Saturday, June 23, 2012

Teaching Yoga to Children


how to become a yoga instructor
By Faye Martins

As a Yoga instructor, the ability to calm children in our classes seems magical at times, but even more rewarding is the feedback from parents about better grades in school and improved behavior at home.

A yogic practice brings great benefits to body, mind, and spirit. Everyone can practice; there are no special qualifications or requirements to begin and no philosophical path you must follow. Children in particular can benefit greatly from the practice of yoga. While much of the world, even for children, has become hyper-competitive and highly regimented, the yoga studio is a sanctuary where every student can slow down, breathe, and move at their own pace.

Expectations for children are especially high these days, with full-time schooling starting at ever younger ages and organized activities taking up much of what was once free time. Many children have trouble sitting quietly and paying attention for such long periods of time, which can lead to acting out and behavioral issues. Yoga helps kids learn to calm themselves and how to focus when they need to. Kids also need time to play, to explore, to burn off energy, and to just “be”, and classes are a wonderful place to do all of these things, and more.

For some children, school and extracurricular activities are difficult and sometimes frightening situations and they struggle to find a place of peace under such circumstances. A yoga teacher should encourage an atmosphere that is by nature noncompetitive and nonjudgmental; there are no tests, no cliques, and a child's only competition is to improve gradually. Yoga class can be a safe haven for kids who have felt left behind socially or academically, and the feelings of success and accomplishment that they get from participating in classes will carry on to all aspects of their life.

Sedentary pastimes such as television watching and video gaming are the preferred activities for many children. Kids generally overflow with of energy and need physical activity to get that out of their system. Yoga class is a great way to get kids engaged in something that doesn’t require the television or computer, and regular physical exercise will free them of the pent-up energies that are so difficult for kids (and parents) to manage.

Children need to exercise both their mind and their body to stay calm, in balance, and focus on building skills for life. It takes some practice to know how to make the right choices, but with any luck, children who learn these skills early on will grow up to be adults who are healthier and more at peace and yoga can play an important part in this process.

© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

To see our selection of Yoga teacher training courses, please visit the following link.


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If you are a Yoga Teacher, 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, including the resource box above. Namaste!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

When is Yoga Unsafe for Pregnancy?


prenatal yoga teacher training
By Faye Martins

As a relatively low-impact activity, yoga practice is an ideal healthy fitness routine for pregnant women. Doctors recommend that pregnant women exercise regularly, following certain guidelines.

First, women who were working out before pregnancy can continue their normal workout unless pain, over-heating, or excessive fatigue inhibits them. I have a friend who ran a marathon at 10 weeks pregnant with her doctor's full approval. She had been training long before she got pregnant, and her pregnancy was healthy enough that it posed little risk for her or her baby.

Second, women who want to start working out during pregnancy to derive the advantages that a fit body derives during labor are encouraged to do so but should start out slowly and increase their activity levels with patience and caution. In other words, don't start training for a marathon during pregnancy if you've been sitting at your desk for the last year.

Third, women should be aware of changes their bodies undergo during pregnancy. Loosening joints make high-impact activities like jumping more injury-prone, and a change in equilibrium could mean trouble balancing for women. Other pregnancy-related adjustments include an increased risk of fainting, overheating, falling or nausea.

Clearly, a consistent yoga practice easily fits within these general guidelines, and women can begin or continue to do yoga as long as their pregnancy is healthy, with only a few minor modifications.

The Question of Safety

Pregnant women are encouraged to lie down on their sides instead of backs to prevent any decrease in the oxygen supply to their babies. Thus during yoga practice, poses where you lie flat on your back should be avoided.

As most pregnant women will find, it will grow increasingly difficult to lie on the stomach during pregnancy, as a growing uterus will eventually make it feel like you are lying on top of a watermelon. So once your uterus begins to protrude, you also should avoid poses where you lie on your stomach.

Abdominal stretches will grow increasingly difficult as well, and so will poses like shoulder stand that engage abdominal muscles for much of the balance work.

Some pregnant women have trouble with poses that place a lot of stress on their pelvis whereas others struggle under the weight of their growing abdomen in plank or hands-and-knees poses. Therefore, any pose, which causes sharp or chronic pain, should be avoided.

Some women question whether hot yoga is dangerous for pregnancy since women are advised to avoid overheating their bodies during the first trimester. Many practitioners feel, however, that you can still practice in heated classes wisely, by monitoring your body temperature and leaving the room to cool down if necessary.  

However, to be prudent, a specialized prenatal class seems to be the best choice.  As always, check with your doctor before beginning any fitness regimen.

Conclusion

To be as safe as possible pregnant students should study under an instructor who has formally taken prenatal yoga teacher training.  A certified prenatal yoga instructor is a specialist for pregnant students.



© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
To see our selection of Yoga teacher training courses, please visit the following link.
Free Report, Newsletter, Videos, Podcasts, e-Book, “Yoga in Practice.”
If you are a Yoga Teacher, 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, including the resource box above. Namaste!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How to Prepare Students for Hot Yoga


yoga instructor
By Sangeetha Saran
A Hatha yoga teacher, who has heated classes on their schedule, should prepare a handout and only admit students who have completely explained their state of health.  Not every student will be able to endure the intense heat.  Students with high blood pressure should consult a physician before considering entering a heated class.  Students from northern climates may find the intense heat causes them nausea.  It is wise to mentally prepare students before they attempt a heated session.
Hot yoga is a general term and can refer to any Hatha style with an emphasis on the practice room being heated. Bikram is a form of heated Hatha yoga, but a very specific form in which the room is heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit and the same 26 poses are practiced twice in the same sequence every session. Bikram classes are so identical that the yoga instructor even gives the same monologue as he or she walks students through the asanas. When most practitioners think of practicing asanas in a heated studio, they often think of Bikram.
Tips to Tell Your Hot Yoga Students
1. Stay cool! Plan for a heated room and choose your clothing wisely. One practitioner says she usually ends up stripped to a sports bra and spandex by the end of her hot yoga practice. A cool t-shirt and shorts will suffice, although material that wicks away sweat will keep you from getting too slippery.
2. Bring a towel, and not just a hand or sweat towel. Most yogis bring a full-size bath towel with them to hot yoga, since the hour to hour and a half they spend in the heat and humidity can leave every corner of a regular sweat towel soaked.
3. Drink up! Yoga in a warm room was conceived of as a purifying practice, which helps the body cleanse itself through sweating and opening pores. With this in mind, drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated and help flush out all the toxins in your body.
4. Eat a little something! The combination of heat, humidity and demanding postures will challenge your body in many ways. Arriving at a hot yoga session with a completely empty stomach will leave you tired, hungry and possibly dizzy or unable to complete the session. Avoid faint spells and nausea by eating a light meal one to two hours before your practice, if possible. If you are crunched for time, bring an apple or banana and a handful of granola to eat on the way to the studio.
5. Because Bikram, and other heated Hatha styles, practice the same or similar 26 asanas in the same sequence, it is open to practitioners of all levels. It is not a fast or vinyasa flowing sequence, so beginners are able to follow along and learn the poses, but yoga teachers often warn students that you can expect to be challenged no matter what your level. The more experience you have, the deeper you will be able to stretch into each pose as aided by the heat and humidity. Arrive ready to work hard.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
To see our selection of Yoga instructor training courses, please visit the following link.
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Saturday, June 02, 2012

How Yoga Teachers Can Attract More Men to Yoga Classes


500 hour yoga teacher training program
By Faye Martins

In India, Yoga participation by men is ideal.  Sadly, in some parts of the world, we teach Yoga classes primarily to a female audience. While women still outnumber men in many western Yoga studios, there are signs that this wonderful practice is becoming more readily accepted by the opposite gender. Endorsements by professional athletes and celebrities have helped to spread the word, but more education is needed before its feminine mystique becomes equally recognized as a manly endeavor.

To analyze why western males have difficulty staying in Yoga classes is a mystery to many.  It seems that if one gender is in the minority, in regard to any activity, it is hard to reach out to that group.  As a woman, I have seen the same in martial arts, boxing, and football, which are dominated by male participation.

Reaching Out

Just as Yoga has been marketed in recent years to target diverse groups, there are also ways to promote the practice among the male population. Like other sectors, not all men will respond to the same style of exercise or studio, but the good thing about Yoga is that it can be tailored to suit a wide spectrum of interests and participants.

The first step to attracting men is getting their attention, and the second is following through with a program that meets their individual needs.

Five Tips to Get Men Interested in Yoga

1. Create classes that incorporate familiar skills, such as core work or martial arts, which put men at ease and allow them to see results.

2. Offer class options that provide the stamina and training needed to improve performance in other activities, such as weight lifting, football, golf, tennis or biking.

3. Emphasize the gender-specific ways that Yoga benefits men's health and reduces the likelihood of injuries in other areas.

4. Network. Hand out brochures, go to health fairs, or hold special events to let men in the community know about Yoga classes and what they can gain from them. Include testimonials from satisfied students or coupons for introductory offers on flyers and websites.

5. Ask students to tell their friends, husbands, and families about special offerings for men and provide incentives to those who bring in new students.

Although men may take up Yoga to condition their bodies or enhance their achievements in other areas, many of them come to value its positive effects on their spiritual and mental lives. Regardless of whether it's a co-ed class with a well-rounded series of poses, an all-male class with an intense work-out or a gentle routine that stretches the muscles and increases flexibility, Yoga provides a fast track to a better life - for women and men.

© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

If you are a Yoga Teacher, 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, including the resource box above. Namaste!