nurturing harmony in yoga classesBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

How do we go about nurturing harmony in our Yoga classes? According to BKS Iyengar, who was one of the most well loved and highly respected Yoga teachers of our time, “Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit.” He goes on to state that, “ When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open up.” Ultimately, the goal of all Yoga practices is to know God intimately. Along the way, of course, you may experience a stronger, lighter, more flexible body and a trained mind.

These are very important benefits of a regular practice of Yoga postures, pranayama exercises and meditation techniques. In addition, the most profound state of good health also includes nurturing a state of harmony with oneself and one’s surroundings. In Sanskrit, this state of internal and external harmony and balance is known as: “niscintata.” Many of us often experience a sense of disharmony in our daily lives. This disharmony may be experienced when we do not spend our time wisely or feel that we are forced to work in an unsatisfying job or live in an unappealing atmosphere.

We may also feel that we do not have the time or energy to meditate regularly because of our school, work or family obligations. For instance, if you are a parent, you may feel that you are unable to meditate because your children are playing video games at such a high volume that you are unable to have a moment’s peace! Really, the list of reasons as to why we are not in balance internally and with our external environment can be endless. The trick to nurturing harmony is to be able to create and sustain a state that is free from mental distractions and promotes a sense of peaceful ease and balance with the world around us.

Of course, it may turn out to be the case that it would be better for your to begin the process of finding a more rewarding job or harmonious living situation, in order to truly nourish a state of health and well-being. If you are a certified Yoga teacher, you most likely pursued your certification in order to help others experience the same level of health and harmony that you experience from a regular, balanced practice of asanas, breathing exercises and meditation techniques. Teaching Yoga can be a wonderfully rewarding way of helping others to establish and nurture a state of niscintata, or harmonious balance, in their own lives.


Nurturing Harmony in Our Yoga Classes

One of the very first considerations to take into account when you are teaching Yoga, is to make sure that your students are participating in the correct level and type of class for their own individual, unique needs. For instance, you may have a student in your class who is quite fit and who at first glance would seem to be a great match for your most advanced Power Yoga class. However, if you take the time to talk with this student privately, you may find that he or she suffers from anxiety and may benefit more from a restorative, Yin-style Yoga class.

In this same way, a student who is brand new to the practice of Yoga may have signed up for a series of classes in order to lose 20 pounds. Although this student may be quite motivated at the turn of the new year to change the course of his or her life by losing that extra 20 pounds, by jumping into an advanced practice he or she runs of the risk of injury, which is sure to put a damper on working out several times a week. In this case, it would be advisable to gently encourage a brand new student to sign up for a beginning Yoga class, so that he or she can learn to practice the postures and breathing exercises of this ancient system correctly and in harmony with his or her own body and mind.

Virginia Iversen, M.Ed, has been practicing and studying the art of Yoga for over twenty years. She lives in Woodstock, New York, where she works as a writer and an academic support specialist. She is currently accepting Yoga and health-related writing orders and may be contacted at:

© Copyright – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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