Sunday, September 17, 2017

Yoga Philosophy About Stress Reduction

Public School teacher, private school teacher, yoga teacher, personal certified trainer, and spin instructor, I was asked about the benefits of yoga and stress reduction.  Here is my philosophy...
  1. As a yoga instructor, how do you believe yoga is beneficial to emotional and mental functioning?
    • I believe that yoga is beneficial to emotional health using the breath techniques associated with yoga teaching.  
      • In yoga, the breath is primary; and even though, most of us would say we already know how to breathe, we really don't practice healthy diaphragmatic breath each day.  We all tend to hold our inhale when we feel stressed, tense, or in pain.  Yoga teaches us how to engage the Para-sympathetic nervous system through slowing down the breath out.  I often say, "We are born knowing how to inhale, but we must learn how to exhale."
      • Calming the emotions is vital to our well-being.  Emotional stress is rampant in our world today, and we often use "numbing behaviors" to relax and let go of the tension.  Yoga gives us tools in our toolbox, so to speak, to incorporate for emotional stability by quieting the mind, choosing the thoughts, noticing the breath patterns that accompany our stress response then changing it.
      • Relaxation or Savasana is the last 5-10 minutes of every class that I teach.
    • I believe we would be nicer, more cognitive people at home and at work, if we took 3 - 5 minutes each day of getting quiet and breathing.  This benefits our mental functioning by helping us think more clearly, concentrate, and moving out of the brain stem of re-activity into the gray matter of pro-activity.  
    • Yoga is for the body, mind, and spirit.  It is not a religion.  Many people struggle with the idea of yoga because it comes from the east and includes spiritual development.  At Tranquility Yoga, we honor people of all faiths.  
  2. How do you believe the emotional/mental functioning is tied to the physical components of yoga?
    • While some people believe that yoga is just for physical fitness, actually the yoga postures and what we call "Vinyasa Flow - breath with movement" are designed to help us learn to be still and meditate.  We balance, we strengthen, we lengthen; we move at our own ability level, without mirrors in the studio, with awareness to help us relax afterwards.  
    • Yoga can be practiced from a chair, on the floor with a mat, or even in your kitchen.  I recommend practicing without shoes, but I have had people with plantar fasciitis (inflammation in the sole of the foot) who need to wear shoes to protect their feet for health reasons.
    • As a personal certified trainer, I am very concerned with healthy hearts, healthy bodies that move without pain, healthy outlooks on life with good nutrition, healthy water intake.  However, with our stressful lives, we often choose just the cardio form of workout and neglect the quieting down of yoga flexibility and mobility work.  Thus, we stay in the Sympathetic Nervous System and struggle with sleep deprivation, drug dependency to calm down, over-eating, staying constantly busy/overworking, as well as, alcoholic consumption to relax and release.  
    • My father was a pharmacist, and I am not against taking medication.  I enjoy a glass of wine with dinner some evenings.  I have been an emotional eater.  I understand how being busy and overworking makes someone feel more fulfilled. As a society, we have begun to over-use helpful techniques and under-use holistic practices of yoga postures and movement, breathing techniques, seeing the food you ingest as your daily medicine, and learning how to sit still and be quiet (meditation).
    • Movement + breath + choosing our thoughts = better emotional/mental functioning.
  3. Please provide number of years teaching and your certifications to add to article.

        • I have been a private and public school teacher since the early 80's; yoga teacher since 2005/2006.  Education and being a life long learner are very important to me.  I am currently studying to become a 1,000 hour Yoga Therapist and hope to achieve that goal in 2018.  
        • 500 ERYT Yoga Alliance (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher); Kripalu Yoga Institute; Certified Personal Trainer/Cooper Institute; Pilates certification; IAYT member; Yoga Warrior certification; Xen Strength certification (Yoga with Weight Lifting), Mad Dogg Spinning Instructor, Radiant Child Yoga certification, Yoga for PTSD and TBI through Yoga Warriors International, Prison/Drug Treatment Yoga, currently a student at Everyone Yoga School in Tulsa, OK
          M.A., B.S. 

Weight Lifting: The Why's, the What's, and How Much?

Dear Friends, Good Friday Morning!  Are you able to tell a difference yet? I am finding that my clothes fit better, my energy level i...