Monday, March 19, 2007

Teaching Hatha Yoga: Physical Limits of Yoga Students

500 hour yoga instructor certification program
By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Have you ever seen a Yoga student who was so competitive that it caused an injury? How do you reason with a person who cannot put competitive feelings aside during a Yoga class?
Concerning students who push themselves too far - A Yoga student's number one teacher is his or her body. If the student does not listen to the body, the lowest form of awareness cannot be developed.

In this case, a student will not reach higher levels of consciousness (meditation or Samadhi) because awareness of the body is one of the fundamental steps in Yoga training. Physical awareness will eventually lead to mental and emotional awareness, at a later point, in a Yoga student’s training.

Finally, spiritual awareness will result in a “spiritual awakening.” This spiritual awakening will cause a Yoga student to connect physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health, which will result in finding one’s true purpose in life.

When we find our purpose in life, we find self-worth. Now that you have seen the formula to self-worth, you must realize that none of this can happen if we are struggling back at “square one,” dealing with our ego.

Adults who cannot suppress their ego are often in touch with their inner child, but have taken a wrong turn, if they are on a path of self-improvement. It is good for adults to have some care free qualities, but we cannot afford to push our bodies like children often do.

Children commonly push their bodies too far, because they are not familiar with physical limits and their consciousness is limited, but children will usually listen to adult warnings.

When adult students physically push their bodies too far, it can cause permanent injury to a joint, and possibly, halt physical Yoga practice completely.

However, adult students do not always listen to their Yoga teacher. This is why it is important for Yoga instructors to repeatedly cue students in regard to basic contraindications for specific postures (asanas).

Sorry to say, the adult student who still continues to push the physical body too far, after repeated warnings, from his or her Yoga teacher, needs a "baby sitter." You may have to talk to a competitive student, in private, and express realistic concerns about potential injury, which can result from using force.

Unfortunately, if you have a student who does not listen to your repeated warnings, you may have to ask him or her to leave. This person should not be allowed to hurt him or herself in your Yoga class.

© Copyright Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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