Yoga Teacher Training for the Mind
By Sanjeev Patel
What is missing from many yoga instructor training programs? Although your students want to exercise, as a yoga teacher you should know the heart of this practice that many of us devote our lives to. At the heart of all yoga practice is meditation. Meditation trains the mind basically by exercising it. Each style of yoga has a benefit to the mind as well as the body. The practice of steady breathing, focus, and mental stability allows us to become more aware, and helps body and mind to work together for success. Those who practice yoga training regularly notice the improvements almost immediately. If anyone doubts the benefits ask them to just practice for a week. They will see improvements in their overall mood, control of emotion, level of stress and overall body function.
One may wonder how yoga training improves the mind. What is it about the combination of clearing the mind, and executing these asanas that helps? Through research, it has been found that many things happen when yoga is practiced. GABA is an important amino acid in the human body, which helps the brain function, and it is increased through yoga practice. GABA is directly related to your mood. Focus and balance stimulate the frontal lobe of the brain which helps gain overall control of the body. Yoga breathing techniques (pranayama) work the nervous system, which stimulates the entire body including oxygen consumption, and basically everybody function. Yoga releases more serotonin and dopamine into the body, which relieve stress, and also lowers cortisol, which is a creator of stress.
One thing I hear often is why yoga training works so much better than simply just stretching. The trick, (which is really no trick at all) is the combination of the stretch along with breathing and focus. Focusing the gaze is a way of clearing the mind and avoiding distraction. It centers the mind and allows it to focus on the movement, making it much more effective. In life, our minds naturally wander. There are so many things to think about, worry about, and it’s common for us to always be preoccupied with what will happen. Yoga gives us a chance to take a vacation from all, to quiet and train our minds so that we can better deal with the roller coaster of life, to connect us in this moment rather than the past or future. This is the main benefit of yoga training.
Side Notes for Yoga Instructors
If you spent 200 hours learning asanas at your foundational yoga instructor training, all is not lost. Asana practice reveals many things when practiced alone. You begin to focus within and practice breath awareness through pranayama practice. As Paulji taught me this is the beginning of the mind and body link. In this journey of self-discovery you will learn to observe many things, if you are patient. If you want to jump forward faster, you could attend a meditation workshop or take a specialized yoga teacher training course. Either way, you will be able to give your students the complete yoga experience, when they attend your classes.
© Copyright 2006 – Aura Wellness Center / Publications Division
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Sluggish Liver in the Bane of Your Life
By Guru Suneel Singh
Liver is responsible for the smooth flow of energy around the body. Liver is the largest organ in the body and plays a crucial role in our health and well being. Liver is a major fat burning organ in the body and is also responsible for maintaining blood sugar levels, storing important vitamins, iron and copper, and regulating proteins.
Sluggish Liver Symptoms:
Weakness, nausea, fever, headache, loss of appetite. Irritable bowel syndrome, unpleasant moods, depression, skin rashes, Asthma, a week immune system etc.
Causes of Liver Diseases
Mostly, alcoholism, tea, and coffee, enlargement of spleen and excess consumption of medicines cause these. The following Yoga asanas are particularly beneficial for strengthening a sluggish liver, and should be practiced on an empty stomach.
Yoga is the Quintessential Path for Sluggish Liver.
Yogic asanas, mudra and pranayama are particularly beneficial for strengthening a sluggish liver. And, also, if the liver in given rest, then it has the capacity to heal itself. Fasting gives extreme relief to the liver.
(1) Supta Vajrasana (2) Pad Hast asana (3) Ardhamatsyendr asana. (4) Hala asana (5) Yoga mudra (6) Sarvangasana (7) Bhujangasana (8) Matsaya asana (9) Shalbh asana (10) Uttan Koorm asana.
(1) Ardhamatsyandr Asana: Sit with legs spread ahead. Then fold the left leg and place the foot next to the left leg and place the foot next to the right hip and then put the right leg next to the left knee. Then, take the left arm, turning over the shoulder, and bring it over the right leg under the knee in such a way that it holds the toe of the right foot.
Right hand, to be taken behind the right shoulder, in an effort to bring it around from behind to touch the navel. Similarly, repeat it on the other side. Do it a minimum two times each side.
Benefits: This asana is especially efficacious for sluggish liver; it tones the nerves of the spine, makes the back muscles supple, and relieves lumbago and muscular spasms. This asana massages the abdominal organs – alleviating digestive ailments.
Precaution: Those who are suffering from peptic ulcer and hernia should not practice this asana.
(2) Halasana (Plough pose) Lie flat on your back, with legs straight on the floor feet together, and toes pointing. Relax the body slowly; raise your legs from the ground, keeping both feet together. Try to touch the toes to the floor behind the head. Do not force the toes to touch the floor, place the arms on the floor with palms facing down.
Breathing normal, stay in the posture for as long as is comfortable, then slowly lower your legs on the floor pressing your elbows, and hands down. The head should rest on the floor. Relax in Shavasana. Normalize your breathing.
Benefits: This asana improves liver and kidney functions. This asana influences thyroid gland, balances the metabolic rate and the thymus gland, and strengthens the immune system.
Caution: Those suffering from High Blood pressure, hernia, slipped disc, sciatica or any other back problem, should not do this yoga asana.
Guru Suneel Singh
By Yoga Kat (aka) Katheryn Hoban
Let’s speak about joy. It is something that shines out of every pore in your being. It bubbles up out of your heart and your mind. Its energy is soft, light and clear. Joy is very transforming. You don’t need a lot of anything to be joyful. People in the poorest of circumstances can be filled with joy. One can choose to be joyful. It is a choice that can make every day.
Joy can also be a tool of guidance. If we can be led by what makes us joyful, we can begin doing more of the things that will bring us a fulfilled life. Just follow the joy.
Somehow we have been told in the past that we are not meant to enjoy life, and that it must be drudgery and hard work. I didn’t enjoy my life much in the past, but I began to transform misery into joy. I gave myself permission to laugh and enjoy my life. I began to ask myself, “What do I really love to do?” and I started doing more of these things. Even if it was something very small, it was a beginning. Now, I often feel a tremendous amount of joy.
There is an exercise that I suggest that can transform whatever mood you find yourself in to one of joy. It is to list ten things right in the moments that make you joyful.
They can be very simple things to list: that you found a seat on the train, that you are going to your favorite place, that you are meeting your favorite friend, or that you have this moment alone; that you see a child playing, that you see a little dog and his little tail is wagging enthusiastically, or that you hear a beautiful song; that you are in love, or that there is something special happening, that it is a sunny day, that you have ten toes, and ten fingers; that a stranger standing across from you is wearing a fantastic color, or you are wearing your favorite color, or perhaps you remember a day at the beach and the sound of the ocean.
You can add anything you want to your joy list. Your list will change moment by moment. And you can keep it very private if you like. The point is to do it in the moment, and you can add an affirmation for yourself: “I’m happy right now because that person is wearing blue today;” or, “I can be joyful because that silly little dog is wagging his little tail.”
I find many things to be joyful about during the day, and you can, too. Look around you to find what can prompt you to be joyful. Do it. Make a choice to be joyful. Make a choice to embrace the moment, to enjoy the moment. ‘Enjoy’ is a word that to me that means to join with joy. So if you en-joy someone or something, you are joining to them for that moment with joy. To enjoy life is to join with life with joy. To enjoy soccer game is to join the game and the fun with joy. To enjoy moment-by-moment the life that you are building is to join to each moment that you find yourself in with joy. Fun isn’t it!!
You can create joyful moments and carry these with you wherever you go. When you meet someone, let your joy really flow to her/him. Enjoy the meeting, enjoy the discussions, enjoy the food, enjoy the touches, and the show of affections. Joy is something to be shared and savored. When your pool of joy is filled up, empty it all out in another moment and for another encounter. Enjoy animals. Enjoy people. Enjoy your life moment by moment.
Add new things and new moments to your changing joy list. If something happened that was very unpleasant, and you just don’t want to remember it, then your joy might be remembered when you left or as you were leaving. Or that it is now finished and you never have to go through it again. Joy, that you were strong enough to go through it, or that you knew Jesus, or your guardian angel never left you in that moment; or Joy that you are now free.
We can be incredible instruments of joy for someone else. Open to each person, and choose joy. Enhance the joy that is already there and let it flow out. Call it forth.
Yoga Kat aka Katheryn Hoban can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 201 970-9340