By Kimaya Singh
Many students ask, “Is Yoga an art form?” The short answer is yes, but it is also a science. Within every art form, there is beauty. As an instructor, you may have seen this beauty in the improvements in your students or at a prenatal yoga teacher training intensive. For those who teach Yogic methods, there is beauty in every part of this treasured practice. Yoga is considered to be art, science, and a way of life. It is also the perfect activity for cultivating both inner and outer beauty. Part of Yoga’s healing process is that the inner peace and calmness it affords helps a person’s inner beauty come to the surface. Tension lines, muscle cramps, and superficial complexion problems that plague humankind are often caused by stress and a poor diet.
Signs of Change
Yoga is ideal for giving a student a way to remove outward signs that they have been making their health and wellness a priority. After practicing yoga for a few months, students often remark that their friends tell them that they emit a glow that they have previously never held before. In this sense, the tranquility and search for inner peace show through to the outward parts of our bodies. Physically speaking, many people turn to more athletic-based yoga schools, where the objective is to build lean muscle mass, without gaining size, and provide overall cardiovascular health. Regular asana practice is effective in sculpting muscle tone that is not bulky or out of proportion to a person’s natural body type. This is because the weight-bearing poses in yoga training allow the body to grow muscle size at a rate that adjusts to ever-growing demands on the muscles.
Practicing yoga forces a person to turn their focus inward, and to deal with parts of themselves that they often judge as “bad” or “ugly.” Looking at those parts with non-judgment means that the student can begin to find the beauty in even those parts of ourselves that we try to hide from others. We start to see that underneath those things we want to avoid there is potential and beauty that can be added to our lives. As a result, yoga is a practice that calms, clears, and balances the mind. It can be practiced as a form of art, but this depends on the person and the type of yoga that they choose. When practiced for calming, yoga can take someone to a blissful state of mind. Many practitioners never have even imagined inner-calm existed.
Restoring Ancient Practices
Long before yoga was ever practiced outside Asia, ancient yogis practiced meditation and other similar mind-focus exercises to pamper themselves. Today, it’s believed that yoga techniques are becoming more popular as a form of exercise. Yet, studies have shown that meditation increases the levels of serotonin (a feel-good hormone) in your body, releases stress, and lowers cortisol levels. Sufferers of chronic pain also find relief from their condition through yoga. Although both meditative and mindful practices are different when done together they can offer an outlet for social connection while boosting mental health – with trendy sweaty workouts never getting easier.
With improved muscle tone and generally better health, body movement improves for the student. His or her movements become more graceful and more deliberate. The student no longer lumbers or shuffles from point A to point B; instead, movements are made deliberately and with a grace that shows new inner confidence. Additionally, as the body becomes more flexible, we also become more flexible with our lives. That flexibility allows us to explore things that previously would’ve scared us and kept us from realizing our true potential. It allows us to open up to more potential beauty in our lives.
Monitoring Student Progress
As students progress, asana, pranayama, meditation, and relaxation, allow them to become aware of the world outside of themselves and outside of their own bodies. Teaching Yoga is an art form. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to teach yoga. Yoga instructors can’t just give the same routine every time or students will lose interest. They have to be creative, always finding new ways to engage the students and encourage them to practice. They have to be present at the moment with their students, helping them through poses as they are practicing. Teaching yoga is more than just teaching poses; it’s a lifestyle that teachers need to live by in order for it to be effective.
Yoga Teacher Development
When students ask, “Is Yoga an art form,” we must realize that teaching is also an art, which takes time to master. The art, skill, and technique of teaching yoga is something that is acquired over long periods of time. Of course, individual students will have their own needs and goals for practicing yoga, but there are some key teaching points that any instructor should know before they start their own class. For example, the instructor should learn to listen to his or her students. This means knowing what they want out of the class and being attentive to student posture in order to provide proper feedback.
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