By Kimaya Singh
Once in a while, you meet a person who refuses to see the value of pranayama. When you finish yoga teacher training, you have an arsenal of stress reducing techniques, but the public has a right to choose to do them, or not. Doctors, nurses and therapists are also amazed at the mindset of their patients. The point I’m diving at is nothing works, if a person refuses to put the effort into it.
“Just Breathe.” How many times have you heard someone say this when you are anxious or stressed to your maximum capacity? Isn’t it funny that at the base of yoga, which has been around for centuries, is pranayama? It should not come as any surprise that using yoga techniques for anxiety relief is one of the top methods. I find it incredibly sad that people today tend to turn to prescription medication to calm down. I have countless friends and family members that take something for stress, and as you can guess I am constantly dragging them to yoga with me. No one should have to depend on medication to live a full life, if they have a choice.
How Yoga Kicks Anxiety
Studies over the years have concluded that yoga practice, which involves, of course, meditation and pranayama technique modulates stress response systems. Not only that, it increases the heart rate variable which allows the body to respond to stress in a positive way. Also, because stress has been proven to cause pain, and vice versa, the slow and effective stretches that yoga is made up of relieves pain and in turn, reduces stress. All of the elements of our lives are intertwined so when one is aided and soothed, it tends to relieve the others. Amazing, isn’t it? When you become “in tune” with your body through yoga training and then you can recognize when your anxiety is rising in order to tackle it before it begins.
The following is a sample yoga training routine that can help students suffering from stress and anxiety. As always be sure to guide them into focus on breathing and finding their center. Meditation is key for this ailment and many new students are not skilled in this area yet.
• First take a few moments to breathe and focus on the anxiety they are trying to relieve. Guide them into letting go of whatever it is that they are holding onto.
• Slow Sun Salutation – This is always a nice, slow asana sequence to stretch the entire body and come to a place of complete focus.
• Downward Dog – Give time in this pose to relax, stretch the spine, and release tension.
• Half Moon – A perfect pose to find balance and demand focus on something other than the stress.
• Seated Forward Bend – Guide the student farther and farther down through breaths to relieve tension in the neck.
• Camel Pose – This asana is perfect for releasing tension in the front of the body.
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