how to become a yoga instructorBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500 

Many Yoga teacher training interns envision classes with fit students, who want physical challenges. Hatha Yoga training is well known as a form of exercise designed to build flexibility, strength, and general fitness. What is less well known is that practicing Yoga can improve your ability to deal with stress. As many of us realize, stress is a very corrosive aspect of our modern society, and it takes an especially heavy toll on our children. Students often find themselves under severe emotional stress and have a difficult time coping with the feelings and problems this can create. Yoga training is an excellent tool to teach students how to integrate all aspects of their lives.

These days, students experience the burden of a great deal of pressure from a very early age. For many people, the day starts early with long hours of school, followed by homework, extracurricular activities, and other obligations. Frequently, older students also have jobs they try to fit in around their other responsibilities. There is little time for students to catch their breath, much less to relax and integrate their life experiences in a positive way. Adolescence is a difficult time for most students, even at the best of times, and frequently it is a time of deep emotional uproar. When you add all of this up, it is no surprise that the level of emotional stress in the life of many young people can reach nearly intolerable levels.

Yoga class is a wonderful place for students to relax and unwind. Unlike most traditional academic classes, there are no tests or exams; everyone comes to class as they are, and there is not a required level of fitness necessary. There is no competition in class, but there is endless potential for improvement and accomplishment. Yoga students progress at their own pace, and often have fun, too. In Yoga class, students learn that every day is a different challenge, and there is no failure for anyone who tries. These are important life lessons that academic schools often neglect to teach students.

Yoga teaches students to connect their breath with the asana, or poses. This connection helps students integrate their minds and bodies in a balanced state, which is especially helpful for those trying to cope with emotional stress. Pranayama, or controlled breathing, is a very important tool to relax the mind and body during an emotionally or mentally stressful situation. Once a student learns some of these skills, he or she can use them in all aspects of their life, helping them to deal more effectively with difficult people and stressful situations.

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