Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Teaching Yoga Students About Acceptance

about acceptance
By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

As we all move through our lives, many of us will experience the pain of heartbreak, especially in the realm of romantic love. At times, we may feel that we are walking on cloud 9 when all is well with our chosen paramour. However, when the relationship ends, many of us tend to sink into depression and despondency, as the reality of the ending of a cherished relationship begins to sink in. 

When heartbreak becomes solidified and deeply lodged into body, the heart and throat chakras often become closed down. This physical armoring is an attempt to nullify the pain and protect us from any more heartbreak. Unfortunately, the physical contraction of the heart area can lead to a diminished immune system, cardiac problems and depression. A contracted throat chakra can undermine the healthy functioning of the thyroid and the parathyroid glands, which can predispose you to endocrine problems. 



By teaching a well-rounded comprehensive Yoga class to your students, you will help them to release physical tension, which will support them in releasing painful emotions and memories. One of the very first steps to teaching your students to consciously integrate painful relationship experiences into the broader context of their lives is to encourage them to accept the reality of what a particular relationship actually was to them and to the other person. A very gentle way to encourage your students to “accept what is,” is to have them slow down enough to become truly present as they practice Yoga with you. 

For instance, if you allow your students a few minutes at the beginning of a Yoga class to either sit in a comfortable seated position or stand in Mountain Pose, while they take a few deep breaths and clarify their intention for their practice, they will quickly become present and aware of their own state of being. This may include feelings of grief, disappointment or betrayal, if they are contending with the ending of a cherished relationship. By simply creating a set time and space for your students to slow down enough to get into touch with their own hearts, you will help them to experience clearly how they feel. 

Accepting the reality of the ending of a relationship is one of the very first steps to moving through loss and disappointment. As their Yoga teacher, when you encourage your students to accept their feelings and physical state of being without judgment, they will be more able to begin the process of healing from heartbreak. In terms of the physical practice of the asanas, when your students begin to accept their own unique physical needs, strengths and weaknesses without judgment, they will also begin to accept the reality of their emotional lives with less judgment and more openness.



Of course, as a professional Yoga teacher, you have many different ways of helping your students to increase their physical health and cultivate a peaceful and positive mind, but your are not a therapist! At times, it may be important to gently and privately encourage a student, who is deeply struggling with the end of a relationship or marriage, to seek professional guidance and support. However, do not underestimate the power of a comprehensive practice of Yoga postures, breathing exercises and relaxation techniques to release sadness and grief, as the mind is calmed and the heart is uplifted. 

Teaching these ancient practices to your students with competency and loving kindness will support your students in many areas of their lives, including healing from heartbreak. You may also want to creatively sequence some of your Yoga classes to underscore back bending postures and stress-relieving pranayama exercises. If you have the time, you may also want to include complementary, heart-opening Yoga practices into your classes, such as chanting sacred mantras. Chanting sacred mantras is a form of vibrational energy healing, which has the power to remove grief from the heart, uplift the spirit and cleanse the mind. 



© Copyright – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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1 comment:

parvezbdjsr said...

When heartbreak becomes solidified and deeply lodged into body, the heart and throat chakras often become closed down. This physical armoring is an attempt to nullify the pain and protect us from any more heartbreak. Thanks for sharing this valuable article.