How Yoga Makes Us Happy
How does yoga make us happier? It might be related to its effects on heart rate variability and the vagus nerve, according to a review of 59 studies with a total of nearly 2,400 participants. People with higher heart rate variability and vagus nerve activity tend to be kinder and more compassionate, qualities that make for a happier life.
Yoga also shifts our brain chemistry. In one study, Chantal Villemure and colleagues from the National Institutes of Health used magnetic resonance imaging to examine gray matter in the brain, which naturally declines with age. They found that yoga practitioners had less grey matter decline in regions of the cortex involved in the experience of positive states such as joy and happiness.
Finally, yoga has been found to increase activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and the medial prefrontal cortex, brain areas that are associated with empathy, gratitude, and kindness. In other words, practicing yoga may help us experience more positive emotions and be more oriented toward others, both of which can create lasting happiness over time.
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Lets Discuss Some Of The Characteristics Of An Exceptional Yoga Teacher
What Stands Out
What I admire most in a yoga teacher is his or her passion and love for yoga.; The history of yoga is vast, complex, and ornate; when a teacher shows knowledge of one or more of the sundry lineages, it makes me feel more comfortable that he or she knows how to lead me though a practice with the proper emphases.
The next characteristic I look for in a teacher is that his or her main concern is safety.; Unless the teacher has been working with his or her students for a long time, he or she usually scans the room during the first few minutes of their yoga classes to assess the various body types and ascertain the general athletic level of the students.; When possible, good teachers ask if any students have injuries that they dont already know how to modify for.
Clear language to describe proper alignment is essential; alignment pertains to safety and not simply looking cool. Strong teachers fluidly convey the directions that shoulders, hips, knees, heads, toes, arms and hands should be moving in every asana. On the other hand, since there is no such thing as a perfect asana and every body consists of different size muscles, bones, fascia, cartilage and ligaments, great teachers give verbal cues compassionately, not as if they are choreographing extras in a music video.
In my understanding of yoga:
Once the body is warmer and looser, the second part of the practice consists of twists to remove toxins from the internal organs.
A Yoga Teacher Does Not Have To Be A Spiritual Guru
Though yoga is a spiritual practice, you dont have to be very spiritual or a highly evolved person to be a yoga teacher. You can just be an Yoga Asana Teacher. Most people are initially attracted to the practice as a form of physical exercise and arent as concerned with the spiritual aspects. . . at first.
Be authentic and show up as you are. Just as your students, your identity as a yoga teacher will evolve over time. Embrace the journey.;
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Whats The Standard Size Of A Yoga Mat
The standard size of a yoga mat is 68 inches long and 24 inches wide.
The normal thickness of a yoga mat is 4-5 mm. Thats about 3/16ths of an inch.;
How does that translate to your height is the real question here. A standard 68 inch mat should be okay for someone who is five foot eight inches right?;
Its not always that simple though;
This is where a lot of first-time yoga mat buyers go wrong in the process. First, we consider how tall we are. Then as long as we are not taller than the yoga mat we think, This will work! So we buy the mat and regret our decision later.
Or worse yet, perhaps youre almost six feet tall and the clerk tells you, its just the standard size so youll be fine.
Lets talk more about finding whats best for your height.;
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It Has Health Benefits
An increasing number of studies is looking into whether yoga can help people deal with injuries and chronic pain.
Another study examined whether yoga can help with chronic lower back pain. After 12 weeks of yoga, yoga reduced back pain and back-related function was superior in the control group.
And finally, one further study examined yogas effect on our mood and stress levels. At the end of three months, the women in the yoga group reported improvements in perceived stress, depression, anxiety, energy, fatigue, and well-being.;Yoga decreased depression scores by 50%, anxiety scores by 30%, and overall well-being scores increased by 65%.;
And so from this small sample of academic studies, you may notice that yoga once a week can have important benefits to our lives.
And so if you want to start yoga and once a week is all you can commit to youre wondering if yoga once a week is enough, then just GO FOR IT!
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How Long Does It Take To Get Yoga Certified
This depends on the level of training that you get, including continuing education courses. It also depends on where you complete your training. A standard 200-hour immersion course will be about a month long, whereas your local yoga studio likely offers courses over weekends over the course of 6 months.
Read more:200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training: What To Expect, How To Prepare, Where To Do It
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Prerequisite For Yogic Success Union Between You And The Other
Yoga is nothing, if our relationships with others are not managed harmonically.
Learning yoga is also learning connecting with the other with the stranger whos not you but carries the same core, the same heart as you. We as individuals, possess the inborn feature of Ego the I-consciousness that makes us feel separate from the rest of what makes the wholeness.
This separation is the second of the the five klesah afflictions that stand as major hindrance against the union called asmita or I-am-ness / Egoism , and has to be cultivated and brought to a level of discernment that will lessen our disturbance that comes out the fragmentation between the I-am-ness and the Other-ness.
This is a crucial concept in Yoga and it is inevitable to be worked upon this hindrance in order to reach the inner psychological freedom or the ultimate liberation Kaivalya for which Yoga stands for. But, again, if you are beginner in this part, you want to know how to start dealing with all this. Here is the exercise:
How Thick Should My New Yoga Mat Be
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I am often thoughtful of the saying If you want to be a runner, run. If you want to be a weightlifter, then lift weights. My version is. If you want to be a Yogi, then practice Yoga.
The amount of people that say to me I want to try yoga, but never seem to actually get there, is amazing. I, thinking, hey, you just gotta do it man .
So, youve decided to enter into the world of Yoga. You purchase a cute yoga outfit, complete with mat and some accessories. Now youre sitting on your mat for the first time only to discover that its incredibly uncomfortable and your bottom is now sore!
Never fear, youre not the first and certainly wont be the last person to make this mistake.
Its easy to believe that every yoga mat and accessories will be perfect for us, but much like buying other products, sometimes they arent really what you expected when you actually receive them.
The reality is that we have to search for the right products, in this case, the right yoga mat. Even then, there maybe some experimentation before we find the mat that is just right for us.
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Is Online Yoga Teacher Training Worth It
This totally depends on the training courses that youre looking at and who the lead trainers are. Some yoga companies are just churning out training courses without offering much hands-on experience, personalized guidance from the trainers, or even quality education. These kinds of training courses are often sold for less than $500 and are more for those interested in a quick and dirty pseudo yoga teacher certificate than for those who are genuinely interested in learning the history of yoga, proper asana technique, teaching methodology from an experienced yoga instructor, or pranayama breathing techniques.
My online teacher training program, for example, provides TONS of hands-on experience through live Zoom calls and opportunities for teaching experience. I offer quality pre-recorded lessons on human anatomy, pranayama breathing, teaching methodology, and alignment and THEN we come together to discuss it all. In an online program like mine, you get teaching experience and quality feedback from an experienced yoga instructor , which is quite uncommon for most online programs.
Read more:Is An Online Yoga Teacher Training Worth The Investment?
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As Yj Turned 40 We Asked Kathryn Budig To Give It To Us Straight: 10 Poses We Should All Be Practicing On The Regularregardless Of Level And Whichever Shiny New Goal Pose Weve Had Tunnel Vision On
Home practice is hard. Its only human to go through phases where you get distracted by the shiny, next, new challenge pose in your practiceor on the opposite end of the spectrum simply get stuck on your favorite feel-good sequence. And while you definitely dont want to lose sight of goals or the sweet sensations that keep you coming back to your mat, its a good idea to;take a critical eye to your;practice now and then and look for the areas where you could strive for greater balance.
Thats what yoga is all about after all, and practitioners of every level can benefit from going back to basics regularly to;reexamine the actions and alignment of foundational standing poses, backbends, forward bends, and inversions. So in honor of YJs 40th anniversary, Ive compiled;a list of;poses that really stand the test of timethat is, 10;asanas every single yogi should be practicing on the regular. Heres my top 10 list along with focus tips for beginner, intermediate, and advanced practitioners.
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You May Want To See Your Yoga Buddies
For those who practice in a yoga studio, you may have experienced the magical yoga community experience.
I have seen this form organically in several studios around the world.
With time our yoga studios tend to become our homes away from home. And so the people around us gradually become our yoga buddies.
Someone to sweat next to, go to post-practice coffee with, go on a yoga retreat with.
And these very people form a community that nurtures us. And so it only makes sense that we may want to see them often.
And so this yoga community may be one of the reasons that yoga once a week is not enough.
How Do You Become A Certified Yoga Instructor
This depends on what kind of instructor certification you would like to receive. If youre looking for yoga instructor certification from Yoga Alliance, then you will want to do your yoga teacher training program with a registered yoga school or the Yoga Alliance. It is not necessary to get your instructor certification from YA, though, as its just a private organization that is not connected to any government requirements to teach yoga.
Otherwise, look for a yoga school that has a long-standing good reputation and join their 200-hour yoga teacher training program. This will cover all of the basic knowledge of yoga, such as yoga philosophy, the history of yoga, the Yoga Sutras, teaching methodology, human anatomy and physiology, and the yoga postures.
Read more:200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training: What To Expect, How To Prepare, Where To Do It
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Yoga Relaxes You To Help You Sleep Better
Research shows;that a consistent bedtime yoga routine can help you get in the right mindset and prepare your body to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Try It:;Legs-Up-the-Wall PoseSit with your left side against a wall, then gently turn right and lift your legs up to rest against the wall, keeping your back on the floor and your sitting bones close to the wall. You can remain in this position for 5 to 15 minutes.;
How To Choose A Yoga Mat
Long hailed for its positive effects on the mind and body, yoga helps build strength and flexibility, can help relieve stress and can improve overall mental and physical wellness.
Compared to other fitness activities, yoga requires minimal gear to get started. While most studios provide everything a beginner needs, investing in your own personal mat, yoga-specific clothes and a few other items can make your experience with yoga even more enjoyable.
Video: How to Choose Yoga Gear
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