By Sangeetha Saran
My first exposure to yogic practices was in Kundalini. In those days, we just didn’t think about it as a workout, but I can see why some students see asana or the movement between asana as the sum total of yogic methodology. After all, this is what they see in classes, on television and on the Internet. A graduate of a yoga teacher training course should know more than how to properly instruct students during asana practice.
Yoga means different things to different people. Some people subscribe to a yogic lifestyle in every way by treating others with compassion and gratitude, while using meditation time to reflect and renew. Others see it as a workout for the body that stretches and tones the muscles, ligaments and joints. Those who see it as no more than a workout are missing out on an entire aspect of yoga that can be extremely beneficial as we wade through life. When yogic methodology is only a workout, you are focusing only on your body and neglecting the mind-body connection and spiritual healing that accompanies a well-rounded practice.
When yoga asanas, or postures, are treated as simple stretches without any thought or intentional breathing, the results are less effective. Practitioners will gain more from even a simple series of poses when they breathe deeply into each posture, allowing the breath to take them deeper into the pose.
When we allow a barrage of conscious thoughts to enter our heads during a yoga workout, the result is that we never reach a higher state of awareness. Those who choose to think about all the events of the day, the stresses and problems that they faced or their interactions with others during practice, will find that they don’t get any sort of mental break. Contrarily, those who focus on releasing minute thoughts will find that yoga training provides a great mental release and rejuvenation.
The transformation from performing yoga as only a workout to a routine that frees the mind is an easy one. Practitioners simply have to make the conscious effort to focus on their breath and their selves during practice. They must vow to release any thoughts that come into their heads as quickly as possible. This will undoubtedly become easier with practice.
Pranayama practice includes all of the breathing and meditative practices connected with yogic philosophy and routines. Pranayama techniques range from simple to complex and can help people deal with a host of emotional and physical issues if they are willing to give it a try. Someone who is looking at yoga as merely a workout will not gain the benefits that pranayama has to offer, including stress release, greater concentration, renewed energy and improved mood.
When performed as more than just a workout, yoga can also offer great insight into the practitioner’s own self. Many people find they get to know their selves better through yoga. Meditation, contemplation and breathing allow them to find a deeper meaning in life. These concepts are lost on someone who is simply stretching their yoga training away.
If you are a yoga instructor, you want to present the full picture to your students. If you have a fitness, gym or sport form of yoga certification that’s fine, but you still want to enhance your knowledge to become the best yoga instructor you can be. Learn all you can and participate in continuing education.
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When yogic methodology is only a workout, you are focusing only on your body and neglecting the mind-body connection and spiritual healing that accompanies a well-rounded practice. Thanks for nice sharing!