By Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

It is important to understand that Yoga manages to lower stress levels – not eliminate them. Stress is a very natural survival process, because manageable stress motivates us to improve our lives. If humankind never felt stress, we might still be very content painting on the walls of caves.

Parents want to take all of the stress from their children’s lives. While this is a noble cause, children also need a little stress to prosper in life. Parents should be responsive, compassionate, and take the time to give constructive guidance, but it should be realized that children become successful when they learn to overcome their challenges.

How would any of us be able to test our personal limitations without stress? If everything was handed to us, without any effort on our part, we would not be self-sufficient. We would be no different from a spoiled child, who receives an allowance for doing nothing.

Therefore, in regard to stress, the goal of Yoga is to reduce it to a manageable level. High levels of stress can cause head, back, and stomach aches, anxiety, trembling, vomiting, panic attacks, fainting, and worse.

Yoga teachers are equipped with many techniques to alleviate stress. Pranayama, mantra, japa, asana, meditation, mudra, proper diet, and relaxation, are useful aspects of the nine traditional branches of Indian Yoga. Coincidentally, all of these Yogic aspects can be refined separately, or in combination with each other, to make life less painful and less stressful.

After Yoga students experience the bliss of being able to reduce their stress levels, at will, they learn to appreciate life’s ups and downs. It is hard for anyone to appreciate a challenge if they are overwhelmed by it.

Some people have reached a state, so full of anxiety, that they have lost touch with reality. Life can be so full of pain, panic, and anxiety, that it seems as if all hope is lost. Immediate solutions are needed – including a consultation with a counselor, family physician, or a therapist.

In this case, the student or client should also learn Yogic stress management techniques as soon as possible. Yoga teachers must teach students to experience a state of tranquility, before discussing the reality of a life with controlled or reduced stress.

If a man is dying of thirst in a hot, dry desert, it is extremely hard to convince him that he will find clean water over the next hill. The proof comes to him when he drinks the water and feels his body cool off. With that said, students must actually experience happiness, tranquility, and bliss, in our Yoga classes, for them to gain the insight of managing their stress levels.

© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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