yoga teacherBy Bhavan Kumar

Continuing education for Yoga teachers isn’t simply about techniques.  The complete profile of the benefits our practice can deliver should be stressed at every yoga teacher training.  When you think about a cardio workout, you probably consider running, kickboxing, tennis, basketball, football and other sports. Yogic exercise might not cross your mind as a high-intensity, heart-pumping workout. Technically, yoga is low-impact and gentle on the heart. However, practicing yogic exercises does improve your cardiovascular health due to the deep breathing and increased blood flow encouraged by the postures.

Types of Yoga

Since yoga’s introduction to the west in the 19th century, several different types  have evolved to suit the needs of modern people. Ashtanga, Bikram, Hatha, and Vinyasa are just a few of the different types of yoga we commonly practice today. Some classes have more focus on finding an inner peace, while others focus more on the physical body. People who strive for a more vigorous workout often look to power yoga to fit their needs. In Vinyasa, students perform a series of poses in a swift manner, causing the heart rate to rise as in other forms of cardio workouts. Vinyasa can result in improved flexibility, stamina and cardio benefits.

Heart Benefits

People suffering from heart disease often find yogic techniques can have healing benefits. Yoga is good for the heart because it is an all-encompassing sort of exercise that takes into consideration the body, mind and breathing. The asanas work to stretch and strengthen the muscles while improving flexibility. The meditation portion of classes allows practitioners to focus on finding an inner sense of calm, and the breathing portion of class allows students to concentrate on bringing fresh oxygen into the body so it can carry fresh blood to the organs. The heart benefits because it doesn’t have to work as hard to keep the body functioning, when the blood cells can easily do their job.

Find a Balance

While yogic exercise might not be as vigorous as other types of exercise, it can still be a valuable piece of the fitness puzzle in maintaining a healthy heart. Get your heart pumping faster by flowing through a series of poses swiftly, or combine stretches with a more rigorous workout. Asanas are wonderful ways to stretch and cool down the body after the heart rate has risen. Concentrate on deep, deliberate breathing while performing each posture to ensure the heart gets ample amounts of oxygen. Release your heart from stress, anxiety and fear by opening up during workouts to let positive energy into your body. All of these things will help maintain a strong, healthy heart.

Tips for Teachers

If you teach a physical style but it is therapeutic, you can easily modify your classes for cardio health and there is nothing wrong with props.  Paulji has shown slow flow vinyasa using a chair.  Instructors who don’t know how to change, should enhance their education with specialized yoga teacher training.

© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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