By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

 When we teach Yoga classes, our students may perceive balance in many ways. Some students may be concerned with their balance in Vrksasana (Tree Pose). Advanced students may see the connection between balance and optimum health, while the most advanced students may realize that optimum health concerns mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

If we look at balance from a physical viewpoint, we tend to move too far off our center of gravity, while holding an asana. Eventually, we regain our center of gravity, or we tilt off and lower the raised leg to the floor. At that point, we have a decision to make – do we start over or do we give up?

Yoga practice is much like life. We adjust accordingly when we run into bumps in the road. There are some people who become discouraged by the least little failures in life. Others bounce back and tend to continuously improve themselves, by learning from past mistakes.

The most advanced Hatha Yoga practitioners begin to realize that this sacred practice is more about bringing balance into every facet of life than it is about holding a difficult asana for a finite amount of time. In the figurative sense, every Yoga practitioner is holding Tree Pose for life.

Life is much like Yoga, in that it demands we be fully present in the moment. Many Yogic techniques teach us to control our breathing, stand upright, and practice proper alignment. These same principles transcend into real life situations. It is important to control your breath in order to connect mind and body.

In this way, the mind is disciplined by Pranayama practice, which can be carried out during the day. In the figurative sense, standing upright makes us feel more aware and confident about life. Proper alignment is important in daily situations because it sets the foundation for economy of motion.

When anyone decides to become a Yoga teacher, he or she has a duty to transfer knowledge to students. The most valuable lessons that we teach our students are applied in everyday life. If a student does not understand one method of teaching, it is time for us to go back to the drawing board and use another method to get the message across.

Students learn Hatha Yoga by seeing, hearing, and feeling. At the same time, it is much easier for students to learn if we keep the message simple. Just because a student walks through the door with natural flexibility, does not indicate that he or she will mentally process the deeper knowledge of Yoga. In fact, the most promising graduates, of Yoga teacher training programs, are those who can communicate with anyone.

© Copyright 2010 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications


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