how to become a yoga instructorBy Amruta Kulkarni, CYT 500

One point you become aware of after completion of your yoga teacher training studies is the emotional health of your students.  Many of us are on an emotional roller coaster ride.  At one point, we might feel we have it all together, and then, life happens.  Good or bad, emotions are often the driving force in life. There are many instances when we make decisions based on emotions rather than logic. Even when your brain sends warning signals, sometimes emotions are too hard to ignore. Emotions are powerful enough to take over our entire being, affecting every aspect of the day. The older you get, the easier it is to recognize when you’re running on emotions and should slow down a bit before doing or saying anything drastic.

When emotions are negative, they can easily take over your mind and body, causing all sorts of problems from headaches and sleeplessness to more serious diseases. Yoga training can be therapeutic for a number of ailments, both physical and mental. The benefits of moving your body and forgetting about your problems for a while should never be underestimated. This can be achieved through any type of exercise. However, yoga training offers added benefits to the mind in the form of breathing and meditation and improved body awareness.

When you focus on your breath, you become fully aware of the air coming in and out of your lungs and abdomen. As you focus on something other than emotion, you are able to recognize some of those negative emotions surfacing. As they surface, you learn to acknowledge them and release them on your breath without letting them take over. The key to ridding your body of negative emotions is to recognize them first. When we push them down and ignore them they will only fester and grow much like an untreated wound.

Sometimes yoga postures themselves are enough to encourage the release of emotions. Heart opening asanas like cobra, pigeon, bridge or wheel pose will open the chest and allow emotions to flow freely. When your body is put into a position to release, it can be extremely beneficial for the mind. As your yoga practice improves and you become more comfortable in each pose, your emotions will tend to flow out with more ease as well. As yoga becomes habit, the need for this healthy release becomes a driving force behind your motivation to continue.

The need to release emotions on a regular basis is normal and healthy. We wouldn’t be living if we weren’t faced with a barrage of emotions each day. Since we can’t eliminate emotions from our lives, we can let them illuminate our lives by savoring the positive and releasing the negative through yoga and meditation.

Side Notes for Yoga Teachers

A workshop or an intensive for emotional flow can be very helpful for students.  Sometimes, a seasonal class before the holidays is the best time for a special workshop or a master’s class (yoga instructor training intensive), which equips local yoga teachers with enough information to help their students.

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