Sunday, November 6, 2016

What Should a Yoga Instructor Know about Mudras?

yoga instructor education
By Narendra Maheshri

Yoga mudras are hand gestures used during meditation and some asanas. Mudras are used to guide energy flow to specific parts of the body, or to focus on a specific area of the body. They can be therapeutic, calming, and healing. Some yoga instructors teach a few basic mudras to students during meditation, and others do not. Instructors should know what mudras are, and how they benefit the mind and body. They should also know a few basic mudras to use during class, or in case students have questions.

How to Practice Mudras

Mudras can be practiced anywhere, anytime. It is best to find a quiet spot, where you can sit or lie down. Breathe regularly as you let the energy flow to the specified body part or area. Practice mudras for a few minutes or longer, depending on your preference. For best results, mudras should be performed on a regular basis for about 20 minutes per session.

Benefits of Mudras

Yoga mudras can help channel energy throughout the body, which aids in healing a number of different ailments. If used regularly, mudras can help cure anything from heart illness and cancer to the common cold. Many people find relief from stress and anxiety, muscle and joint pain, or lethargy. There are many different yoga mudras, each with a specific purpose. Yoga teachers should always note that mudras are by no means used as a "miracle cure," but they do produce positive results.

Basic Mudras

Guyan mudra is probably one of the most popular mudras, and is often associated with images of a meditating Buddha, his hands on his knees, the thumb and the tip of the forefinger touching while the other three fingers remain straight. Guyan mudra stimulates knowledge and ability by encouraging receptivity and calm. To impart active knowledge, simply bend the tip of the index finger and allow the thumb to press down on it.

Perform Shuni mudra by placing the tip of the middle finger onto the tip of the thumb. Shuni mudra brings patience to those who practice it.

Surya mudra brings intuition, renewed energy, and health to those who desire help in those areas. Bring the tip of the ring finger to rest on the tip of the thumb.

Achieve Buddhi mudra by placing the tip of the smallest finger on the tip of the thumb. This mudra helps bring about clear and intuitive communication with others.

Apan Vayu mudra strengthens the heart, helps normalize blood pressure, and purifies the entire body. Perform Apan Vayu by folding the index finger and resting it at the base of the thumb. Then touch the tips of the middle and ring fingers to the tip of the thumb, leaving the pinky finger straight.

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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Yoga for Preventative Health

yoga for inner calm
By Sangeetha Saran

Anyone trying to prevent destructive mental and physical health conditions can use different forms of yoga on a regular basis. Yoga has been a popular discipline for hundreds of years beginning in India as a spiritual practice to achieve inner calm. 

A Popular Discipline 

Individuals using yoga poses and breathing techniques each day have often claimed they have fewer chronic or temporary medical conditions. There are a wide variety of specialty yoga forms including Hatha, Vinyasa or Ashtanga that are suitable for beginners to advanced students. Medical practitioners may advise patients to use yoga exercise as an alternative or holistic way to prevent conditions such as arthritis or high blood pressure. Learning yoga is fairly easy for beginners by using online video streaming, on-site classes at exercise studios, DVDs or books. 

Types of Yoga

An individual who is not accustomed to exercise can begin with the Hatha style that is a gentle way to stretch muscles and gain flexibility. This form of exercise is frequently used by senior citizens in assisted living facilities to prevent stiff hip, leg and shoulder joints. While performing the simple poses of Hatha yoga, individuals also increase their blood circulation helping to maintain cardiovascular health. More advanced students will enjoy Vinyasa style yoga that is slightly more strenuous helping individuals to improve their breath control. Having more control over breathing is essential for improving lung function while also decreasing mental anxiety and stress. Alternatively, Ashtanga yoga is an excellent way to build muscle strength with a physically demanding routine of poses that will increase an individual’s endurance.

Suitable for Everyone 

Yoga is suitable for most individuals in different age groups including children and teenagers. While many forms of exercise are expensive to begin, yoga does not require specialized equipment or clothing. For additional comfort, many individuals like to use a soft rug or mat to stand, sit or lie on instead of a hard floor. Wearing loose clothing and comfortable shoes is also helpful during many of the yoga poses. Some of the physical conditions prevented by yoga exercise include osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease that leads to debilitating low-back pain. Individuals engaging in yoga exercise can often strengthen muscles surrounding their knee joints enough to avoid needing surgery on the meniscus. Yoga improves brain function because it increases the oxygen levels in the body while reducing high adrenaline levels that can cause depression, anxiety and dementia.

© Copyright 2016 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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