October 2007 Yoga Teacher Training Newsletter

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October 2007 Yoga Teacher Training Newsletter 2017-04-26T15:29:52+00:00

Anger Management Solutions: Yogic Energy Channeling

By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Among its diverse methods, Yoga has many viable solutions for anger and anger management. If you look at anger as a form of energy, and Yoga as a method for channeling uncontrolled energy, you can see a new horizon, which is the beginning of the solution to anger management.

Throughout history, and in many societies – young, angry people have often been “channeled” into military service. This is a good thing, when young people have constructive leadership, as they can give back to society and to those less fortunate.

On the other hand, under a destructive leadership, military service can be devastating, and scar one for life. This happens when young people are motivated by propaganda, conquest, intolerance, hate, and greed. This runs contrary to the universal moral codes of Yoga, which are based upon truth, tolerance, loving kindness, giving, and forgiving.

Let’s look at how Yoga can take angry energy and channel it down a constructive path. The rewards are self-control, purpose, and a completely healthy lifestyle. We know that you cannot bury negative emotions, but this energy we know as anger, or rage, can be reconfigured.

Asana (Yoga posture) practice is a good place to start putting energy to use. Whether you hold an Asana for a few minutes, or flow from one posture to the next, you will still release negative emotions, while making your body healthy, strong, and flexible.

Nervous, and angry energy, can literally be squeezed out of the body through the practice of Asanas. Very often, students, who are emotionally upset, before a Yoga class, leave the class feeling balanced. Remember that asana practice is only one component of Yoga.

Raja Yoga (Ashtanga), and Hatha Yoga, have diverse sub-styles for channeling energy – by posturing. A few of the many more popularly known Hatha sub-styles are Iyengar Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Kripalu Yoga, and Hot Yoga. Raja Yoga, also known as Ashtanga Yoga, has popular sub-styles (which we know as Vinyasa Yoga and Power Yoga).

Now, let’s look at Pranayama. Pranayama is also a Yogic method for harnessing, or restraining, energy through breathing. Many Yoga teachers explain the concept of Pranayama, in detail, to the public, because breathing is often taken for granted. To put it quite simply, most people do not breathe properly, but many of them claim to know how to breathe, and they see Pranayama practice as a waste of time.

After all, everyone has been breathing throughout life, right? If a Yoga practitioner, with decades of experience, has to remind him or herself to control breath on a daily basis, how is the rest of humanity breathing? Most people breathe in a short, choppy, and uncontrolled manner, without filling the lungs to capacity. This cycle repeats itself daily, which contributes to the development of many ailments, health conditions, diseases, and emotional problems.

In relation to anger management, a short, choppy, and uncontrolled breath will encourage temper tantrums. It will enhance an environment of irritability. This is like walking around with a loaded, “hair-trigger” revolver, without a safety mechanism, and expecting it not to go off some day.

In fact, improper breathing is a recipe for emotional disaster. Pranayama has many purposes. Pranayama is able to control anger and emotional turmoil. We instinctively take a deep breath or sigh during stressful times, but how often do we really listen to our instincts? If people listened to instinct and intuition more often, the lines at the doctor’s office would be shorter.

One way to test this is to practice Pranayama the next time you feel anger. Before you say a word to retaliate, practice Pranayama. Which method you choose depends upon how many people are around you. If you are being “taken to task,” in a business meeting, you may want to practice a slow and deep breath, which does not indicate your level of stress. One example of a slow and deep breath is “Dhirga Pranayama” (three part breath).

If you are alone, Brahmari, Udgeeth, Ujjayi, Kapalabhati, Bastrika, or Sitali Pranayama are options, which make a bit more noise, but each has its place, when considering a method for mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Each of us is emotionally different, but one or two of the above-mentioned Pranayama techniques, will relieve anger, frustration, and irritability.

The best choice can be determined by practicing Pranayama, on a daily basis, and finding out which method is the most effective for you. So, why do people spend millions of dollars on prescriptions to make them feel less angry? Air is free, and when anything is free, people see it as worth nothing.

What a shame – because common sense, intelligence, love, and friendship, are free too. These are priceless treasures and so is air. Without air, the earth, as we know it, would not exist.

There are many useful purposes for mantra and japa (the repetition of mantra). We often think of mantra as a way to shut out the constant noise of the world around us. It is true this method works effectively, and serves us as an aid for meditation. Mantra and japa will guide you toward the gateway to inner peace, but there are many more uses.

Mantra and japa can be practiced in silence any time you start to think negative thoughts. Mantra, japa, and prayer, are positive forms of communication. You cannot recite a round of japa in your mind and hold onto a negative thought at the same time. Negative thoughts disappear, when we practice japa.

Some people will tell you to express yourself loudly and vocally, when you are confronted by anything, which causes you to be irritable. They will advise instant retaliation to everything, otherwise you will appear weak. Retaliation always inflames arguments, makes enemies, and displays a lack of restraint – even if you perceive that you have “won an argument.”

Japa allows you to collect your thoughts without hostility. You might even ask someone to explain their point again, because you want to completely understand. As a result of your willingness to listen, the other person becomes less tense. You now have time to absorb the point of conflict and seek a mutual solution.

There is a saying, “Those who live by the sword die by the sword.” How many friends are attracted to a personality which advises instant retaliation? Not many, because this person has “burned a ring of fire” around him or herself.

Look at some of the most well-known dictators of the 20th century. The people in their entourages had no illusions of friendship, love, or compassion. Dictators rule by instilling fear into everyone around them. This is the most extreme example of relationships, based upon the fear of instant retaliation, but what does it have to do with mantra?

Every day we face situations, and we make choices, but basically we have a choice of conflict or peace. Do we love or do we hate? The choice comes from within. Practice mantra for the tranquility of your mind, and you can enable others to find bliss.

Have you ever wondered how Yoga could contribute to world peace? How can Yoga meditation prevent anger? The keyword is, “prevent” because it is difficult to meditate when you have already become angry. Anger is as powerful as pain and can become an overriding thought. So, how can meditation stand up against the power of anger?

Over the centuries, many monks, priests, sages, gurus, and Yoga teachers, have taught their students about the value of meditation for inner peace and logical thinking. Meditation starts with the practice of sitting quietly for a set amount of time.

Traditionally, we were taught to meditate for a minimum of 20 minutes – once or twice per day. At this point in time, the vast majority of people do not want to “unplug” themselves from electronic devices. The most common excuse for avoiding meditation is, “I don’t have the time.” Two more reasons for avoiding meditation are poor results and lack of stimulation.

Let’s go back to the drawing board of Yogic meditation. If you are a beginner – instead of 20 minutes, try, at least, three minutes of meditation, every day, for one month. This is a personal pledge of just three minutes per day. If you write it down, or make an appointment with yourself, your chances of success will be higher.

Therefore, what does a beginning Yogi or Yogini meditate about? Here is an easy concept: Just observe your breathing and follow your breath mentally. Do not try to control or judge your breathing, at all. You should continue to practice this for a few minutes per day over the course of a month.

After one month, you will make this simple form of “Yogic Breath Awareness Meditation” into a regular habit. Do you have to lengthen your meditation sessions after the first month has passed? Not unless you want to, but my guess is you will want to.

One benefit that is absolutely guaranteed: Regular Yogic meditation is preventative medicine for anger, stress, anxiety, and a multitude of emotional problems. It may not help you in the “heat of battle,” but it will prevent battles from taking place.

© Copyright 2007 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications


Hatha Yoga: An Aid to Self-Worth

By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Imagine how many people you meet in a day with self-esteem issues. The need for self-confidence in children and adults is astronomical.

Did you ever consider that Yoga posturing made you look more confident to others. Sitting, standing, and walking straight, are a form of body language, which make you appear confident to others. After practicing Yoga postures for awhile, you begin to feel the confidence from within.

Let’s discuss a few more ways to increase your self-confidence and find true success for life. Sometimes, we find that our own beliefs are what hold us back from making real progress. Therefore, program your self-confidence and watch how your life can be full of achievement, instead of disappointment.

Many times you are told to “live in the moment,” but this can be very difficult, if your past is still haunting you. Perhaps, someone called you names as a child, a loved one put you down, or a teacher degraded you in front of your class. A perfect childhood seems like a myth.

Childhood is full of criticism from people whose opinions we value. This becomes part of our daily mental programming. It is really hard to suppress foundational thoughts, which were built on, and then reinforced, over time. How can any of us find true success, when we cannot put the “skeletons” of our past behind us?

To begin with, you must change your mental programming by learning from past mistakes. Look forward to each hurdle in life as a learning process. Do not expect a life without detours. Life is a “mine field,” and many of us experience our share of disappointments along the way.

Wake up every day and look forward to learning from the obstacles in your path. Take a pro-active attitude toward your life, and you will look forward to obstacles as natural challenges.

© Copyright 2007 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications