Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Practice Yoga for a Clear and Happy Mind

500 hour hatha yoga teacher training program
By Kimaya Singh

Stress is sapping the happiness out of people. Chronic stress in linked to heart disease, assorted pains, cancer and premature death. If the ever was a time for people to find happiness and ditch stress, it's right now.

Today's World

You find yourself, or a student of yours, unhappy, stressed, discontented, and even depressed. Like many in our culture, you may seek fulfillment through material things, status or money. In fact, contentment or happiness is better found from within. Yoga offers a route to joy through regular practice of asanas (postures) and pranayama (the breath). Yogis have been teaching these methods for centuries and the time-honored practices offer not just a path to happiness but also to peace and contentment.

A Sure Path to Happiness

It can be difficult for others to see the cultivation of prana as a path to happiness until they first try it intentionally. Pranayama is the Sanskrit word which means, simply, the breath of life. There are many exercises you can practice to improve the way this breath of life travels in and out of and enhances you body, but let's use one simple cleansing yogic breath here. Breathe in for eight counts, hold for four, breathe out for eight counts, hold for four, and breathe in again for eight counts. What are you noticing? This breath of life can cleanse your body and release tension, abolish negative thoughts and wash away the stress of the day to return you to a state of contentment.

This is the beginning. Think of pranayama as carrying spirit or life energy and reaching to all areas of your body. As you practice yogic breathing you have the capability to reach and carry that energy through your system, relieving distress, healing and energizing. Following the yogic tradition, you will continue to learn how to unleash the potential of mind, body and spirit through the breath. Adding yogic techniques like alternate nostril breathing will further enhance your state of being.

Now turn to the asanas. You can utilize yogic positions to enhance the manner your body finds its way to happiness: the child's pose, the plough, the warrior, the bridge and the lion. Science believes now what yogis have known for centuries (Harvard Mental Health Letter, April 2009): that the asana practices cure depression (by raising dopamine and serotonin levels in the body), lift the energy levels of the body, enhance thinking, change eating and digestion patterns, give a brighter outlook on life and make one feel happier. As you regularly move through these asanas, you massage the organs of your body and enhance your lymphatic and cardiovascular systems. Doesn't it follow that yogic methodologies will help you feel happier?


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