Teaching Yoga to Students Suffering from Chronic Anxiety

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Teaching Yoga to Students Suffering from Chronic Anxiety

yoga training for chronic anxietyBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Students who seek peace of mind, from chronic anxiety and mood disorders, are often seeking a natural solution to a problem that has existed for years. If possible, it is best for the student to schedule one private Yoga session before attending classes. In this way, there is a level of comfort and familiarity when he or she attends sessions with other students.

When scheduling a private session, Yoga teachers should make the time segment for a reasonable length. Although we may want to teach every possible solution for the next potential panic attack, the student may only be comfortable with a brief session, which lasts 30 minutes.

Teachers must realize the initial visit requires the student to put his or her fears aside, in order to attend the first session. Gradually, and over time, one who suffers from anxiety disorders will become relaxed in new surroundings. If the student is only comfortable in private Yoga sessions, that feeling may change in the future; but there is no need to push him or her into regular classes.

If chronic anxiety were compared to a prison, then Yoga could be compared to one of the jailer’s keys. There are many possible solutions to anxiety disorders, but each person responds differently to counseling, prescriptions, self-help, group therapy, and Yoga.

One of the biggest differences is the primary cause of excessive fear and chronic anxiety. Conditioning, genetics, and chemical imbalances, are just a few of the many reasons why one may have trouble with maintaining a realistic view of problems and fears that we encounter every day.

With that said, there is no “one size fits all” solution for mood disorders. Instructors should work toward solutions, but it must be realized that Yoga may be part of a greater solution. This “final solution” may be based upon a combination of counseling, prescriptions, self-help, group therapy, Yoga, and other forms of therapy.

There is a misconception that one form of therapy may be the ultimate solution, but there are so many different factors involved. For example: Each of us had a different childhood, even if we share the same parents. Each of us responds differently to stress in school or in the workplace.

Consider this: If we isolate the source of our stress and anxiety, to losing our job, there is a deeper fear of poverty. If a friend says, “Just quit that job.” – this can unleash the stress of looking for a job and visions of poverty. As Yoga teachers, we are better off teaching stress reducing techniques than to offer personal advice, unless we are medical professionals or qualified counselors.

© Copyright 2009 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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