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Teaching Yoga as a Physical or a Spiritual Discipline 2017-04-26T15:29:50+00:00

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Teaching Yoga as a Physical or a Spiritual Discipline
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Forum Posts: 13
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October 3, 2009 - 11:55 pm
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Pranam,

What is your opinion considering the spiritual aspect of yoga in the physical class? Do you think you can teach yoga for exercise only? Do you think yoga is only for Hindus as stated by Christian and Hindu extremists? Please be honest from your experiences as a yogi or as a yoga teacher. Here is my opinion below.

There are often debates among yoga instructors that classes should be taught purely as a physical practice, or whether the spiritual side should be taught as well. This debate usually appears when hatha yoga is taught in settings such as health clubs, where spirituality is not the primary reason that most students are there.

Nonetheless, even the most physically oriented student knows in the back of his or her mind that yoga is something more than that, and is somehow attracted to it. Meditation is a way of training oneself to slow down which can bring tremendous benefits to physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual health. When one moves into a state of meditation, the heart rate decreases and the body relaxes.

Brain waves move from the normal waking wave patterns to slower, deeper waves bringing on a deep state of relaxation. Regular meditation practice brings calmness and serenity. It broadens the awareness of oneself, which enables the practitioner to change at an emotional and psychological level. Meditation brings an increased ability to focus and concentrate which can improve efficiency and even job performance.

The longer an individual practices meditation, the greater the likelihood that his or her goals and efforts will shift toward personal and spiritual growth. Many yoga practitioners initially learn meditation for its self-regulating aspects, but later find that as their practice deepens they are drawn more and more into the realm of the spiritual. With the gradual sense of awakening of peace and joy, the practitioner becomes conscious of the Universal Power that he possesses within himself. Even a simple physical yoga class is a gateway to spiritual growth.

Many Blessings,

Juli

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July 20, 2013 - 12:26 am
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Yoga and Conscious Awareness

Yoga is an ancient practice that was originally created by priests and monks to help their bodies cope with long periods of intense meditation and the study of scriptures. Around the modern world, Yoga training has become a vital practice that helps the body, the soul and the mind. Yoga meditation, such as developing and practicing conscience awareness, has been drawing more worldwide attention recently. This is due in part to the realization that conscience awareness is linked to the healing processes of the mind, body and the soul.

Yoga, when practiced by pairing body movements with breath (or a style of Yoga called Hatha Yoga), relaxes the muscles in the body. By concentrating on the breath, rhythmic inhaling and exhaling, the mind is emptied of thoughts. When people meditate or practice conscious awareness, the mind becomes focused and concentrated, allowing the body to enter a deep state of relaxation. The stress response shifts and is lowered. It is in this bodily state that healing processes are stimulated, and tissues within the physical body heal and repair themselves.

Meditation or conscious awareness takes many years to master and is a practice that takes time to perfect. Once achieved by training, the mind can be induced to return to an inward state of empowerment at anytime. Members of modern Yoga schools believe that one can experience the higher consciousness, higher self, or the universal life force that permeates all living things throughout the universe through yoga meditation. Meditation focuses on cultivating present moment awareness and the here and the now. It helps one to cultivate awareness of the present moment, and utilizes relaxation breathing to focus attention, and strengthen the connection between the mind and the body.

The medical community is now recognizing the benefits of yoga training to the overall wellbeing and health. Patients who have used yoga meditation, guided imagery, affirmations & mantras during recovery after surgery have healed faster, used less pain medication, and exhibited better moods. Yoga has also been proven to quiet thoughts, feeling and emotions before surgery or when dealing with chronic health conditions. This is due to elevation in mood from imagining positive outcomes.

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