Teaching Yoga – Helping Others Cope with Stress

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Teaching Yoga – Helping Others Cope with Stress

By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Yoga is a coping strategy for chronic stress. Each of us learns the consequences of chronic stress. Too much stress can cause panic and anxiety attacks. If we cannot cope with daily stress, there are worse effects to our health, such as cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Yoga teachers take intensive training courses to help the public handle daily stress. Yet, there are times when teachers overlook Yogic stress management classes. It may be because many Yoga teachers have learned effective techniques for putting anxiety in its place.

When the seasons change, and we are looking ahead to change the schedule for a new class, it is worth a try to hold a stress management workshop, or a new Yoga class, that emphasizes techniques many teachers take for granted. Pranayama, asana, and meditation, combined with a new outlook on life, can help your students cope with stress at home, in traffic, and at work.

Yoga teachers understand the value of pranayama, asana, and meditation practice; but what is this new outlook on life? To look at any problem as a learning experience is what the trained mind learns to do. To look for a solution to a problem, rather than cry about it, is extremely rare.

For many of us, this attitude adjustment may require years of training or specialized training at a Yogic stress management class. One method is to teach each student special coping skills for situations that occur during a typical day. Once students have learned to master pranayama, asana, meditation, and relaxation techniques, they can try to simulate stressful situations and apply what they have learned.

It is obvious that you, or your students, may not be able to practice asanas while a supervisor is adding to an already stressful day. At the same time, a person’s co-workers may wonder what is wrong if he or she practices some form of dynamic pranayama during a board meeting. Therefore, the Yogic techniques your students learn should be subtle, effective, and rehearsed, during simulated situations.

There is a saying – “Life is not a rehearsal.” Although this may be true, time spent in Yoga class is a rehearsal for the real problems that occur off the mat. As you teach Yoga classes, always make your students aware that practicing during a session is valuable. Yet, the most valuable part of advancing one’s Yoga practice is applying the skills learned to daily life.

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