If you have actively engaged in or taught Yoga classes for an extended period of time, you are familiar with the potential of the practices to transmute heaviness into lightness and a bleak outlook on life into one of hope and enthusiasm. The word “enthusiasm” actually means to be filled with the spirit or energy of God. This energy feels wonderful; vibrant, alive and life sustaining. The Yoga practices of asana, meditation, prayer, chanting and pranayama, when practiced in balance and on a regular basis, have the ability to truly transform a Yogi or Yogini’s life. These ancient practices, as succinctly elucidated in Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras, provide a comprehensive alchemical path to happiness.
The alchemical process of transforming base physical states and emotions into lightness, love and vibrant well-being, replicates the chemical process of transforming base metals into gold. In fact, there are references to alchemy found in the ancient Vedic texts as far back as the 4th century B.C.E. References to alchemy also abound in Buddhist texts between the 2nd and 5th centuries A.D. where the process of transmuting base metals into gold is clearly laid out. This alchemical process is also applicable in the fields of psychology and self-improvement. In 1913, Carl Jung was one of the first psychologists to adopt the use of the term alchemy in the context of mental health, spiritual growth and inner development.
By introducing the concept of physical and emotional alchemy to your Yoga students, they will more fully understand the various Yogic disciplines as a complete matrix of practices that can transform every area of their lives. From the simple breathing technique of Dirga Pranayama, to learning the deceptively easy practice of truly relaxing in Shavasana, your students will gain a deeper appreciation of the transformative opportunity that each Yoga class provides to them.
In addition to the physical practices of Yoga, you may also wish to incorporate a period of meditation and contemplation into the practice, either at the beginning or end of your class. A beautiful poem or aphorism read aloud to your students will help to lift their spirits and focus their minds on the internal goals of Yoga practice. You may also want to include a period of chanting into your classes. If you do know how to play the harmonium and sing kirtan, great! If you do not know how to play the harmonium, or if you feel shy singing in front of a group, leading a group chant by using a portable CD player will enable you to offer the time-honored practice of chanting to your Yoga students in a non-intimidating fashion.
© Copyright 2013 – Virginia Iversen – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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