Friday, August 29, 2014

Continuing Education For Yoga Teachers-A Brief Overview

professional objectives
By Faye Martins
Although there are a variety of things that yoga teachers can do to maximize their ability to generate income and help others, utilizing continuing education services can be particularly advantageous. This is the case for several reasons, including the fact that continuing education services help yoga teachers stay up to date with respect to contemporary practices, making them more valuable to prospective clients. To learn more about options with respect to continuing education for yoga teachers, review the brief outline provided below.

Continuing Education-A Brief Overview

Although defined broadly, continuing education is basically a process that involves attaining formal knowledge regarding a subject after already having completed basic coursework or educational training. An example of this would be a yoga teacher attaining certification to work within her field, and then going on to complete a six-week training course that offers instruction regarding how to administer one-on-one assistance. 

Continuing Education Classes For Yoga Teachers: Options 

As stated earlier, pursuing continuing education classes is an incredibly beneficial thing to do. In recognizing this principle, yoga teachers who want to excel within their careers may wonder which types of continuing education classes will be most appropriate for them. The answer to this question will vary based on a plethora of factors, including whether your goal is to earn a higher salary, gain a promotion, or be of greater benefit to a specific clientele. Irrespective of what your professional objectives are, you may benefit from pursuing any of the following continuing education classes:

Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training

Yoga for Kids Teacher Training

Restorative Yoga Teacher Training

Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Training

Mindful Fitness: Barworks, Sculptworks

More Continuing Education Options

If you are a yoga teacher who wants to generate greater wealth and attain more clients, you should know that one great continuing education option is to study for a personal trainer certification. These certifications are valuable for numerous reasons, including the fact that they typically provide you with a great deal of knowledge regarding a plethora of fitness-related topics such as the psychology of exercise, nutrition, and anatomy. Moreover, personal trainers earn an average annual salary of $31,720, and this salary can grow steadily as one attains an ever-widening clientele base.

Yet another continuing education option that yoga teachers may want to consider is attaining a group fitness instructor certification. Like the personal training certification, this opportunity is valuable because it provides you with a holistic understanding of many important fitness-related topics. Additionally, attaining a group fitness instructor certification for an exercise program such as step aerobics can increase a yoga teacher's social network, thereby providing him or her with more clients.

Choosing the Right Continuing Education Program

Once a yoga teacher decides that pursuing continuing education is the most appropriate and advantageous thing to do, the next step is to find the right program to enroll in. There are several factors that one must consider in order to make the best decision, and the primary factors include costs, subject matter, and company accreditation.


Yoga teachers who have given consideration to the pursuit of a continuing education program should know that doing so can be both personally and professionally rewarding. By reviewing the information found above, yoga teachers can make prudent educational decisions which help them make the most of their professional careers.
Faye Martins, is a Yoga teacher and a graduate of the Yoga teacher training program at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Thin Line Between Fun and Negligence

style of yoga
By Avalon Hicks

As of today, there are endless yoga enthusiasts waiting their turn to grab an opportunity and become an instructor. A certification course in yoga is crucial because of various reasons. Every person has different needs and a different pace. It is important for every instructor to have an in-depth knowledge of all of these aspects. In order to eliminate the risk of accidents and injuries completely, instructors need to have a professional approach towards teaching yoga.
Why is a certification in yoga important?

When a yoga instructor who lacks complete knowledge is in front of a class, not only the instructor but the students as well are put to risk. This might sound a little out of the box but it would not be insane to make yoga internships compulsory before awarding the certification. Practicing and teaching yoga are two different things. For teaching yoga, one needs experience. The instructor has to be able to recognize a student’s issues.

Several other styles of yoga, which require training in other areas to keep students out of harm’s way, have to be integrated in the course.

· Aerial Yoga: This is a new style of yoga, which involves using of a circus hammock, which aids students in the ability to achieve traditional yoga positions. Learning the usage of a hammock and familiarizing self with the style of yoga is important. Yet, there are precautions to be taken. Students with high blood pressure, heart problems, sinus blockages etc. should be screened out. Not all instructors have the required knowledge to guide students in situations like these.

· Paddle Board Yoga: This style of yoga combines a variation of stand-up paddle surfing and yoga. This style of yoga was first introduced in Rishikesh, India. While this is a very interesting and enjoyable style of yoga, it has its own set of precautions. Every instructor who teaches this style of yoga has to be given training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid. Balancing is an essential skill while practicing this style of yoga. The instructor must explain every important detail to aid the students’ safety.

· Hot yoga: This is a style of yoga that is performed in humid conditions. Hot yoga is becoming one of the most accepted and popular styles of yoga. With increasing students comes a need for instructors who “know it all”. Hot yoga instructors, apart from teaching yoga in the class, have to be trained to warn and caution students about things like not to have too much coffee before the session that may lead to dehydration post the session. Also, hot yoga may make the body lose electrolytes, which is why adding a little salt, sugar and a lemon squeeze to the water bottle is helpful. These are things (among many other important things) that every hot yoga instructor must know.

· Boot Camp style yoga: This is a style of yoga, which combines cardiovascular exercise with yoga. This style of yoga is perhaps the most effective for weight loss. Instructors teaching this style of yoga should therefore be trained to tackle emergency heart conditions, breathing conditions (asthma), etc.

Yoga never stops benefiting the body. Yoga is fun from the day you start. Every student, at least once, has a thought of becoming an instructor. However, this requires detailed training and continuing education. Safety precautions should not be neglected. Medical training and screening procedures are of crucial importance to every instructor, studio, and institutions that hire instructors. We should look into more than just the 200 hour or 500-hour training record. A certification that includes all the required knowledge will help teachers and students avoid accidents and it will make quick progress. The thin line between fun and negligence should be recognized.

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What Should a Prenatal Yoga Teacher Know?

about yoga and pregnancy
By Eleanor Bartel 

Although there are many teachers who specialize in prenatal yoga and offer specific classes for pregnant women, nearly every teacher will come across a pregnant student during their career, no matter what style of the practice they teach. Whether you want to offer specific classes for prenatalyoga or just want to be able to help any pregnant students in your regular class, learning more about yoga during pregnancy can be useful knowledge that helps you ensure every student can have a positive experience with the practice in your class, no matter what trimester they are in.

Ask About the Pregnancy

The first step for any teacher is to ask the student about their pregnancy. Some good information to have includes what trimester they are in, if it is their first pregnancy, and if there are any complications with the pregnancy. Ask the student if they have seen a doctor regarding their pregnancy and consulted a physician about doing exercise like yoga during their pregnancy. This will give you an idea of what the student can do and what modifications they might need. Remember that each woman will have different expectations and limitations. A student who is new to yoga or in their very first pregnancy may be more hesitant and apprehensive during class, while an experienced student or someone in their second or third pregnancy may be more comfortable with a variety of poses. Let the student set her own pace and offer guidance as needed.

Poses for Discomfort

As the pregnancy continues, many women start to have discomfort due to weight gain, fluid retention, and hormonal changes. Some women may have trouble sleeping, while others struggle with hip and back pain. You can help by recommending poses that ease tension in these areas. Cat/cow pose is a great way to relieve lower back tension, while bound angle pose is an excellent pose for opening up the hips, which can help a woman relieve discomfort and prepare for labor. When teaching poses for pregnant women, remember that slower is better. It is important to move through poses slowly, especially in the first trimester, to avoid injury. Instead of leading a fast paced vinyasa class or sun salutations, try a slower, more meditative class that focuses on being in tune with the body and relaxing the mind.

Pose Modifications

Some yoga poses should be modified for the student's comfort and safety during their pregnancy. This is especially true for more intense, physical poses, as well as poses that may press on a woman's expanding abdomen. For example, a pregnant woman can benefit from opening their hips more in child's pose, as this allows more room for their abdomen and also allows the hips to relax and widen further. Poses like wide-legged standing forward bend can put a lot of strain on the pelvic area, so this can be substituted with a narrower stance or even with the feet together. Chairs and props can also be used to make a pose for comfortable, especially for women in their third trimester.

Yoga during pregnancy can be a great way to relax the mind, strengthen the body, and make labor easier. It is a gentle, low-impact exercise that is a great choice for pregnant women, no matter what their fitness level may be. Through different poses, women can prepare for their pregnancy and help ease discomfort throughout each trimester. As a yoga instructor, beingknowledgeable about prenatal yoga and taking the time to learn more about pregnancy contraindications will ensure all your students can safely practice yoga and experience all the benefits of the practice in your classes.

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

Monday, August 25, 2014

Nurturing Independence with Yoga: Tadasana

mountain pose
By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

The term “Yoga” itself can be translated as the merging of the individual with the Divine Consciousness. When we consider the benefits of practicing Yoga, the first thought that may come to our minds may not be one of independence, but of spiritual attainment and the merging of the consciousness that underlies the fabric of the universe. However, similar to the practice of Buddhism, a Yogic path ultimately frees the individual from the suffering that arises from the dependency on external circumstances, situations, substances, or people to create happiness. 

Some of these external circumstances may include having ample time to spend with your friends and family, or even the time to meditate daily in a beautiful environment. For instance, do you find yourself perturbed if some one is beeping their car horn outside your window when you are trying to meditate? Do you feel sad, depressed or lonely if you are unable to spend time with your friends or family because you have to work on Saturday evening in order to make some extra money? As you can see, the list of circumstances that are less than ideal is almost endless. 

This external dependency on people and particular places, or on substances such a prescription pain killers and mood altering drugs, is the root cause of much consternation and suffering for many people. One way to become free of the constraints of dependency on external circumstances is a consistent practice of Yoga asanas, pranayama exercises and meditation techniques. When all of these Yogic exercises and techniques as practiced daily, or at least several times a week, you will slowly be able to release your dependency on external factors, in order independently sustain your own  happiness. 

* Tadasana or Mountain Pose

Tadasana is a deceptively simple Yoga pose. This pose requires you to stand on your own two feet with perfect alignment (hopefully!) and equally distribute your weight between both feet. It also requires you to slow down and stand still for a period of time. Just the process of slowing down in our hyper-speeded up, virtual world can create a feeling of anxiety in many of us. Like many Yoga practitioners, you may find that standing quietly on your own two feet, with no external stimuli to keep your mind occupied, can generate anxiety.

Breathing fully and deeply if you experience any free floating anxiety and unrest in your body and mind is the first step to witnessing your own dependency on external stimuli, in order to better manage your thoughts and emotions. As you become aware of your dependency on people, circumstances, substances, and the unending variety of stimuli in our society that many of us use to help manage or repress difficult thoughts and emotions, you will become more able to independently sustain your well-being by engaging in activities that are nurturing to both your physical and mental health.

Breathing deeply and fully while you stand in Tadasana is a very effective Yoga exercise for feeling independently grounded on your own two feet. Tadasana is also a foundational pose for the Sun Salutations and the sequence of standing postures that are frequently practiced in most Yoga classes. To practice Tadasana, come to the front of your Yoga mat and stand with your feet flat on the mat and your feet gently touching. Lift each toe, starting with the little toe of each foot, and place your toes consciously back on the Yoga mat, one at a time. 

Feel the ground beneath you and begin to notice any mental tapes playing in your head. Are you becoming bored or restless very quickly? Bring your awareness to your breathing. Are you holding your breath or breathing in a shallow manner? If so, compassionately elongate your breath so that you are breathing fully and deeply by inhaling completely, and then pausing for a moment, and exhaling completely. Feel the sensations in your own body. Are there memories or experiences that are painful or difficult arising in your conscious awareness? Are you at peace with these difficult experiences? 

If not, you may wish to take some time after your Yoga practice to journal your thoughts, in order to integrate them more fully into your present day understanding. You may even wish to offer the difficult experiences that have arisen in your awareness to a sacred fire in your mind’s eye so that you may be released of those memories. When you have completed your practice of Tadasana, bring your hands to Prayer Position and bow your head to the independent light of your own heart before continuing on with the rest of your Yoga practice.

© Copyright – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

Thursday, August 21, 2014

About Pranayama Exercises for Trauma Survivors

trauma survivors
By Sangeetha Saran

Yoga is an excellent therapeutic tool in healing traumatic events and memories. Breath control is one of the integral parts of yogic studies. When you forget to breathe, you freeze your memories, feelings, and emotions in your muscles and tissues. Pranayama exercises have been shown by many studies to provide amazing benefits people living with the effects oftrauma.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a very common anxiety disorder people develop when exposed to physical, psychological, emotional or sexual trauma. It is especially common for people who have experienced warfare, sexual assault, and natural disasters. Common symptoms include vivid memories and flashbacks of the experience, sometimes with a detachment from reality.

Yoga has a profound ability to touch and heal us on every level of our being—physical mental, emotional, and spiritual. This is what makes pranayama such an effective and powerful treatment for trauma victims. A combination of pranayama, asanas, and a sense of deep relaxation help to calm the fight-or-flight mechanism within a trauma victim.

By practicing breathing techniques, trauma survivors can lower the levels of adrenaline and cortisone that are distributed throughout the body. Extended breathing exercises cause the body to release serotonin, dopamine, serotonin, and GABA. Proper GABA levels are crucial for survivors to maintain a sense of calm.

Pranayama exercises also offer survivors a renewed sense of self-awareness. When they sense a flashback coming, the centered feeling they have attained from breath work can help forestall these vivid attacks. Pranayama's specific focus on self-acceptance is especially beneficial for sexual assault victims, who often come to hate their own bodies.

In short, yoga's effect on one's physical mental state is incredible. Its magnificent benefits to the entire nervous system will, in turn, affect the rest of the body. These benefits are especially strong for PTSD survivors, who continually struggle to deal with their bodies’ response to stress.

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Safe Solutions for Teaching Senior Yoga Classes

pose modifications
By Eleanor Bartel

Yoga is a beneficial practice that can be enjoyed by anyone, from children to seniors. Older adults in particular can physically and mentally benefit by keeping their muscles from deteriorating, improving their cognitive awareness, increasing their balance, and improving overall flexibility. However, when considering a yoga class for seniors, it is important to take into account any physical limitations that you may encounter while teaching. Older students may come into class with existing issues, such as previous injuries, medical conditions like arthritis, or limited mobility or flexibility. Being prepared for encountering these issues in a yoga class for seniors will ensure all your students can practice yoga safely and effectively.

Pose Modifications Using Props

Props can be an excellent way to modify certain yoga poses to make them more suitable for older bodies that may be in pain. If you are going to teach a senior yoga class, be sure to have appropriate props available for your students. You should try to have straps, bolsters, blocks, and blankets available for pose modification. Nearly every pose can be modified depending on the individual needs of the student. For example, blocks can help someone with low flexibility still benefit from a standing forward bend. A blanket can be an easy way to reduce hip or knee pain in seated positions. Consider the limitations of your students and offer modifications as needed so that everyone can get the maximum benefit from each pose.

Chair Yoga

For seniors with limited mobility, chair yoga is an excellent way to introduce older adults to a variety of modified yoga poses. Even adults who are confined to a wheelchair can do this practice to improve their mental and physical state. Doing yoga poses while seated in a chair still provides the student with innumerable benefits related to strength, cognition, and flexibility. Poses such as forward bends, twists, and back stretches can all be modified for chair practice. You can have chairs available at your studio for your students if you like. Chairs with wheels should not be used unless they can be securely locked into a stopped position. Pillows, blankets, and straps can all be used in chair yoga to make positions even more comfortable for your students.

Pranayama and Breathing

As we age, we can start to have issues with breathing and our overall lung capacity. Some of the students in a senior yoga class may struggle with deep breathing and lung function. For your older students, it can be beneficial to add a pranayama, or breathing exercise, to your yoga class. Pranayama can be especially beneficial at both the start and the end of the practice, as a way to relax both the body and the mind. There are many different types of pranayama, such as breath of fire, alternate nostril breathing, and ujjayi breathing. Consider the level of your students and choose a pranayama exercise that will be suitable for the physical ability and pace of the overall class. Remember not to push any student beyond their limit – let them find their own comfort zone.

As yoga becomes more popular, more people of different age groups want to experience the practice for themselves. As a teacher, you should be aware of the age groups in your classes. By being prepared, you can offer a senior yoga class for older adults who want to improve their health through yoga. Whether you simply welcome seniors to any of your regular classes or offer senior-specific yoga instruction, being aware of modifications, limitations, and constraints you may come across will ensure your class runs smoothly, no matter what age group you are teaching. 

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division