Sunday, April 29, 2012

Teacher Guidelines for Power Yoga

yoga teacher educationBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Teaching Power Yoga can be a difficult task; not only is it fast moving, but it also is meant to physically challenge the practitioners. Keeping an eye on students during a fast-flowing session can be hard, especially if a class is large or if it contains beginners unfamiliar with basic Yoga practices. New students being mixed into a class full of experienced students is the studio management’s call, but it is your challenge, if you teach Yoga classes.


Unless you are an instructor who teaches advanced classes only, you will need to learn how to adapt each session toward the needs of your students. Depending on the size of your gym or studio, your class will likely be filled with a mixture of student levels; even within a session geared toward, say, intermediate practitioners, variations will occur.

Due to the fact that a Power Yoga sequence can be challenging, and flowing; modifying your class too much can seem to slow it down. In cases where only one or two students need more in-depth instruction, it can be helpful to ask one of your experienced students to lead the series while you spend more time with those who need it.


Instruction in any physical form of Yoga should focus on alignment issues to help students avoid injury. Beginners must learn how to practice poses correctly in order to both prevent injury and receive the full benefits of their practice. Your role as a Yoga teacher is to encourage, guide, and provide feedback on technique. It is important, especially with the more tentative students, not to over-correct form, but to give each student just enough encouragement and instruction that he or she can continue improving and modifying their poses.

Safety Guidelines for Youths or Beginners

Some instructors believe that a Power Yoga class is no place for beginners or for kids. This is because an unfamiliarity with the poses ultimately means they cannot be practiced in a fast and flowing series. That being said, there are some cases when you may have beginners present in your classes.

When working with beginners, try not to use language that might be unfamiliar or overly anatomical. This can be confusing and discouraging to new students. It is also important to offer support and correction, realizing that beginners are there to learn and to practice correctly. If the beginner’s technique is consistently incorrect and it is slowing down the pose series, incorporate strength postures that are relatively easy to do yet physically challenging. Planks, for example, will keep the heart rate up even through a slower-than-normal vinyasa series.

© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Chair Yoga for a Growing Senior Population

By Sangeetha Saran

Thanks to advancements in healthcare and improvements in the quality of nutrition available, more people than ever before are living to see old age. Seniors represent the fastest growing segment of the population, and there is much concern over how to make the most out of those golden years. With rising medical costs, more and more seniors and their families are turning to complementary therapies like chair yoga as a natural way to improve their health and quality of life.

The vast majority of people live a largely sedentary lifestyle, and this doesn't change with age. In fact, sedentary habits are often the hardest to break for seniors, since old age makes it much harder to start living a more active lifestyle. The senior years are already a prime opportunity to pack on the pounds due to slowing metabolisms, so engaging in some form of exercise is essential to reduce weight gain during this time. The risk of falling rules out many of the most popular exercises for weight loss, but chair yoga is a perfect exercise solution for seniors looking for a safe way to get the physical movement they need.

Enhancing Balance

A serious issue facing seniors is lack of balance, which significantly contributes to falls. Falls are the leading cause of death for senior citizens, so anything that can safely improve overall balance is extremely beneficial. Chair yoga naturally improves balance for seniors by strengthening the core muscles of the body. It has been said that the muscles in the hips, trunk, and neck, are the first line of defense in terms of preventing falls.

However, the muscle groups in the legs are also of equal importance.  Therefore, the whole body is important when considering balance.  Chair Yoga teachers can help students safely gain balance with a holistic program of controlled movement.

Back to the Core

When an individual begins to lose their balance, the core muscles immediately contract and attempt to bring the body back into place. Making these muscles as strong and flexible as possible goes a long way in preventing falls before they start. With chair yoga, the core can be strengthened with less risk of injuries from falls. It's a perfect fit.

Additionally, having a stronger core changes the distribution of weight through the back and shoulders, automatically grounding the body and providing more stability and balance. Through the practice of chair yoga, seniors can potentially undo the damage caused by years of being sedentary in addition to warding off age related declines in their existing balance levels.

Consistent chair yoga practice also helps prevent blood clots, eases joint pain associated with arthritis, reduces blood pressure, lowers stress levels and helps seniors sleep better at night. Suffice it to say, chair yoga successfully meets the needs of this growing segment of our population, and all without pills or prescriptions.

© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

See our selection of online yoga teacher training courses, please visit the following link.

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 our blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is, including the resource box above. Namaste!