Monday, September 26, 2016

Meditation for Healthy Sleeping

staying asleep
By Faye Martins

Millions of people around the world are affected by sleep disturbances, like having a hard time staying asleep or falling asleep. Do you have chronic sleep-associated problems? You may pointedly improve your ability to catch sleep at night by practicing a particular type of meditation, shown by a rigorous new study “JAMA International Medicine”.

Daytime sleepiness that follows after a long night of lack of sleep can render you lousy and sap your efficiency, and it may even cause harm to your health. Now, a smaller study also reveals that mindfulness meditation, a mind-calming practice focusing on present moment awareness and breathing, does help.

The findings work for all age groups and more especially adults older than 55, of whom more than half have sleeping disorders. This research, a published clinical trial in the JAMA International Medicine, employed 50 adults over the age of 50 with sleep problems and was made to follow one of two curriculums.

In one group, the grownups educated deeds that could help them ripen good sleeping conditions and hygiene, as the establishment of a bedtime routine and avoiding alcohol and caffeine before bed. The other training group undertook a mindfulness meditation training program for six weeks, the indulgent awareness of the feelings and thoughts wandering through one’s mind, led by a qualified instructor.

At the close of the yearlong training, those that trained on the mindfulness study had better and greater advancements in sleep quality and fewer insomnia symptoms, fatigue and depression than those chosen for standard care.

The chief author of the training, David S. Black, said that mindfulness meditation approach helped in curing and settling the arousal systems of the brain. And unlike the widely used sleep drugs, there are o potential side effects to the approach, said Dr. David S. Black, an assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Southern California University.

“Given the raised health concerns associated with older adults and the use of sleep aid medication,” he added, “mindfulness meditation is the safest medication and promotes a sensible health practice that improves the quality of sleep.”

In contemporary years, numerous apps have sprung up to help users get training on the mindfulness meditation technique and other meditation forms. But Dr. David S. Black noted that this study went a long and better way of the structured mindfulness course led by a qualified instructor.

Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on breathing and attracting the attention of the mind to the present without allowing it to drift into past or future concerns. It helps in breaking the everyday thoughts to evoke relaxation.

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

How To Teach Yoga Classes For All Ability Levels

how to teach yoga
By Faye Martins
Teaching a yoga class is a big responsibility. You have to know how to get all of your students to relate to what you are teaching them despite everyone in your class having a different learning style as well as differing ability levels. What are some ways that you can learn how to teach yoga classes in an effective manner?

Pay Attention During Your Own Training Classes

Before you start teaching your own classes, you will have to become a certified instructor. When you watch your teacher, look at what he or she does well and emulate that as best you can. In most cases, your teacher is going to be patient, charming and disarming of anything negative that happens during class. Think about whether or not you enjoyed your own learning experience and make sure that you make the learning experience fun for your students as well.

Listen to Your Students

Your students won't mind telling you whether you are doing a good job or not as an instructor. While they may not say that you are a bad teacher to your face, they will tell you how they feel by not showing up to your classes or using body language that suggests that they are not having a good time in your class. If you notice that your students are not coming back to class or don't seem to be interested in what is going on, you know that you need to change things up a bit.

Everyone Is There to Relax

The point of yoga is to relax and feel inner peace. This means that you need to be relaxed as well. Although it is easy to get excited when a class is going well or nervous when you first start teaching, you need to keep yourself calm or at least not let your emotions show through. However, the good news is that you shouldn't have a problem getting too high or too low as long as you were properly trained in the class that you are teaching.

Never Date Your Students

Just because your students may come to class in tight pants or other types of somewhat revealing clothing does not mean that you should hit on them or make any other physical advances. Doing so could put the trust and confidence of a student in doubt and make you seem unprofessional. Over time, your students may see you as nothing more than a pickup artist who preys on those who pay good money to learn from you. While you can't control the actions of other people, you may want to strongly discourage students from dating other students or engaging in physical relationships outside of class.

Yoga is a great way to clear your mind and improve your fitness. If you are going to be a good yoga teacher, you need to be able to connect with your students in a meaningful and professional way. Therefore, remember to relax, keep the classes fun and never cross the line between student and teacher. This will ensure that you are successful in your teaching endeavor.
Faye Martins, is a Yoga teacher and a graduate of the Yoga teacher training program at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Can Yoga Reduce Community Violence

controlling anger
By Amruta Kulkarni, CYT 500

Yoga has matured over the years with its various techniques that not only help with staying fit but improving the quality of life as well. Yogis continue to discover the different advantages that the practices offer. Recently, there have been studies and debates over the effectiveness of asana methodologies in reducing violence in communities. Is it possible to curb violent tendencies through yogic practices?

Reducing Verbal Aggressiveness

One form of violence that is prevalent in young adults is verbal aggression. Verbal aggressiveness refers to the attack on an individual’s ideas and points of communications with the aim of inflicting harm. A randomized control trial by Sudheer Deshpande, H R Nagendra, and Nagarathna Raghuram published in the International Journal of Yoga, July 2008 indicates that asana practices help in reducing verbal aggressiveness. Yogic breathing exercises have been proven to help control, anxiety, depression, stress, and tension. These are factors that contribute to verbal aggressiveness in individuals. Learning how to calm oneself before communicating with other people helps to curb aggression.

Controlling Anger

Anger is another way violence manifests itself. Getting angry is typical for any normal person; what you do with that anger is what matters. Angry people characterize communities where members are prone to violence, especially the youth. Yogic twists do wonders in finding your calm and controlling anger before it gets out of control. The advantage with yoga asana is that the breathing is synchronized with the physical activities, which contributes in relaxing the body. A person reacting to an enraging situation from a place of calm is less likely to engage in violent behavior compared to someone that acts with a hot head.

Getting Rid of Bad Feelings

Negative feelings play a significant role in instigating violent behavior. Some life circumstances may leave an individual laden with feelings of frustration, undue pressure, dissatisfaction, and depression. Someone who is not at peace with his or herself is not likely to react well to bad situations. Pranayama practices can help with meditation, which is ideal in getting rid of bad moods. Of course, the emotional state of an individual and the methodologies in use will play a critical role.

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Preventing Yoga Student Injuries Through Continuing Education

By Rachel Holmes

With millions of people practicing the art of yoga worldwide, people everywhere are experiencing such benefits as improved strength and flexibility, reduced tension, lower blood pressure, and much more. However, while many people who practice yoga are able to stay injury-free, others who are new to the practice may try to do too much too quickly. As a result of their enthusiasm, they often suffer various types of injuries that may hinder their progress. However, as yoga instructors gain experience and knowledge through continuing education, they can often help students’ progress at a safer pace and allow them to avoid many nagging injuries.

For many yoga teachers, one of the most interesting aspects of continuing education involves homeopathy. Focusing on how to keep the body free of illness and how to provide remedies for various injuries, this continuing education class is always a popular choice for many teachers. Addressing common problems that both adult and younger students may experience, teachers learn about which movements lead to the most injuries and how to help students stay injury-free.

Because most injuries in yoga occur due to over-stretching or misalignment during poses, continuing education classes often allow teachers the chance to learn how to make their classes safer and more enjoyable for students. In addition to classes on homeopathy, other CE classes focus on core strength and how to deepen the effects of asana and meditation. Learning how to help students increase physical stability, mental concentration, and progressive core strength all come together to make teachers better able to help students stay focused on proper techniques and outcomes.

Yoga, which is an excellent exercise for those experiencing joint pain and stiffness, also lets teachers take CE classes in the art of Gentle Yoga. Focusing on the joints and glands series of movements, these CE classes let teachers learn new ways to help students flush joints of congestion and metabolic waste while also increasing nutrients in their bodies. By focusing on these and other areas, yoga teachers and their students can look forward to injury-free classes that are fun and beneficial to everyone.

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Yoga for Sleep: Supported Child’s Pose

By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

As the heightened activity of summer begins to quiet into the steady rhythm of the fall season, you may find that you are busier than ever! The fall is traditionally a time to begin a new school year, professional training program and/or new projects at work.  In addition to the exhilaration of the crisp fall weather, new academic and professional training programs offer the excitement of learning new information and skills. However, these new endeavors also take time and energy. 

With the waning days of sunlight and warmth in the temperate Northeast, many Yogis and Yoginis find themselves struggling to fit into their already busy schedules their new obligations while still finding time to enjoy the final month or two of warm weather. For example, I often find that I am rushing to go for a swim before the temperature falls when the autumnal sun dips below the horizon by 7pm! Or I find that I am rushing to spend some time at the beach before it is too cold to enjoy body surfing without a substantial wetsuit. The pressure to enjoy the final days of summer warmth can lend itself to higher levels of stress and anxiety. 

As stress and anxiety levels increase, many Yoga practitioners find it difficult to fall to sleep and to sleep deeply and restoratively. As we all know from personal experience, if the quality of your sleep is optimal, you will awaken refreshed and ready for a full day ahead of you. Practicing Yoga on a regular basis will help you to release stress and lower your anxiety levels, so that you are able to sleep more restoratively. Additionally, there are specific Yoga poses that will help you to quiet your mind, release the busyness of the day and melt away tension. 

* Supported Balasana or Child’s Pose

Supported Child’s Pose is a quintessential Yoga posture for easing into a restful sleep. This posture calms the mind as it relieves fatigue, stress and anxiety. Supported Balasana gently releases tension in the groin muscles, lower back and hips. It also relieves tension in the neck if it is practiced in a supported fashion. Additionally, Supported Child’s Pose calms down the flight or fight response that is often triggered by contending with the busyness of the day. 

As your stress melts away, you will be more likely to sleep restfully, which will recharge your batteries for the day ahead of you. If you are pregnant or have a neck or knee injury, the practice of Supported Balasana should only be undertaken under the supervision of a certified Yoga instructor. Balasana can be practiced at any point during a Yoga class or as a stand-alone posture. Supported Balasana is often practiced just prior to Shavasana as part of a sequence of finishing poses at the end of a Yoga class.

To practice Child’s Pose in a supported fashion, you will need a Yoga bolster or a rolled blanket approximating the size of a bolster. If you are practicing Supported Child’s Pose as one of the final poses in your Yoga class or session, it is also comforting to put on a pair of warm socks, so that your feet don’t get cold. When you are ready to practice Supported Balasana, place the Yoga bolster or rolled blanket lengthwise on your mat. Kneel on your mat just behind the bolster with your knees comfortably far apart and the big toes of each foot gently touching each other. 

With an exhale, drape you upper body over the bolster. Position yourself so that the bolster or blanket is supporting your entire torso and you are able to rest your head on the bolster. Place your arms on either side of the bolster with your palms flat on the floor just in front of the top of your head. If you find it difficult to rest on your heels, place a small folded towel or blanket between your calves and hamstrings for added support. 

Feel the weight of your body resting on the earth. Melt into the bolster with each successive exhale. After a minute or two, turn your head the opposite direction in order to release tension in the other side of your neck. Rest in Supported Balasana for up to ten minutes. When you have completed your practice of Child’s Pose, with your next inhale gently sit up and remove the Yoga bolster or blanket. Pause for a moment or two to feel the tranquility in your own being before continuing on with the remainder of your Yoga practice

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

How to Begin Teaching Yoga Classes

By Bhavan Kumar

When students arrive for yoga class, they are looking forward to not only getting in better shape physically, but also having a period of relaxation that sets the tone for the class. Therefore, it's imperative yoga instructors’ use the best methods possible to help students get centered and focused. In doing so, their minds get clear of other thoughts and they can completely concentrate on the class ahead of them. While there are many ways to open a class, there are certain techniques that can be used to ensure everyone enjoys himself or herself.

Setting the Tone

The most critical part of any class, setting the tone from the beginning can lead to a great experience for everyone. A quiet space, along with soft lights, soft music, and comfortable room temperatures, can allow the students to prepare for the challenges ahead.

Establishing Breath Awareness

Extremely important to getting the most out of yoga, establishing breath awareness lets students connect with their minds and bodies in order to make them completely aware of just how they are breathing. For best results, let students spend two or three minutes sitting quietly and focusing exclusively on their breathing, then begin using deep breathing techniques such as ocean breath. This technique, which relies on long, smooth periods of inhalation and exhalation done through the nostrils, has proven to be very effective.

Prayers and Chants

Very effective techniques used to steady the minds of students and help them focus; prayers and chants have long been a staple of successful yoga classes. Whether it is only a syllable, a single word, or a short sentence, having students say these three or four times at the opening of class can allow for even greater relaxation and focus.

The Easy Pose

According to most yoga teachers, having students seated in the Easy pose automatically gets the class off to a good start. If there are students who have trouble with this pose, some teachers provide them with comfortable chairs to use or even let them lie down on the floor for added comfort. Along with this pose, some teachers incorporate simple arm movements into the opening session, creating an even more relaxed atmosphere.

By using these techniques that allow students to clear their minds while preparing for the class ahead, yoga teachers can be sure to have a relaxed atmosphere and a room filled with students eager to get started.

How to Start a Yoga Class?

There are several ways to increase the odds of creating a successful yoga class start-up. Passion for the practice of yoga is the foundation for success. A desire to inspire, teach and connect with others is at the heart of beginning this challenge.

Partnering with other small businesses, fitness centers and even clothing retailers to offer free or low-cost educational events is a great way to build a clientele. This approach allows you to gain visibility within your community. These partnerships can also offer opportunities to secure low cost space to host your yoga classes.

A record-keeping system will be needed to track customer payments and client lists. Microsoft Office Suite may suit your needs as a start-up. Fitness business tailored software systems may be considered if you decide to expand class offerings.

Keep things simple when starting off. Offering too many pricing options, promotions or class types can be overwhelming as a teacher and to consumers as well. There will always be time for expansion when you may consider bringing on additional teachers to expand your business.

It’s vital to create a pleasant environment for those attending your yoga classes. Strive to provide a space that fosters a sense of belonging. This should evolve somewhat naturally as those attending your classes will be interested in self-improvement. Provide time before and after classes that foster networking between clients.

Referral programs are an excellent way to build your customer base. Provide current clients with incentives to invite their friends and family to classes. Word of mouth advertising is one of the oldest and most reliable ways to get the word out about your classes.

Keep the lines of communication open with your yoga class clients. Pay attention to their feedback to tailor classes designed to meet their needs. Provide as much individualized attention as possible to make each customer feel like a V.I.P.

Learn from others who have launched successful yoga classes. Meet with these people in person or reach out online to gather tips and advice that you can learn from. Finding a mentor is an excellent way to learn from the experiences of others.

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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