By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed
There are many new niches where Yoga instructors are welcome to offer classes. For example, Yoga classes are now offered in many hospitals, prisons, corporate settings and schools. Offering instruction in these environments enables people who would not usually be exposed to Yoga to benefit from this ancient form of exercise, breathing techniques and meditation on a regular basis.
Teaching Yoga in schools is a great way to motivate students to be physically active and more health conscious. The different elements of a balanced practice include physical postures, pranayama exercises, contemplation, meditation and resting in stillness or Shavasana. All of these elements offer students the time and space to become intimately familiar with their own bodies and minds, including their thought patterns. An overly negative stream of internal dialogue can cause depression, anxiety and anger in a student.
These negative “thought loops” will diminish a student’s ability to reach his or her full potential and will also predispose a student to violent outbursts. Through a balanced practice of Yoga, a student is offered the opportunity to become aware of negative or self-destructive thoughts that perpetuate a state of internal violence. Often these self-destructive and negative thoughts are the genesis point for external violent behavior. By diligently practicing the various Yogic arts, angry and self-destructive thoughts can be uprooted at the core and painful experiences integrated into a more balanced perspective, thwarting violent outbursts.
In addition, school-based Yoga classes provide an opportunity for students to get to know each other outside of formal academic classes and social cliques. In this way, a deeper understanding and empathy of each others’ experiences will begin to develop. As the students begin to develop empathy for each other, they have an opportunity to see potentially explosive situations in a new light and take responsibility for their own part in negative interactions that could incite a violent incident.
If you choose to teach Yoga classes in a school setting, you will help students to physically feel better about themselves, and you will be offering them the opportunity to get to know other students with whom they would not ordinarily choose to spend time. Additionally, the internal process of witnessing and releasing their own negative thinking patterns while practicing Yoga will help teach students to see situations in a more balanced perspective and to choose a peaceful way to address unresolved issues, instead of resorting to violence.
© Copyright 2012 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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