Friday, May 25, 2007

The Purpose of Yoga – Taking Control of Your Life

taking control of your life
By Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Yoga teaches us how to make life changes from within. Within all Yoga styles are the tools of self-realization and transformation. Once a Yoga practitioner has managed to empower him or herself, a positive direction will become the easiest path to follow.

Everyone is subject to outside pressures, even adults. There is always somebody who is willing to give you advice you did not ask for. When we are children, we think that outside pressure will stop, when we are “grown up;” we will be independent and in control of our lives.

As young adults, we soon find out that we have limited control of our lives, when there is always someone to answer to, in the form of a parent, college professor, supervisor, customer, drill sergeant, or someone else. In fact, we have limited control because we do not control nature.

How can Yoga empower you to take control of your life? How can you stop others from attempting to control your life? Let’s look at how Yoga can help you to create your own manifestations and change your destiny for the best.

Do you ever have a co-worker who enjoys making others feel inferior? Consider this: We have to give permission to those who insult us, in order for them to make us feel less worthy. Without our permission, they hold no power over us.

If you believe that your existence is a problem, mistake, or error, then you really do have troubles. Self-doubt leads to self-defeat. Yet, all is not lost - because, in this case, the trouble can be found and purged from within you.

The solution to this problem is also within you. Once you understand that you have to respect your own self-image at all times, you will manifest positive energy from within. You must forgive yourself for past mistakes, make positive changes, and never speak poorly of yourself. You will receive nothing by thinking less of yourself, and you will leave the door open for those who feel gratification in your unhappiness.

About people who want to control you: Remember the saying, “Just say, ‘No’.” Many people feel that life is not so simple, but “No” can be a powerful word, which prevents complications and trouble. You do not have to feel obligated to every request - just because somebody asks you.

This is not a “free pass” to refuse people in need, but you should use your best judgment about how you will spend your time and energy. Yogic philosophy teaches us to live in the moment, while performing acts of mindfulness, loving kindness, and forgiveness.

It is easy enough to waste time and energy, without experiencing peer pressure along the way. The correct path is universal, and your heart is your best guide.

© Copyright - Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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Patenting Yoga - A Crime against Humanity

By Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

What’s next; will we have to pay a toll to meditate? How can it be morally correct to gain a US patent on a 5,000 year old system founded in India? Who should have the right to claim Yoga?
What about the “cultural heritage of the Indian people?” It is obvious to see, Yoga is definitely part of the heritage of Indian culture.

Most of us believe that the theft of intellectual property is wrong, but let us combine this wrong, with theft of someone else’s cultural heritage for profit.

According to the Times of India, “The US Patent and Trademark office has reportedly issued 150 Yoga-related copyrights, 134 trademarks on Yoga accessories, and 2,315 Yoga trademarks.”

As a result, the Indian government has organized a group to gather Sanskrit and Tamil texts, which will catalog Yogic techniques and Ayurvedic medicine in multiple languages, to prevent patents of Yoga and Ayurveda. This action would make information about Yoga, and Ayurveda, more accessible to patent offices around the world.

What can happen if corporations buy up every Yoga technique? It seems silly to think about, but would we be obligated to pay royalties, or negotiate rights, to perform an Asana or Pranayama sequence?

One Yoga teacher, Bikram Choudhary, copyrighted a 26 Yoga posture (Asana) sequence, which he claimed as his own. Yet, most “hot Yoga” teachers, and hot Yoga studios, around the world, perform the same sequence, without paying him a dime. How do you police an Asana sequence?

Consider this: If you buy the patent to Brahmari Pranayama, how do you manage to keep track of who is performing it in every corner of the earth? The idea is ludicrous, and the patent is not really enforceable.

Yoga is a complex subject and some people are still trying to grasp what Yoga is. Some people think Yoga is exercise. I suppose you could patent an exercise, but it has never been a successful business strategy to patent an exercise.

Every time you trademark an exercise, another person will label it as something similar, but not the same. You cannot stop everyone in the world from doing push-ups because you bought the trademark and patent.

However, Yoga is not an exercise. Yoga is the unity of mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health, for the improvement of all mankind. Yoga is a philosophy, a science, a health maintenance system, and the “Mother of all self-improvement systems.” Yoga is just too vast a subject to try to own it.

The purchasing of Yoga patents is a lesson in futility. Should we buy patents for mantras, breathing, good posture, and eating right? Those are also valuable components of Yoga, but one component of Yoga is not all of Yoga. Yoga is composed of many parts. Maharishi Patanjali wrote that Yoga is composed of eight limbs in his Yoga Sutras.

According to Swami Ramdev, "Yoga can't be owned and run like a company. Since there are attempts to patent this tradition (of Yoga) in America, the Centre and Yoga organizations should take measures to prevent it."

He is not the only Guru who is disturbed by the patenting of Yoga. This is disturbing to most Yoga practitioners and Yoga teachers. So, what can the rest of us do about it? We can take action by writing, Emailing, and faxing our law makers.

Stop the foolishness – Say, “No,” to Yoga patents.

© Copyright 2007 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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Teaching Hatha Yoga: Difficult Students and Fitness Centers

difficult students
By Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

What would you do if you had to substitute your Yoga class for an Aerobic Step class? What if one of the Step Aerobics students gave you a case of misplaced aggression because he or she was disappointed the Step Aerobics class was canceled?

If you are considering teaching Yoga in a fitness center, or health club; imagine the following situation. A Power Yoga teacher is called, by the fitness center she works for - to substitute her Power Yoga class for the regular Step Aerobics Class; this is her story.

“This morning I substituted for another fitness class and had a woman
literally scowl, once she found out that Yoga was filling in the time slot for
the Step Aerobics class. She looked at me, and said, that it wasn't against me,
but she just didn't see the point in stretching. "I can't loose weight by
stretching. I need cardio."

I told her that she might be surprised and she might see Yoga in a
different light. She replied "Not likely," and walked away from me. Though she
said it wasn't personal, I took it so.

I really thought hard about all the things I wanted to say, but found
that everything I wanted to say had a negative tone. I told this person, as she
walked away that I was not going to argue with her because I saw no point in it.

I felt hurt by her attitude, what can be said to people like this? What
can I do to let it "roll off of me?" Can you respond in love and still get the
point across?”

Let’s find some realistic solutions for this Yoga teacher.

In a nutshell: This particular health club member is full of negative energy. You are doing your job by substituting for the Step Aerobics class. She decides to take it out on you, but it is all misplaced aggression. She would have acted the same way toward anyone teaching anything, except a cardio based fitness class.

Fitness centers are doing the best they can to serve their clients, on tight budgets. This particular fitness center wants to make sure there is a class for its members, because the Step Aerobics instructor is out. This is obvious, but, this person decides to attack what you do - just to lash out at somebody.

What you did is the best thing by avoiding an argument. Showing loving kindness was wise for many reasons. Management will usually back the members, no matter how obnoxious they are.

Many Yoga instructors currently teach Yoga in, or have taught Yoga at, fitness centers, in the past. When a racquetball court is in full swing, a fitness center is not always an ideal place to teach meditation.

My advice: Design a prepared handout, which highlights the researched benefits of Power Yoga. Some fitness center clientele don't understand what Yoga is or what it can do for them.

Pass them out with a smile. If the class wants to work hard, give them their money's worth (a serious challenge). They will believe Power Yoga can get them fit, when they can see and feel it.

Those scenarios are the reasons why some Yoga teachers do not teach in fitness centers anymore. When I teach Yoga to anyone, I want to make sure the students want to be there for Yoga.

In a health club, Yoga is just part of a big fitness menu - Like ice cream on an apple pie in a restaurant. So, very few of the members see it as something special.

Lastly, you are a Yoga teacher, but you are human too. Negative people do not think much before talking, but they do upset everyone all day and every day.

You did the right thing by displaying self-restraint. Remember the saying: “You cannot please everyone all the time.”

© Copyright - Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about our selection of online teacher certification courses.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Office Yoga: Corporate Yoga for the Office

office yoga teacher training course
By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Could Yoga training increase office productivity? Can Yoga teachers help the corporate sector? What can Office Yoga programs do for large and small businesses? Let’s look at solutions that Yogic methods can offer to the business world.

The number of office workers has increased, with the invention of the personal computer. Working excessive hours in front of a personal computer can create a multitude of back, neck, shoulder, spine, hip, and wrist problems. Muscle groups, in all of these areas, respond with tension and a variety of long-term problems - if they are ignored by office workers and management.

Forty years ago, secretaries would have been patronized for their migraines, cluster headaches, back pain, hip problems, and sore necks. Now, times are changing, and there has been much progress with ergonomics and studies which reveal new insights about the relationship of prolonged sitting to specific health problems.

A recent study, by The Medical Research Institute, in New Zealand, has revealed that office workers may be at a higher risk of developing blood clots. As most of us know, these studies are worded very tactfully, and do not jump to conclusions; however, anyone who understands body mechanics would realize that this makes perfect sense.

With that said, let’s remember that blood clots can be potentially fatal as they travel to the heart and vital organs. Blood clots can, and do, cause stroke, chest pain, and heart attack.

With larger numbers of office workers putting in extra hours of work, some “forward thinking” companies have begun to respond with office Yoga programs for their employees. Even short Office Yoga sessions can release muscle tension and alleviate the routine pains and aches, which result from prolonged sitting.

Therefore, companies, which take pro-active measures, by installing Office Yoga programs, are taking positive action toward health solutions for employees – thus, increasing productivity, while decreasing sick time, tardiness, and medical leave.

Office Yoga creates an atmosphere of decreased anxiety, less stress, positive thinking, and raises morale. Nothing is more rewarding than feeling worthy and being treated with respect. Any small company can take such action by installing an Office Yoga program.

Some companies pay a percentage for a Yoga teacher to operate an Office Yoga class, while employees pay the balance. Other companies see this as a “win-win” situation and pay for the Yoga classes in full. Regardless of how an Office Yoga program is paid for, the benefits for the corporate sector are just starting to be realized.

© Copyright Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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