves fatigue, stress and anxiety. Supported Balasana gently releases tension in the groin muscles, lower back and hips. It also relieves tension in the neck if it is practiced in a supported fashion. Additionally, Supported Child’s Pose calms down the flight or fight response that is often triggered by contending with the busyness of the day. 

As your stress melts away, you will be more likely to sleep restfully, which will recharge your batteries for the day ahead of you. If you are pregnant or have a neck or knee injury, the practice of Supported Balasana should only be undertaken under the supervision of a certified Yoga instructor. Balasana can be practiced at any point during a Yoga class or as a stand-alone posture. Supported Balasana is often practiced just prior to Shavasana as part of a sequence of finishing poses at the end of a Yoga class.

To practice Child’s Pose in a supported fashion, you will need a Yoga bolster or a rolled blanket approximating the size of a bolster. If you are practicing Supported Child’s Pose as one of the final poses in your Yoga class or session, it is also comforting to put on a pair of warm socks, so that your feet don’t get cold. When you are ready to practice Supported Balasana, place the Yoga bolster or rolled blanket lengthwise on your mat. Kneel on your mat just behind the bolster with your knees comfortably far apart and the big toes of each foot gently touching each other. 

With an exhale, drape you upper body over the bolster. Position yourself so that the bolster or blanket is supporting your entire torso and you are able to rest your head on the bolster. Place your arms on either side of the bolster with your palms flat on the floor just in front of the top of your head. If you find it difficult to rest on your heels, place a small folded towel or blanket between your calves and hamstrings for added support. 

Feel the weight of your body resting on the earth. Melt into the bolster with each successive exhale. After a minute or two, turn your head the opposite direction in order to release tension in the other side of your neck. Rest in Supported Balasana for up to ten minutes. When you have completed your practice of Child’s Pose, with your next inhale gently sit up and remove the Yoga bolster or blanket. Pause for a moment or two to feel the tranquility in your own being before continuing on with the remainder of your Yoga practice

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

How to Begin Teaching Yoga Classes

By Bhavan Kumar

When students arrive for yoga class, they are looking forward to not only getting in better shape physically, but also having a period of relaxation that sets the tone for the class. Therefore, it's imperative yoga instructors’ use the best methods possible to help students get centered and focused. In doing so, their minds get clear of other thoughts and they can completely concentrate on the class ahead of them. While there are many ways to open a class, there are certain techniques that can be used to ensure everyone enjoys himself or herself.

Setting the Tone

The most critical part of any class, setting the tone from the beginning can lead to a great experience for everyone. A quiet space, along with soft lights, soft music, and comfortable room temperatures, can allow the students to prepare for the challenges ahead.

Establishing Breath Awareness

Extremely important to getting the most out of yoga, establishing breath awareness lets students connect with their minds and bodies in order to make them completely aware of just how they are breathing. For best results, let students spend two or three minutes sitting quietly and focusing exclusively on their breathing, then begin using deep breathing techniques such as ocean breath. This technique, which relies on long, smooth periods of inhalation and exhalation done through the nostrils, has proven to be very effective.

Prayers and Chants

Very effective techniques used to steady the minds of students and help them focus; prayers and chants have long been a staple of successful yoga classes. Whether it is only a syllable, a single word, or a short sentence, having students say these three or four times at the opening of class can allow for even greater relaxation and focus.

The Easy Pose

According to most yoga teachers, having students seated in the Easy pose automatically gets the class off to a good start. If there are students who have trouble with this pose, some teachers provide them with comfortable chairs to use or even let them lie down on the floor for added comfort. Along with this pose, some teachers incorporate simple arm movements into the opening session, creating an even more relaxed atmosphere.

By using these techniques that allow students to clear their minds while preparing for the class ahead, yoga teachers can be sure to have a relaxed atmosphere and a room filled with students eager to get started.

How to Start a Yoga Class?

There are several ways to increase the odds of creating a successful yoga class start-up. Passion for the practice of yoga is the foundation for success. A desire to inspire, teach and connect with others is at the heart of beginning this challenge.

Partnering with other small businesses, fitness centers and even clothing retailers to offer free or low-cost educational events is a great way to build a clientele. This approach allows you to gain visibility within your community. These partnerships can also offer opportunities to secure low cost space to host your yoga classes.

A record-keeping system will be needed to track customer payments and client lists. Microsoft Office Suite may suit your needs as a start-up. Fitness business tailored software systems may be considered if you decide to expand class offerings.

Keep things simple when starting off. Offering too many pricing options, promotions or class types can be overwhelming as a teacher and to consumers as well. There will always be time for expansion when you may consider bringing on additional teachers to expand your business.

It’s vital to create a pleasant environment for those attending your yoga classes. Strive to provide a space that fosters a sense of belonging. This should evolve somewhat naturally as those attending your classes will be interested in self-improvement. Provide time before and after classes that foster networking between clients.

Referral programs are an excellent way to build your customer base. Provide current clients with incentives to invite their friends and family to classes. Word of mouth advertising is one of the oldest and most reliable ways to get the word out about your classes.

Keep the lines of communication open with your yoga class clients. Pay attention to their feedback to tailor classes designed to meet their needs. Provide as much individualized attention as possible to make each customer feel like a V.I.P.

Learn from others who have launched successful yoga classes. Meet with these people in person or reach out online to gather tips and advice that you can learn from. Finding a mentor is an excellent way to learn from the experiences of others.

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