Friday, December 16, 2005

Yoga Therapy

By Grata Young

The Yoga Therapy or ‘yoga-chikitsa’ refers to the treatment of diseases by means of yogic exercises which may be physical or mental or both. It is a specialised form of yogic culture. This mode of treatment has been practised in India from very ancient times. Many references to yoga have been made in the Upanishads. It was, however, Maharishi Patanjali who in about the first century B.C. gave a systematic account of the traditional yogic teaching.

The term ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘yug’ which means "to join." It signifies union between the individual soul (jivatma) and the universal soul (parmatma). It aims at obtaining relief from pain and suffering. Basically, human evolution takes place on three different planes, namely physical, mental and spiritual. Yoga is a means of attaining perfect health by maintaining harmony and achieving optimum functioning on all three levels through complete self-control.

Yogic kriyas, asanas and pranayama constitute the physical basis ofyoga. The practice of kriyas and asanas leads to excellent circulation. It also energises and stimulates major endocrine glands of the body. Yogic exercises promote inner health and harmony, and their regular practice helps prevent and cure many common ailments. They also help eliminate tensions, be they physical, mental or emotional.



Pranayama slows down the aging process. In ordinary respiration, one breathes roughly 15 times a minute, taking in approximately 20 cubic inches of air. In pranayama the breathing rate is slowed down to once or twice a minute and the breath inhaled is deep and full, taking nearly 100 cubic inches of air.

All yogic exercises should be performed on a clean mat, a carpet or a blanket covered with a cotton sheet. Clothing should be light and loose-fitting to allow free movement of the limbs. The mind should be kept off all disturbances and tensions. Regularity and punctuality in practicising yogic exercises is essential. Generally, 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. is the ideal time for yoga practices. Yoga asanas and pranayama should be practised only after mastering the techniques with the help of a competent teacher. Asanas should always be practiced on an empty stomach.

Shavasana should be practiced for a brief period before starting the rest of the exercises as this will create the right mental condition. Asanas should be performed at a leisurely slow-motion pace, maintaining poise and balance.

Herein are described certain yogic kriyas, asanas and pranayama which have specific therapeutic values and are highly beneficial in the maintenance of health and the healing of diseases.




What to Look for When Hiring a Yoga Teacher (Part 1)


By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

How can you tell which Yoga teacher is the best fit for your health club, ashram, spa, or wellness studio? Does it depend on a particular diploma, style of Yoga, or who their Guru was? Let’s go over a bit of credential history and a checklist for finding the ideal Yoga teacher.

Lately, there has been a scramble amongst Yoga teachers to gain higher credentials. This is understandable because Yoga became much more of a mainstream pursuit. As Yoga became more and more popular, many experienced Yoga teachers found themselves “out of the loop.”

Some Yoga teachers, with decades of Yoga teaching experience, had no credentials, diploma, or “paper trail.” The “paper chase” was on, and when it came to credentials, a new “playing field” had been created.

With all the liability suits out there, credentials have become very important, even in Yoga. Credentials make liability insurance much easier to get. Therefore, all Yoga teachers have to jump through the new “flaming hoops.”

What Guru or Yoga Master trains the best teachers? Competence has little to do with who a Yoga teacher’s Guru - is or was. The Guru is not teaching this Yoga teacher’s class. The real question is: How will this Yoga teacher perform within your facility?

Have you ever met a graduate from an “elite” college who was an under achiever? Of course, and we have all seen over achievers from colleges, which are not as prestigious. You might also want to think about the many over achievers who never went to college.

Is there a particular style that trains Yoga teachers the best? Not really, most Yoga teacher training programs, of all styles, produce competent Yoga teachers. To credit one particular style, would take away the credibility of the rest. However, if, for example, you are looking to establish a Yoga class that is vigorous, you might seek out teachers from particularly vigorous Yoga styles.

Most Yoga teachers do a very good job of teaching, but students of any subject will always think more fondly of a particular teacher. This is human nature to make comparisons, but there are much larger issues when it comes to teaching skills and making your best selection.

The real issues, and skills, that count when hiring a Yoga teacher, are safety, compassion, communication, assisting, alignment, listening, modifications, ethics and continuing education.

© Copyright – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

What to Look for When Hiring a Yoga Teacher (Part 2)


By Paul Jerard

Safety is a number one priority. Yoga teachers, who take risks with their students, put your business at risk. The Yoga teacher who physically abuses, his or her students, is not in the right profession.

Compassion is more than diplomacy and popularity, but these are a big help. When a Yoga teacher has compassion, the class is motivated to come back to the next Yoga class. This is a “win-win” situation for any facility, which employs compassionate Yoga instructors.

Communication is more than good cueing skills. Students learn primarily by seeing, listening, and feeling. One of these senses will be more dominant than the rest. A competent Yoga teacher will be able to reach all of these types of students.

Cueing is a skill refined by describing specifically how the body moves from one posture to the next. This is the hardest communication skill for most Yoga teachers to master.

Assisting is another communication skill, but must be applied gently, and with knowledge of alignment. Yoga teachers should ask for permission before making an assist. Otherwise, this can lead to misunderstandings. Assisting is great, but should not take over the entire class.

Demonstrating is very important. Some Yoga instructors like to walk around and cue. This is fine for part of the class, but what about the Yoga student who learns visually? This student is looking around at the Yoga teacher and everyone else.

Knowledge of alignment is not hard to learn, but some teachers get carried away with “their own demonstration” and forget about everyone in the room. If a Yoga student is showing poor posture, it should be corrected.

Listening does not seem like a “big deal,” but what about the Yoga teacher who doesn’t listen to his or her students? For example: A student has a problem in the L-5 area and the Yoga teacher decides to push the lower back a little. This could also be a lack of compassion, but some Yoga teachers do not listen to their students at all.

Modifications for beginners, older students, or those who have limited range of motion, due to skeletal compression are very important. The Yoga teacher who makes no allowance for these conditions, also puts your facility at risk. Therefore, all Yoga teachers should know how to use props and have a good grasp of body mechanics.

Lack of teacher ethics can put you out of business. We are all aware of the consequences of harassment suits, so we do not have to go too deeply on this one. The best Yoga teachers treat everyone fair and equally. Discrimination of any kind is wrong and very costly.

Continuing education is important in any field, and Yoga is no different. Yoga teachers should stay current in their knowledge of safety, modifications, anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology. They should also learn how to keep Yoga classes interesting with fresh ideas. In turn, this keeps members coming back for more.

Therefore, the best selection is a Yoga teacher with a balance of all these factors. The one dimensional Yoga teacher is not an optimum fit for any organization. Within this current climate of liability suits, safety is the most important factor of all.

Lastly, ask each Yoga candidate do an audition, and do not hire him or her until you have been part of the Yoga class. Always remember, “Seeing is believing” and “talk is cheap.”

© Copyright 2005 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Yoga Teachers, Prepare for the New Year’s Rush – Part 1


By Paul Jerard

The doors will fly open on January 2nd with enthusiastic mobs of Yoga students. What can you do to prepare for the busiest stretch of the year? How can you keep their interest all year long?

If there was ever a time to clean up your Yoga studio or health club, now is the time. Depending on where you live, most of your Yoga students may be out Christmas shopping right now. This season is like the “eye of a hurricane.” It is a temporary slow spell before the busiest season for Yoga and fitness.

Bear in mind, there is a “second wind” in spring, when many Yoga students are preparing for “bathing suit season.” If you need a fresh coat of paint, or the rugs need to be shampooed, take advantage of this brief respite.

You should also have a game plan for keeping Yoga students’ interest. Do not get too far off the track, but spice up your schedule with special workshops or “pilot” classes. Yoga classes are much like spice; too many flavors can ruin your dish, or in this case, your class.

Keeping student interest has always been a challenge for teachers of any subject. With fitness or Yoga, it is easy to get flocks of students during January, in North America, with a little help from cold weather, and New Year’s resolutions. The big question is: How to keep the enthusiasm going all year long?

Therefore, open a special event class to “test the waters” for student interest. There is no sense in starting another Yoga class without researching, if there is a demand. If the crowd loves the class, you will have no problem getting sign-ups. Be certain that your sign-ups make, at least, a down payment on a class package.

It is very easy for people to sign up for a yoga class and never show up again. This is the culture of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and people move on to other things - like butterflies on flowers. So, you have to capture their attention and keep it. Below are some examples of workshops and classes to try in your yoga studio.

Mommy and Me Yoga Classes: This requires special patience on the part of the Yoga teacher, and female teachers will usually fare much better, especially, if the Yoga teacher has children of her own. This is an age specific niche, but there are always new mothers and new toddlers willing to try such a class.

© Copyright 2005 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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Yoga Teachers, Prepare for the New Year’s Rush – Part 2


By Paul Jerard

Let’s continue with more ideas for workshops and some specialty classes that may fit in as part of your regular class schedule. You don’t have to use all of these ideas, but you may find one, or two, that fit with your clientele and your Yoga studio.

Prenatal Yoga: Again, this is much better suited for the female Yoga instructor, but this teacher should be trained specifically in Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga. There are too many complications for the average Yoga teacher; this is for a Yoga specialist.

Modifications and contraindications change for pregnant Yoga students each trimester. Jane Mackarness has written such a course, and we carry it at our web site. This field requires much more research than the standard 200-hour training, but can lead to networking with medical professionals and hospitals.

Kids Yoga: Specialized training might be needed, but patience is a key element for Yoga instructors who want to embark on this path. I teach children myself, and a Kids Yoga class has to be fun and include games. Vinyasa will be very popular with children, since they get restless with nervous energy.

Children can learn a lot, but Yoga teachers, who spend time with them, realize they are not little adults. Sometimes, the Yoga teacher’s lesson plan will not be finished due to questions, answers, and kids just having fun being kids.

Hot Yoga: Most Hot Yoga classes originated from Bikram’s style. Be careful not to use his sequences; he has patented them. Also, the Yoga teacher who wants to pursue this path should be familiar with how she or he will perform under conditions of serious heat. Hot Yoga is good, but it is not for everyone. Hot Yoga classes are usually held at a temperature of 105 Degrees Fahrenheit.

108 Sun Salutations: Many Yoga studios and ashrams have these workshops at the beginning of a season. This is good bonding time for the more physical Yoga students within your facility. You could always go out to your favorite restaurant afterwards.

Yoga with Weights: Sherri Baptiste just released a book on this subject. Bodybuilders have practiced combining weight resistance principles, with Yoga, for years, but Sherri may be on to something here. Yoga purists aside - the contracting of muscles during weight resistance training, and the stretching of muscles when practicing Hatha Yoga, can be a harmonious relationship.

© Copyright 2005 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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Visit: http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org/
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FREE CONTENT: If you are a Yoga Instructor, Yoga studio, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, feel free to use my blog entries (articles) – Please be sure to reprint each article, as is, including the resource box above. Thank you, Paul
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Yoga Teachers, Prepare for the New Year’s Rush – Part 3


By Paul Jerard

This is the last article of this series, and by now, you should be getting some fresh ideas that will help you design a couple of new Yoga classes in your studio.

Yoga on the Ball: This has been around for awhile, but it still can add some excitement to a Yoga class. Whether you use it in a workshop, or to break up a class, the stability ball can put some life into a class.

However, not everyone will like it, especially those students who have difficulty just sitting on one of these balls. Make sure anyone who is unsteady is made aware of the hazards. It is best for some to practice near a wall, or in the corner, for stability. In this case, the wall is a secondary prop. Suzanne Deason has some interesting information on using the “Balance Ball” as a prop, in DVD format

Family Yoga: This is a great concept for most families, but it is worth noting that this type of class can attract some parents who desire to be in control of every aspect of their child’s life. This type of parent will be easily noticed from the start, when he or she corrects their son’s or daughter’s every move.

Therefore, it is best to establish who will do the cueing, assisting, and correcting. One unchecked parent can ruin the entire class. Kids acting like kids are understandable, but when parents act like kids, it is time to put your diplomatic skills to the test. That’s why it would be wise to have guidelines in place.

Partner Yoga for Singles: My wife, Marie, and I taught classes like these, and they do “break the ice.” Helping and assisting someone breaks down all the barriers. This class works better as an occasional workshop.

Laughter Yoga: The first I heard of this was when a friend of mine attended a Laughter Yoga class in Ireland. Some of the Chair Yoga classes I teach have a little humor injected into them. With all the stress people get these days, this is a stress management method that will allow Yoga students to be less serious about everyday situations.

Pet Yoga: This is a nice idea, but this is for friendly and “house trained” pets, only, unless you teach the class outside. Dog Yoga has been referred to as “Doga.” This is a great workshop concept, as long as there are no hostile pets present.

Chair Yoga: Most of these classes are held at senior centers, assisted living complexes, nursing homes, and physical rehabilitation facilities. It will be hard to establish a following at most Yoga studios, as this group is less mobile and transportation is a big issue.

© Copyright 2005 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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FREE Yoga Report. FREE Yoga Newsletter.
Visit: http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org/
--------------------------------------------
FREE CONTENT: If you are a Yoga teacher, Yoga studio, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, feel free to use my blog entries (articles) – Please be sure to reprint each article, as is, including the resource box above. Namaste, Paul
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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Yoga Teachers Wanted

I am in need of a few Yoga instructors...

Please Contact:

Tara A. LaGrange, Reiki Master & Teacher, Yoga Instructor
Ray of Hope Yoga & Reiki Studio
107 W. Court St.
Rome, NY 13440

Tel: (315) 337-YOGA
web: www.rayofhopehealth.com

Side note by Paul: This notice just came in today.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

How to Become a Successful Yoga Teacher


By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

How do you measure success? Do you think of physical, mental, spiritual, influential, or monetary success? It is important to be honest with yourself and know that you may be very successful in one area, but not in another.

Therefore, look at your strengths and be honest with yourself about what your goals really are. There have been many successful Yogis, and some spiritual leaders, who had the clothes on their backs as their only possessions. They did not pursue material wealth, but instead, helped others until their last day.

How can I say they were successful? They chose the path that they wanted, and some have had tremendous influence without material wealth. They were men and women of conscience who humbled the powerful.

This is not to say that a teacher must live in poverty to be influential. An oath of poverty to help humankind is noble, but not for everyone. Personally, a balanced approach to physical, mental, spiritual, influential, and monetary success is easier for most of us to live with. Let’s take a look at the five successes and see how you can build on them, help others, and live the best life you can.

If you teach Hatha, Vinyasa, Kundalini, or another physical style of Yoga, your body will be in “good shape.” Many people perceive good shape to mean muscles, but forget about the benefits to the joints, bones, and internal organs. Yoga is good for all of them and is a total health program.




Anyone who takes the time to meditate, and practice pranayama, will have better mental health. As a serious Yoga practitioner, or Yoga teacher, you should practice this daily, even if you do not have Yoga classes today. All of the other forms of success will yield mental health, as well.

Some styles of Yoga are more spiritual than others. In the west, most practitioners only think of Hatha Yoga, but there are many other spiritual Yoga styles. However, if spiritual Yoga does not fit into your lifestyle, prayers will help. Spiritual health is just as important as any other type of success.

The power of influence is a part of teaching Yoga. Therefore, never misuse it and never take advantage of your Yoga students, family, or friends. However, if you see an opportunity that will help the common good, never avoid using the influence you have acquired.

About money: Some people think, “Money is the root of evil.” I totally disagree because money is only a commodity, such as energy. If we misuse it, that is our loss, but if we help others, that is rewarding to all of us. Much like when we use energy, we are only temporary “keepers of money.”

Make use of money, and help those who you can. Strangely, more money will come back to you, as a result of being charitable. This is the cycle of karma, success, and life.

There is nothing wrong with success and self-improvement. When you take each aspect of success, and develop them all in harmony for the common good, that is also a form of Yoga. You might even refer to this method as the “Union of Success,” which could be named “Jayati Yoga.”


© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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Sunday, November 06, 2005

Yoga Teachers Lead by Example (Part 3)


By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Behavior toward neighboring Yoga schools, teachers, and their students, should be cordial. Like the old saying goes, “If you do not have anything good to say, do not say anything at all.” When we speak of other teachers, or former teachers, in a hostile manner, what do we teach our students?

Unfortunately, Yoga teachers are human and behavior is not always optimum. Show respect toward neighboring ashrams by letting the director, master teacher, or guru, know about your events - in the form of a letter or invitation. Do not post your events on their doors, on their cars, and on telephone poles nearby their ashram.




Do not encourage your students to tear down advertisements of other local ashrams in the markets and local coffee shops. Harmonious coexistence with local studios and ashrams is healthy. When Yoga students are encouraged to become sectarian, or elitist, they are being strayed away from the true meaning of Yoga. Always remember Yoga means “unity.”

Avoid moving your studio next door, above, below, or across the street from another Yoga teacher. The world is a very big place. There is no need for us to behave like rivaling businesses. If that were acceptable, Yoga would be just a business, and our true mission is to help others.

Try to maintain good relations with former teachers and their students. Sometimes, there are complications in the student / teacher relationship, but try to be as friendly as possible.

Relationships with your Yoga students should be balanced and kept intact. Yoga teachers should avoid using their position for leverage or special favors. If you are having feelings beyond the usual teacher / student relationship, you should seek qualified advice, do some “soul searching,” or withdraw yourself from the situation.




The studio is not a romantic playground, or part of a dating service, for teachers. As a Yoga teacher, your relationship is founded upon the trust of your students. You also want to avoid “fueling” any distractions from practice.

Lastly, you want to encourage your more advanced students to become independent creators of their own practice. It is nice to be needed, but your Yoga students will grow if they are allowed to be innovators. You can always show them the safest methods to keep them on the right track, but you do not want your advanced students to feel dependent on your existence.

To draw a small comparison: A pair of adult eagles takes wonderful care of their chick, but someday, that chick will grow to be as large as its parents. The solution is to encourage their offspring to fly and become independent. You know, you will not be around forever, so encourage your Yoga students to keep the practice evolving.


© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Yoga Teachers Lead by Example (Part 2)


By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

It is a shame that proper behavior, respect, and ethics do not make great headlines in the newspapers. Just watch the news, and read the newspaper for a week, to confirm what makes “good copy.” It will not take long for you to find a dozen, or dozens, of scandals.

We all make mistakes, and none of us wants to have them in print, but some are preventable. Here are some guidelines for Yoga teachers to consider when teaching their students. As a leader and role model, your ethical behavior will be duplicated by your Yoga students.




There is no need for an air of superiority within the Yoga class. Everyone is good at something, so why waste time and energy trying to impress your students, or the public, about your ability as a Yoga instructor. If students are attending your Yoga classes, they are already impressed, so there is no need to turn your Yoga studio into a “circus act.”

If someone does not practice Yoga, or is not a vegetarian, please do not bolster your ego over the issue. Do not engage in hostile debates over these issues. There is a time, place, and method for convincing people about health issues, but hostility will not convince anyone.

Bias and discrimination are hard habits to break. Sometimes, these ideas exist within families for generations. Yoga teachers should accept students, regardless of race, religion, gender, ethnic origin, age, social status, or any other reason we can find to be unjustifiably bias.




In the case of age - children who are too young may have a separate Yoga class, but this depends on the patience of the teacher and the group. Some “Mommy and me” Yoga classes run along smoothly, but some adult students do not want to be in a Yoga class with children.

I teach children four years of age and up, but it is specifically within a “Kids Yoga” class. This is much different from a typical adult Yoga class, and the circus act I mentioned earlier might be fine. Do not be surprised to see children perform difficult asanas, but do not expose them to hazards.

In the course of a week, I teach many Chair Yoga classes, and these are age specific. However, when seniors show up to a Yoga class, at a Yoga studio, or ashram, they should be welcomed and modifications should be taught - if they are needed.




Getting back to discrimination in general: The largest problem with bias is our history of war crimes, holocaust, atrocities, and slavery. Discrimination cannot go unchecked, and it has no place anywhere, especially in a Yoga studio or ashram. If you teach Yoga to a specific religious sect, that is fine, but do not speak harshly of those who are not present.

It comes down to the golden rule, which is very universal to most of the world’s religions, and I will conclude this part with a quote. Most of you will recognize a much similar quote within your own religion. It does shed light on the wisdom of our ancestors.

“This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you.” Mahabharata 5,1517


© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about our selection of online yoga teacher certification courses.
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Monday, October 31, 2005

Yoga Teachers Lead by Example (Part 1)

how to teach yoga
By Dr.  Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

During the course of a lifetime, most of us have heard the saying,” Do as I say, not as I do.” We see this kind of leadership everywhere we go. All politicians, religious leaders, police, sports professionals, parents, academic teachers, and Yoga teachers, lead by example, even if the example displayed is not a good one.

So, how does this concern you? You may not be a public figure, but your students, and the general public, know who you are. Some may even know more about you than you would like. As a Yoga teacher, you want to keep your health, behavior, and your ethics at a high standard - if you are going to be in the “public eye.”

As far as health is concerned, you should maintain your Yoga practice and meditate daily. This is an irony with many teachers because your time is also consumed with the business of Yoga, maintenance of the studio, advertising, and many more aspects that keep a business going.



My personal estimate of time that I spent on vacuuming, cleaning, and maintenance of the Yoga studio is thousands of hours before I hired someone else to do it. This does not account for any of the time spent on many other duties that go into running a  studio.

The average student has no idea of the preparation and support services involved before they come to a typical class. In reality, you want them to feel relaxed, so you don’t want your students to feel stressed out over the bookkeeping, marketing, and maintenance of your Yoga studio.

Therefore, you have to put your best “game face” on during class time. This is one very powerful reason for taking the time to develop your own personal Yoga practice. You still must expand your depth of understanding Yoga’s many facets.

Why do, or did, you want to be a Yoga teacher in the first place? The most common reasons for becoming a Yoga teacher are your passion for Yoga and to share the gift that has changed your life. Your health and your personal practice are an integral part of the Yoga teaching vocation.

Maybe you don’t have a staff and you are busy all the time preparing for the next Yoga class. What can you do? Budget your time and make a personal Yoga, or meditation session, for yourself. Spending thousands of hours on bookkeeping, marketing, cleaning, and maintenance is part of many Yoga studio owners’ lives, but you must also make the time to become a better practitioner.

You can also offer reduced rates to volunteers or “work for trade” programs to those Yoga students who help you with “domestic chores.” You should consult your accountant to make sure everything is legal and “above board.” You don’t want to violate any child labor laws or set yourself up for any legal problems, so make sure you are following the law “to the letter.” Remember also, that laws vary depending upon your location.



It’s too easy to let the business of Yoga become your new reality. The business of teaching Yoga is more time consuming than any of us can imagine as Yoga students. If you are spending so much time working on your Yoga business, that you have little time to practice, you must re-evaluate your reason for teaching Yoga.

Make time every day to expand your knowledge about Yoga’s many aspects. If you don’t take the time to be a Yoga student and engage in learning, continuing education, and nurturing your passion for Yoga, you risk burn out. The best Yoga teachers are students for life, who love to practice this wonderful discipline we know as Yoga.

When your studio, Yoga teaching position, or ashram becomes a daily burden, and you cannot expand your knowledge; the end result is no different than any other job. As a Yoga teacher, you owe it to your students to keep your “internal flames of passion” for Yoga going.


© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about our selection of online yoga teacher certification 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!


Saturday, October 08, 2005

Restorative Yoga for Stress Management

By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

We now know that stress contributes to a multitude of ailments, such as: headaches, backaches, high blood pressure, stomach disorders, lowered immunity, muscular tension, depression, heart attack, and much more. Stress is definitely a “killer” and the source of many health problems.

In fact, stress will prevent and distract your body from healing itself. While you are feeling “stressed out”, your body and mind make dealing with stress the number one priority. Your mind and body need to cope with regular maintenance and overall health, on a daily basis, by putting stress on the back burner.

Are you looking for a way to release stress, tension, and pain from your body? Are you tired all the time and feel the need to rest, but you know you should get some exercise? How can you do both? The answer is to start regularly attending Restorative Yoga classes, and reap the rewards of healing without a tremendous amount of effort.

There are many styles of Yoga to choose from. In India, there are nine main styles of Yoga, and Hatha Yoga is just one of them. Hatha Yoga, “the union of physical mastery,” and its many sub-types, are the most popular in the West.

Among the many Hatha styles of Yoga, are traditional and contemporary types of Yoga. Restorative Yoga is classified as a contemporary type of Hatha Yoga. Some might also say that Restorative Yoga is an evolutionary form of Hatha Yoga. The use of props, “sinking into” postures, safety factors, and attention to the internal body, is very rewarding.

This is not usually a class for the vigorous Yoga practitioners who want to move, push, and sometimes strain, in a Yoga posture. Unfortunately, straining will cause long-lasting injuries. Learning Yoga does not have to be a strain or struggle. Restorative Yoga usually attracts a person who is interested in healing his or her body, in the process of attending a Yoga class.

If you have ailments, feel nervous, or are attending your first Restorative Yoga class, you should consult with your Yoga teacher, before class time. Your Yoga teacher may be able to advise you in regard to techniques that will alleviate stress or pain. You can expect that your Yoga teacher will be compassionate and modifications to postures will be taught.

Your body and mind will feel the benefits of relaxing into a Yoga posture. As a result, you be able to balance your life, and feel the benefits of integrating good posture, stillness, movement, relaxation, proper breathing, and meditation.

Every one of these aspects is covered within a typical Restorative Yoga class. So, you can expect to start healing your body and mind during your first Yoga class. You will also continue to keep your priorities in order, while keeping worry, stress, depression, and fatigue on the “back burner.”

© Copyright - Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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Sunday, October 02, 2005

Job Security for Three Decades

By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

There is a growing need for more Chair Yoga teachers. Education about the mental and physical benefits of Yoga has spread like “wild fire” in the past couple of decades; but what about the needs of those who are not so young and limber? In some parts of the world, the number of seniors will outweigh the working population. Italy, the United States, and the rest of Europe, will see senior populations grow rapidly.

Within the United States, every seven seconds, someone turns 50 years of age. In 20 years, the number of people over 65 is projected to be over 60 million. “The writing is on the wall,” and there are many opportunities for Yoga teachers, senior fitness specialists, and health care professionals.

Although government bureaucrats will not adjust for massive senior health care needs, until it is too late, that doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it. If you are currently a Yoga teacher, you should learn everything you can about Chair Yoga. Continuing education is a big part of teaching, so you want to learn about senior fitness, anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, modifications, props, and contraindications.



If you are a Yoga student, who wants to teach seniors, you should learn everything you can, and get involved in a Teacher Training program. Chair Yoga teachers should have a solid foundation in Hatha Yoga and/or be familiar with the physical abilities of seniors.

Physical therapists, and senior fitness specialists, could easily learn Chair Yoga concepts, as well. However, you must be honest with yourself in regard to patience and compassion. This type of class is not for the instructor who just wants to do his, or her, “workout.”

Sure you can demonstrate, but you must also assist, modify, and cue those who cannot always hear so well. Therefore, patience, compassion, and safety, are of prime importance.

This is a direction of employment that could lead to 30 years of job security. Currently, I have been training local Yoga teachers, so they can work with seniors in the Providence area. The reason: As I have said before, “The demand for Yoga is far beyond what any one of us can do.”



Think about the cost of medical services, prescriptions, and physical therapy. Then, consider the cost of Yoga instruction. This is a “no-brainer,” but don’t expect to see a big change right away. Nevertheless, senior centers, assisted living complexes, and nursing homes have already caught onto the fact that Yoga is cost effective preventative medicine.

This proactive mind-set has also infiltrated the medical community. It is not uncommon for Yoga studios to get medical referrals. Medical professionals have so many patients that they are advising many prevention methods, and Yoga is one of them.

Do you think all of the Chair Yoga classes will be in senior facilities, 20 years from now? My bet is some of these classes will be in “top name” fitness centers. The fitness industry will not want to miss the opportunity to tap into a 60 million plus membership market, that will visit them during “off peak” hours.

Therefore, look for Chair Yoga and senior fitness to explode, in popularity, for the next two or three decades. This age group will be looking at Yoga for longevity, so it won’t be anything close to a “fad.”



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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Give us Free Yoga

give us free yoga
By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Can you find good quality Yoga classes for free? Sometimes you can, and many introductory Yoga class packages are free, or priced, so low, that they might as well be. Some students of Yoga jump, from studio to studio, like grasshoppers. These Yoga students are in search of constant introductory packages and free Yoga classes.

In response, some Yoga studios have stopped giving “bargain basement” or free Yoga class packages. Why do they stop giving bargains? It is for the sake of financial survival that a Yoga studio, ashram, wellness center, or fitness center must charge something, to stay in business. Otherwise, there will be no Yoga classes for any of us.

Having had the experience of teaching free Yoga classes, in parks, and holding down a full time job, at the same time. It was my observation that many of those students really didn't see a value in Free Yoga. It was just something to do, if they were around the park.

When the park asked me to pay a “permit fee,” for teaching free Yoga, I asked my students to give me a little help. Some of them let me know walking is free and left.

The first day I charged for Yoga, the remaining students stayed, because they saw a value in learning Yoga. Their attendance was much more consistent. Some of my first “paying” Yoga students have become successful Yoga teachers in their own right, since then.



If you are serious about something, you are willing to pay for it. Would you like a free vacation spent in a conference room, with someone trying to sell you a “land deal” or would you just like some time to relax away from home? Personally, I am not interested in a free trip to learn about buying a swamp and am willing to pay for a nice vacation.

Nothing in life is really free, when you think about it. You or the local taxpayers pay for all the water that you drink. Most people have to travel to inhale fresh quality air, at the beach, or in the mountains. Even, walking requires some fuel in the form of food and drink that is paid for by somebody.

So, what is the moral of this story? Any activity you choose to do with your discretionary income is your own business, but without the support of the local community, “mom and pop” businesses will fail.

This is true for any type of local business, from the hardware store to the men’s clothing store. Most of these businesses were swallowed up by large franchises. Therefore, if you truly love Yoga, and want to learn more, support your local Yoga teacher, or your local studio.

Otherwise, you may find limited alternatives, and large fitness franchises, dictating what kind of Yoga you practice. Somehow, practicing Yoga at McDonalds isn’t very appealing.



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Understanding the Yoga Sutras

By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

At this time, there are many who practice Yoga for the physical benefits only. I'll never forget the first-time experience of teaching Yoga in a commercial health club setting.

After practicing asanas and pranayama, I mentioned that we would start a meditation session. To my surprise, two of the students stood up and left. This natural event in a health club is almost never seen in an Ashram.

What am I getting at here? Teaching all aspects of Yoga to everyone is sometimes like force-feeding a child. As teachers and interns, you should know all the benefits of Yoga. Unfortunately, your students may not want to know anything except how to "shape that body."

The philosophy and "big picture" of Yoga will have to be carried on by you and your most dedicated students. Keep in mind that each person will interpret the Yoga Sutras, written by Patanjali, differently. Just like reading the Magna Carta, the Bible, and the U.S. Constitution, there is room for different interpretations.

"Sutra" means, "to thread," and there are 194 Yoga Sutras that make up the "tapestry" of Yoga. Within these verses are guidelines to self-discovery and purpose. The first four Sutras, of the first section, are said to be the foundation of the entire work.

1:1 "And now the lesson on union begins..." This could also be interpreted as, and now the instruction of Yoga begins.

1:2 "Yoga is settling thoughts of the mind into tranquility." This can be interpreted into a number of ways. Quite simply, it is the settling of mind chatter into silence, which is the basis for meditation.

1:3 "When the thoughts have settled, the subject dwells in his/her own nature, which is unlimited consciousness." This would be, when you have calmed your mind, by restraining the mind chatter, you are ready for meditation.

1:4 "Otherwise, our nature is overshadowed by mind chatter." In other words, if you do not calm your mind, you will be overtaken by the endless multitasking, which happens during the course of a normal day.

1:5 There are five types of thought and they may, or may not, cause pain.

At first, this seems vague, but Patanjali gives a much deeper explanation in the next seven Sutras. Learning to classify mind chatter will teach us to prioritize, and therefore, make the most of the present moment.

1:6 The five types of thought are: Right Knowledge, Wrong Knowledge, Imagination, Sleep, and Memory.

1:7 Right knowledge is the ability to understand ideas based on correct perception, inference, and genuine testimony.

Our understanding of events, people, and philosophy, is founded in the idea that we are receiving reliable information from outside resources. These resources in the 21st century are many, but finding the correct information is not always easy.

1:8 Wrong knowledge is misunderstanding, illusory, and false.

Talk about profound words. At this time, it is wise to thoroughly research any subject before deciding whether it is true or false.

1:9 Imagination is thought that is founded on word knowledge which has no substance.

True imagination has no substance, but imagination is very creative and can benefit mankind. It can also be very destructive in the form of weapons. Lastly, it can be self destructive in the form of worry.

1:10 Sleep is a state of mind which is full of the sense of nothingness.

Sleep is as essential as food. Many books have been written on the subject of sleep and dreams. Deciphering dreams is not an exact science and you cannot spend all your waking moments worrying about what might be.

On the other hand - sometimes dreams give us answers to problems and cannot be entirely ignored. Hopefully, this will be food for thought and you might reflect on the writings of Patanjali.

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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Which Type of Yoga is the Right Choice for You?

By Della Menechella

You finally made the decision to practice yoga, but which style of yoga is the best one for you? There are many types of yoga, and while they usually have common elements, their focus is often quite different. If you have not been physically active in a long time, then one of the more gentle, slower moving styles may be right for you. If you are an athlete or are very physically fit, you might want to check out some of the more strenuous forms.

The following is a list of the more common yoga classes that you will find.

Hatha Yoga: Almost every style of yoga practiced in the west is some form of Hatha Yoga. It includes asanas, breathing exercises, relaxation, and meditation. Each of the individual forms of yoga has a different emphasis, but classes usually include some combination of these elements.



Ashtanga: This is a very fast paced, intense style of yoga. It follows a series of postures, which are always done in the same order and are connected with the breath. Each posture flows directly into the next one, so it is a very demanding practice. Ashtanga can be a good choice for physically fit individuals who like a challenge.

Iyengar: This type of yoga, which was developed by B.K.S. Iyengar, is focused on proper body alignment. Poses are held for long periods of time and the movement from one posture to another is slower than some other styles. Props are often used to help maintain proper alignment, so Iyengar can be a good choice for those who have physical limitations. Since it focuses so much on correct body alignment, it is also a good starting point for beginners before they move into faster paced styles.

Bikram: This style of yoga was created by Bikram Choudhury and is also known as ‘hot yoga.’ Classes are held in rooms heated up to 100 degrees in order to allow your body to stretch without injury and release toxins. Practitioners move through a series of twenty-six postures, with each one being held for a period of time. This is a strenuous style and should be avoided by people with certain health conditions unless they get clearance from their medical professional.

Power Yoga: This is an intense workout that is a hybrid of Ashtanga, because the postures do not necessarily follow a particular sequence every time. Asanas move from one to another and they require a great deal of strength and stamina. Power yoga is best suited for athletic, well-conditioned individuals. It is my favorite type of yoga, and even though I am in excellent physical shape, I find it very challenging.



Kundalini: This type of yoga combines postures with specific breathing. Its purpose is to release the Kundalini energy that is housed at the base of the spine and allow it to move upward. Its ultimate goal is spiritual enlightenment.

Kripalu: This style of yoga is meditation in motion. Its goal is for the individual to gain a deeper inner awareness and to nurture a relationship with his or her body. Classes include gentle yoga postures with coordinated breathing and an emphasis on alignment. They also include an extended period of meditation and relaxation.

Integral: Created by Sri Swami Satchidananda, this type of yoga is very gentle. Classes have a greater emphasis on the meditative rather than the physical aspects of yoga. Integral Yoga is included in Dr. Dean Ornish’s program, which has been shown to reverse heart disease.

Viniyoga: This style was created by T.K.V. Desikachar and is a therapeutic approach to yoga. It focuses on breathing in conjunction with movement. Viniyoga encourages modified postures to meet an individual’s specific needs and abilities. It would be a valuable style for someone who is dealing with an injury or other physical restriction.

Once you’ve chosen a specific type of yoga, it doesn’t mean you have to stay with it forever. You can choose to focus on another style for a while or mix several different types depending on how your mind and body feel. Whichever type you choose, the most important thing is to continue doing it on a regular basis so you can enjoy the rewards that yoga brings.



Della Menechella is a yoga and fitness enthusiast who has been involved in fitness for over thirty years. Her website http://www.beauty-fitness-yoga-source.com/ is filled with practical information about how you can make yoga and fitness a positive part of your life. Visit the site and get your free meditation e-book.

Understanding the Different Types of Yoga

types of yoga
By Suzanne Morrison

Yoga is becoming a more and more popular activity in the world today. The number of places holding Yoga classes is on the increase and there is a plethora of different types of Yoga. With a choice of Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Power Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga and many more it can be easy to get confused

The article will help you to understand the difference between the most popular types of Yoga so you can choose which type is right for you.

Hatha Yoga - in Sanskrit (an ancient classical language of India) “Ha” means “sun” and “tha” means “moon”. This type of Yoga is relatively slow paced, gentle type of Yoga and is a good place to start if you are completely new to Yoga and don't know any of the asanas (poses). Like all types of Yoga, Hatha Yoga aims to unite the mind, body and spirit.



Ashtanga Yoga - this is the type of Yoga that I practice on a regular basis and means “eight limbs” in Sanskrit. It's a fast moving, intense style of Yoga practice and is based on a progressive set sequence of asanas, synchronized with the breath. Ashtanga Yoga can be quite physically demanding as you constantly move from one asana in the sequence to the next, so you'll find that it will improve your stamina as well as your flexibility and strength.

Power Yoga - this is a western interpretation of Yoga and is based on Ashtanga Yoga. A Power Yoga class may not necessarily stick to the exact sequence of poses like Ashtanga Yoga does, but it does involve practicing a series of poses without stopping and starting.

Iyengar Yoga - This type of Yoga is based on teachings by B.K.S Igengar and concentrates on the correct alignment and form of the body. Unlike Ashtanga Yoga, there is an emphasis on holding each pose for a long period of time rather than moving constantly from one pose to the next. Iyengar Yoga uses props such as blocks and straps to help align the body into the different poses.

Vinyasa Yoga - Vinyasa means breath synchronized movement and is another fast paced type of Yoga, with an emphasis on breathing. A practice typically starts with sun salutations and moves on to more intense stretching. Throughout the practice each pose is balanced with a counter pose.



Bikram Yoga - otherwise known as “Hot Yoga”, is practiced in a room heated to 105 degrees, with a humidity of around 40%. Generally a sequence of 26 different poses is practiced during a Bikram Yoga class and the hot temperature helps to loosen muscles. Due to the high temperature most people sweat a lot during the class and this helps to cleanse the body of toxins.

If you're just starting out or have never done any Yoga before, I recommend trying a few different types of yoga to find out what you like best.

Remember, there's no rule that says you have to stick to one type of Yoga. I like Ashtanga Yoga best, but I also go to occasional Iyengar and Hatha Yoga classes for a bit of variety.



The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Yoga Business

about yoga business
By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

The dark exists everywhere and so does the light. The dark side of human personality is in all of us. Unfortunately, Yoga teachers, priests, politicians, and police are human too.

With that said, there are many caring Yoga teachers who their spend time working with seniors, fibromyalgia groups, alzheimer patients, and many more people in need. They don't get front page posting in Yoga magazines or Time Magazine, for their efforts, but they do get gratification.

Very often, I advise Yoga teachers and Yoga studios in regard to disputes, between a Yoga teacher and the Yoga studio ownership. Each side will call the other self serving and greedy. Some Yoga teachers become a perceived threat for a variety of reasons, and find themselves out of a job.

The most common reasons for dismissal are: “Money is tight,” the Yoga teacher was networking to steal students, or an ethics violation. An ethics violation is a “no-brainer” and the Yoga studio, ashram, or health club has to take swift action. Especially, if this were in relation to a potential harassment case, where the management would find itself in, the middle of, a lawsuit.




About Business: Yes, everything in this world is business, to some degree, but ethical business practice is much different from greed. Some thriving Yoga businesses actually contribute to many charities, help the community, and spread the word of living a quality life.

Personally, quality Yoga teachers are hard to come by, and studios should prepare for “seasonal slow downs.” Below is some advice I recently gave a Yoga teacher who is very skilled, but was permanently released by an ashram, due to the “summer slow down.”

Your ability and creativity to use props is a valuable teaching skill. Very often, in lectures, I refer to knowledge of body mechanics, as a major asset, and the ability to teach every student, who walks in the door as priceless. You have the ability to teach, any Yoga student, at any level.

Although, the director of your ashram overlooked your value, you should not be discouraged, at all. There is a saying: "knowing is enough." Keep developing your skills, help people, and good karma will help you.




The best we can do is, change the world for the better - one person at a time. If we can do more - that is good too. Don't be disheartened - always look at what good can be done, in response to any given situation. Your passion for Yoga can help everyone you come into contact with.”
For those Yoga studios that worry about losing students to, a Yoga teacher, you could design a non-competition agreement, for your protection. I still do not have one at my center, but I do know what it is like to create an idea, find a teacher, advertise, and cultivate a class; only to have a teacher take the class home.

So why do I still not have a “contract” for Yoga teachers, on my staff? Did I learn from my mistake? Yes I did, but the relationship between studio ownership and independent Yoga teacher is all about trust, character improvement, and cultivating mutual respect. This is what makes it a bit different from the corporate world.

Lastly, if you are a Yoga studio or ashram owner that has been “burned,” in the past, by staff or employees, it doesn’t hurt to review your hiring process. Hiring good technical Yoga teachers is not enough, if you can’t trust them.




We did overhaul our interviewing process, preliminary requirements, and hiring practices, without implementing a non-competition agreement contract. Make sure candidates are interviewed more than once, by different people. This will “weed out” those you can trust, from those you have doubts about.


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Please feel free to share our posts with your friends, colleagues, and favorite social media networks.
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