Thursday, March 30, 2006

Protecting your Yoga Teaching Business



By Paul Jerard


When or if, you want to become a Yoga teacher - would you be thinking of litigation and Yoga? The old saying, “the truth hurts,” applies to legality, ethics, and teaching Yoga. You can always “bury your head in the sand” and hope that you are never involved in a legal battle. After all, what kind of a student would sue his or her Yoga teacher? Doctors must ask each other this question every day. Sorry, but denial will not help you in a court of law.

Instead of denying the obvious, you can take action, by learning how the law applies to your Yoga business. You can also start creating policies that protect your students, and insure that you are giving quality Yoga instruction for the rest of your life.

It has been said that “Knowledge is Power,” and this could never be more true than when it comes down to knowing the “Letter of the Law.” Just like when a Yoga student first learns to develop his or her awareness from Yoga and meditation practice - Yoga teachers must develop an awareness of legality, as it pertains to their Yoga businesses.

For the average Yoga teacher, the thought of litigation, as a result of a student entering his or her Yoga class, is depressing. Many Yoga teachers and interns pursue the rewarding career of teaching Yoga as “Good Samaritans.” Yoga teachers are very often generous with their time, effort, and services.

It is “heartbreaking” for me to tell “giving people,” with the best of intentions, that they can be sued at any time. In this climate of litigation, anyone, even a Yoga teacher, can have a lawsuit filed against them. Defending yourself, in a court of law, can and does, create physical, spiritual, mental, and financial exhaustion.

As a result of this reality, this requires protective action on the part of all Yoga teachers. Look at this as a prevention program and a compliment to your current liability insurance policy. “I didn’t know,” will not save any of us from the wrath of the law.

Review your liability insurance and your release forms. Most Yoga teachers should have their attorney review their release forms. The days of a simple one page waiver form are over. A documented health questionnaire may help you to prevent a sudden legal catastrophe. This is not required, but serves as a tangible document to know each Yoga student a little better.

Just remember that a potential Yoga student has the legal right to refuse to fill out a questionnaire, if they so desire. This does leave you “flying blind,” when teaching Yoga classes to students whose current health condition is a mystery.

Therefore, always mention contraindications for asanas. It would be prudent to have an information packet, with contraindications, and prenatal warnings included. You could also include a slip for Yoga students to sign, which indicates that they have read, and understand, that Yoga can be a risk for some health conditions.

Lastly, it is better to lose a potential Yoga student, than to teach one at the risk of his or her health.

© Copyright 2006 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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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. Thank you and Namaste, Paul
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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Yoga Teacher Guidelines for Assisting, Part 1

how to become a certified yoga instructor
By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

What should Yoga teachers know about giving an assist before a potential legal problem arises? Have you ever had an assist that didn’t really help much? Have you ever had a physical assist that hurt you physically or in any way? Do physical assists in Yoga postures make you feel uncomfortable? Is it really necessary for Yoga teachers to give a physical assist?

As most of you already know, a physical assist is for the purpose of adjusting a student into proper alignment in a Yoga class. So, why make such a “fuss” over it? One Yoga student may see something as an assist - while another may feel you have crossed the line into sexual harassment.



What should Yoga teachers know about giving an assist before a potential problem arises? As a Yoga teacher, Yoga instructor, or body worker, you should have clear cut policies concerning many things, but let’s focus on physical assists for now. Your release forms for Yoga students should explain what a student can, and cannot, expect from an assist; and you should get their permission in writing.

This is one good reason why you should never let a new student into a Yoga class without filling out the necessary applications and having a meeting about their expectations. This gives Yoga students a chance to be informed as to what to realistically expect from Yoga. In the process, he or she can agree to a physical assist or refuse it on the spot.

This policy of clear cut information, and an interview before classes, is good for the Yoga teacher and the student. From the start, you are developing the student / teacher relationship and creating a rapport with new Yoga students.



With this said, now you understand one more logical reason why students, who arrive late to a Yoga class, are refused. It is bad enough to contend with interruptions in the flow of your lesson plan. Now, add to this that a Yoga student should do a warm-up before jumping into class. When a student is injured, in one of your Yoga classes, you will ultimately take responsibility.

The previously mentioned scenario has the potential for a liability suit. In the words of a friend and attorney of mine, “Anyone can be sued, but that does not mean every plaintiff will successfully win a case?”

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division



To see find out more about yoga or to see our selection of affordable courses, including our online yoga teacher training intensives, please use the yoga resources on the right side of this page.

If you are a teacher, yoga studio 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!

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Truth about Options for Yoga Teachers, Part 5


By Paul Jerard

Kids Yoga: You really have to be connected to a children’s day care center, private school, or public school, to have large numbers of kids joining your Yoga classes. This may not be the case everywhere, but it reflects the feedback I get from Yoga teachers worldwide.

It is also true for our wellness center in North Providence, RI. Our Kids Yoga class started small but now has a regular following of 20 students per class. To be honest, I brought Yoga into the children’s martial arts classes by integrating Vinyasa Yoga with their regular warm-ups.

The result was children who shed fat, became a bit more muscular, and demonstrated more strength and positive attitudes than ever before. The parents are ecstatic about the results now, but wondered what I was up to, when children in Jujitsu or Karate classes were engaged in Yoga training, as part of the curriculum. The benefits to children who learn Yoga are endless.

This is a non-competitive atmosphere, where a kid can just be a kid. Children, who regularly participate in Yoga classes, do not have to put pressure on themselves, and can learn many life skills, such as enhanced self-appreciation.

If you are going to teach children, make sure you are prepared for them to be your biggest challenge. It is all about keeping their attention span, therefore, split your Yoga class into segments. Classes have to be fun, and you should only address four components such as: posture, breathing, relaxation, and meditation. Keep it simple, and don’t go off into a lecture that will put them to sleep. Kids do not come to Hatha Yoga classes to learn the finer points of Bhakti Yoga.

Always praise each child who participates, as this does help their self-esteem. Many times, Kids Yoga class is similar to a carnival, where every child wins a prize. In this case, always point out the children who try. This atmosphere will create children who follow the best examples; then, praise those children who try to copy. This is a win-win situation for every child in your Yoga class.

If you do not have patience, please do not consider teaching Yoga to children. Teaching a Kids Yoga class is not for every Yoga instructor. You have to be creative, an entertainer, and a guide to become a kids Yoga instructor.

After all, Kids Yoga classes contain aspects of Yoga that many adults have lost track of - from a very silly Lion face, to an extremely serious meditation. When you are giving Yoga instruction to a class full of children, your mind must be as flexible as your body.

© Copyright 2006 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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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. Thank you and Namaste, Paul
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Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Truth about Options for Yoga Teachers, Part 4


By Paul Jerard

Yoga Hybrids: It could be argued that Pilates is a Yoga hybrid. I don’t want to start a big debate over the Pilates Method. The founder, Joseph Pilates, was truly an innovator and way ahead of his time; he also practiced Yoga and martial arts. Therefore, the roots of the Pilates Method are still clear to see.

Many of the Yoga hybrids are combinations of Yoga with dance, martial arts, and Pilates. If you were to pursue these a bit further you could “re-invent the wheel” or become certified to teach Kripalu DansKinetics, The Method, Yoga Fusion, Yogilates, or Nia.

All of these Yoga hybrids are very active and trendy at this time. Some of them may well pass the test of time, such as the Pilates Method. Only time will tell if a health maintenance system will span generations. If you are looking for an extra niche to add to your Yoga teaching skills, any one of these methods will compliment a Yoga class schedule.

Chair Yoga: There are some Yoga teachers who should not consider this field. If a Yoga instructor does not believe in modifications, props, and tailoring a Yoga class toward the students, he or she should stay away from this rewarding field.

There is a tremendously large demand for Yoga teachers, who are patient, compassionate, creative, and want to help others. This is a Yoga teaching position which demands that you learn about ailments, anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and physiology, on a steady basis. Continuing education is a very important part of a Chair Yoga teacher’s job.

As the Baby Boom generation ages, this “spells out” job security for Yoga instructors who wish to specialize in Chair Yoga. There is no better time than right now to get started, and Chair Yoga will continue to be in need for decades to come. Unfortunately, I do not have enough time for the demand for all of the Chair Yoga classes in my little corner of Rhode Island.

In the past, I have trained Yoga teachers to specialize in this field. The demand to fill the local needs of nursing homes, seniors centers, gated communities, assisted living, adult day care, and physical rehabilitation centers, is far greater than the number of Yoga teachers. This is just the “tip of the iceberg,” and my mornings are full with teaching Chair Yoga sessions in the Greater Providence area.

Lastly, the current Chair Yoga teaching opportunities are many, and this particular field is still in its infancy. You will never find a more appreciative group of students, than you will find by teaching a Chair Yoga class.

© Copyright 2006 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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FREE CONTENT: If you are a Yoga Teacher, Yoga studio, 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, Paul

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Truth about Options for Yoga Teachers, Part 3


By Paul Jerard

Power Yoga: Many things come to mind when we hear the words “Power Yoga,” but the roots of Power Yoga are usually related to Ashtanga Yoga. This is not always the case, but more often, than not, Power Yoga is an offshoot of Ashtanga Yoga.

Thinking about Power Yoga may conjure up vivid images of Yoga teachers like Beryl Bender Birch, Bryan Kest, or Baron Baptiste. This is a vigorous form of Ashtanga Yoga with a Western “twist.” Classes are usually filled with younger adult Yoga students and active athletes.

These are not classes for Yoga students with ailments, or for beginners who just “jumped off the couch.” Power Yoga is a fantastic system of Yoga exercises, but if you are going to teach any form of Power Yoga classes, you have to be completely honest with prospective students. The physical challenge of a Power Yoga class is not for everyone who wants to learn a form of Hatha Yoga.

For example: A middle-aged, inactive, beginner Yoga student, should be guided to a gentle Yoga style, if he or she wants to pursue the study of Hatha Yoga. This student will learn the basics, safety guidelines, and contraindications that apply to his or her body. After a few months of regular practice, this Yoga student will see the path of infinite possibilities open, and then make an educated choice from what he or she has learned.

The injury of a student, due to the desire for a Yoga teacher’s desire to “fill up classes,” is morally and ethically wrong. Complete honesty with students is not often taught when we are trained to become a Yoga teacher. Yoga teachers are often trained to be gentle guides along the path toward total health.

Being completely blunt about a prospective Yoga student’s limitations - might be bad for business. However, whenever a student is injured, the Yoga instructor will often feel remorse, even if the situation was completely unforeseen. The above-mentioned scenario, of an unfit student going into a vigorous Yoga class, can easily be seen. If you do not have a questionnaire for new Yoga students, you should design one now, even if you have never had a single problem.

This is not meant to “steer you away” from teaching Power Yoga classes or to prevent you from learning to become a Power Yoga instructor. Power Yoga classes are very rewarding to participate in and to teach.

When considering the needs of new Yoga students, always be diplomatic, and guide potential Yoga students toward their best choice. Unfortunately, this sometimes means we must guide them to the Yoga teacher down the street.

© Copyright 2006 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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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. Thank you and Namaste, Paul
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The Most Important Yoga Pose When You are on the Go


By Foras Aje

With over 84, 000 poses in yoga to choose from for practice, yoga enthusiasts and practitioners might be left confused on just which ones are the most important.

With our daily demands and commitments, most of us might not have the time to perform so many poses therefore we should focus on the one that is of the most benefit for daily practice and that is the Shoulder-Stand (known in Sanskrit as Savangasana).

It is my recommended favorite of the inverted poses. Its ease and reminder that as a kid, you tried it before, makes it one that I emphasize even more so than the Headstand you might be familiar with as they share almost if not all the same benefits without the fear of standing on your head.

Inverted poses reverse the action of gravity on the body. Instead of everything being pulled towards the feet, the orientation shifts towards the head. On emotional levels the Shoulder Stand turns everything upside down throwing a new light on old patterns of behavior.
It improves health, reduces stress and anxiety and increases mental power and also increases self confidence. In addition, the abdominal organs, liver, spleen, stomach, kidneys and pancreas receive a powerful massage helping them work better.

In Sanskrit, Sarvanga means all parts so as the name suggests, it affects all the bodily organs. It stimulates the thyroid gland, balancing the circulatory, digestive, nervous, reproductive and endocrine systems. It is indeed a panacea, a cure all. Obesity and corpulence are alleviated by this pose as well as constipation and enlargement of the liver and the spleen.
It is best practiced with its counter poses in specific durations for maximal efficiency and when planned correctly, the whole sequence could take less than 6 minutes to carry out, depending on your schedule.

Personally, I make the point as a practitioner to incorporate the sequence into my daily regimen with other forms of exercise, but I always place the most emphasis on this one pose for all the benefits above.

So next time when you are unsure of which pose you have to include in your session when you are on the go, make it a point to go for the Shoulder-Stand. Your body will thank you for it.

Discover proven ways of attaining improved health with the all-natural methods of a proper diet, Yoga and positive thinking. Download your preview or simply print out the free information at http://www.bodyhealthsoul.com/yoga.htm

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Truth about Options for Yoga Teachers, Part 2


By Paul Jerard

At the very least, a Yoga teacher should have knowledge of the latest trends in Yoga classes, and the latest continuing education options for Yoga teachers. If something does appeal to you, there are many different continuing education options available for Yoga teachers. There are a number of workshops, seminars, and camps around the world for interns and established Yoga teachers.

If you already have a running Yoga studio, children, or responsibilities at home, onsite Yoga teacher training may not always be the best option. You may want to consider Yoga distance learning, also known as “Yoga Home Study,” as a viable option. This is a recognized form of continuing education for Yoga instructors by most of the certifying bodies.

Due to time constraints, family commitments, and working a full time job -Yoga teachers often find Yoga teacher training correspondence courses to be a convenient way to expand on their existing knowledge of Yoga.

Now, let’s take a close look at options for specialization in the Yoga teaching profession.
Hot Yoga: Obviously this is self-explanatory and requires a tolerance to heat - in the neighborhood of 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Most Hot Yoga classes are based upon Bikram Choudhury’s style of Hatha Yoga.

However, it is extremely unwise to copy his exact sequence of postures, as they are patented. Regardless of whether you think it is right or wrong to patent a Yoga sequence, who wants to go to court over it? It never ceases to amaze Yoga teachers when they hear about the potential to be sued. In order to by- pass this dilemma, teaching a Hot Yoga class can be accomplished without a legal battle.

What I see most Hot Yoga teachers do is somewhat similar to Bikram’s style, but you may also see Sun Salutations and a variety of postures that are not seen in most Bikram studios. Hot Yoga classes are popular for all ages. There are a surprising number of Yoga students who are beyond middle age in these Yoga classes.

Some people love the heat, while others simply cannot adapt to these temperatures. Therefore, if you want to become a Hot Yoga instructor, make sure that you are up to the task of leading a Yoga class under these temperature conditions. It is one thing to take a Hot Yoga class, but it is quite a different experience to actually teach one.

© Copyright 2006 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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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. Thank you and Namaste, Paul
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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Truth about Options for Yoga Teachers, Part 1

By Paul Jerard
When, or if, you decide to become a Yoga teacher, you should start with a basic Yoga teacher training course that gives you an overview of all of the fields within Yoga. If you decide to specialize, it is best to do it when the need becomes apparent. This is not always the case for every Yoga instructor. For example: You may have a calling for Prenatal Yoga or Kids Yoga.

This is fine - as Yoga teachers, and Yoga practitioners, we all understand passion. However, please make sure there is a market for the Yoga teaching niche you desire in your local area. After you get your “feet wet,” teaching Yoga to different groups, you will more accurately see your own destiny.

This may not happen right away, and some Yoga instructors are very comfortable working with the “general population.” When I look at my weekly schedule, I teach Yoga to kids, seniors with various levels of mobility, Gentle Yoga to a targeted middle aged group, Restorative Yoga (which also attracts students in the middle-aged range), Vinyasa Yoga classes to students in the 20 to 30 years of age range, and private sessions, which can cover just about anything.

To be honest, this is not for everyone, but if you teach Yoga full time, you tend to go where the needs are. Yoga students will seek you out, and you may have a specialized market that “screams” for your help. This will guide you toward a needful population of motivated Yoga students.

This is exactly what happened to me with Chair Yoga. When I received a call from a local senior center for Yoga classes, I had no idea it would become so popular. That led to filling up my morning Yoga class schedule, Later, I trained Yoga instructors, in my area, to address a need that is far beyond my ability to fulfill. The fact is, more Chair Yoga teachers are needed right now.

In our next section, we will go over some options for Yoga teachers, who have students, or potential students, seeking a specific form of Yoga instruction. Some of these niche markets will give you no passion at all, but it is good to look at your teaching options and then decide which sort of Yoga training you want to get involved in.

Always remember to keep an eye on which forms of Yoga are in demand, even though they may not appeal to you personally.

© Copyright 2006 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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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. Thank you and Namaste, Paul
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Friday, March 03, 2006

Facts about Successful Yoga Teachers, Part 4


By Paul Jerard

In the last part of this series, let’s pick up where we left off about success as a Yoga teacher. With regard to attracting, and keeping your Yoga students, it is not easy to do both. Many Yoga teachers focus on bringing new students in the front door, without considering the more important needs of their “established students.”

Do you have survey forms for your Yoga students? You should – and also give them a reward for their participation. They are helping you learn what they want, and this is something you cannot afford to speculate on. This is one of the many ways your Yoga students become your teachers.

Once you sit at the front of the class, and begin to teach Yoga classes, you can no longer visualize a class as a student. This is why I like to visit classes that are taught by my staff. This gives me a unique viewpoint, and I can better understand what a student may require from his or her Yoga instructor.

However, this is not enough; and many of us need some true feedback to clarify what is needed within the Yoga studio or ashram. You are not really a client or a student anymore, so it is difficult to visualize their point of view.

In turn, tell your students the truth about everything. Tell them about the realistic expectations of Yoga practice. Let your students know what is expected of them. Yoga students should know that they have to practice regularly. Yoga is more than a once a week commitment. How could any of us expect to make significant progress by attending a Yoga class once per week?

Keep your classes interesting. If you get a stale feeling, and feel like you are in a rut, then your students probably feel the same way.

Lastly, when you travel around town, and someone asks what you do, what do you say? If your answer is, “I’m a Yoga teacher,” it may mean nothing to a person who knows very little about Yoga.

Do you teach meditation, stress management, work with kids, work with seniors, help people with ailments, teach a very physical style, or something else? What makes your method of teaching Yoga different from the rest? You are better off explaining the benefits of your particular style, than to label it “Vinyasa Yoga,” for example.

If you say you are a Vinyasa Yoga teacher, you may have just said two words that a prospective student does not understand. They might ask you, “What is Vinyasa Yoga?” Also, they might just sit there nodding like they understand you, and walk away without asking, for fear that they will seem unintelligent.

Tell people what you do in descriptive terms, and make sure they understand the particular benefits of the Yoga you teach.

© Copyright 2006 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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Bonus: Free Yoga e-Book, "Yoga in Practice."
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FREE CONTENT: If you are a Yoga Teacher, Yoga studio, 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, Paul

Facts about Successful Yoga Teachers, Part 3


By Paul Jerard

Do successful Yoga teachers produce more successful teachers? The short answer is, “Yes, they do.” Tirumalai Krishnamacharya produced many good Yoga teachers, but how many of us could match his accomplishments? Among his many Yoga students are four Master Yoga teachers: Pattabhi Jois, B.K.S. Iyengar, Indra Devi, and T.K.V. Desikachar.

Therefore, most of the Hatha Yoga sub-styles of today have been affected by Tirumalai Krishnamacharya. His legacy has cast a long shadow, and his accomplishments may never be matched. To some, this is success and to others, success is simply helping people with health and well being.

While others, might consider Bikram Choudhury, to be the most successful Yoga teacher of our time. It is said that his style produces, in the neighborhood of, 900 Yoga teachers per year. Not bad, considering he had a serious knee injury as a teen and made quite a come back. He aggressively markets his style of Yoga, has patented his asana sequence, has been in the American “lime light,” and lives a very wealthy life.

So, this is a very different form of success. In his own right, Bikram Choudhury is one of the most successful Yoga teachers of this time, and he has produced many more successful Yoga teachers. Success means many things to many people, and we each have a different viewpoint of the meaning of success. Success can be easily classified into physical, mental, spiritual, and material categories.

What about Yoga teachers who demonstrate technical prowess? Yes, a Yoga teacher who understands alignment should be successful. Unfortunately, perfect alignment is not abundant. The human body has many imperfections, and this can be a struggle if a Yoga teacher becomes a perfectionist.

This can sometimes affect the ego of a Yoga teacher for the worst. The teaching style should still be compassionate - when assisting or demonstrating Yoga techniques. When an instructor of Yoga becomes arrogant and self-absorbed, he or she will start to lose students, among many other things.

Is success measured by how many Yoga students you have? To put it simply: “No.” Many successful Yoga teachers have small schools, but their agenda is not materially based. They enjoy helping others and improving the lives of their Yoga students. This is definitely success and gratification.

However, if you want to earn a living - have financial obligations, or just want to be comfortable, your life will be much easier, when you have more Yoga students.

© Copyright 2006 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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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. Thank you and Namaste, Paul
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