BC Counsellor - Fall 2014 - (Page 17)

Feature More Than a YogA BuTT! By Janice Serle, SOYA RYT500; B.A./B.Ed; M.Sp.Ed. Most people, when they think of yoga, think of people pretzeled into looking like contortionists, or sitting cross-legged on a cushion with their eyes closed, chanting 'Om'. Others are probably enamored with 'Hot Yoga' or 'Power Yoga', with the goal of extreme physical fitness in mind. While these are legitimate versions of what yoga can be, the term Yoga actually means 'to yoke', or 'to join' the body, mind, and spirit. Our body is the vehicle we learn in. It is an important part of our spiritual development. By bringing the body under control of the mind, we are able to use the body and mind for higher purposes. Perfect health frees the body to concentrate on the development of mind and spirit without interference from the physical body. This is wellness. Understanding that with regular practice, yoga can sculpt the body, increase flexibility, build strength and stamina, improve balance, and deepen cardiovascular efficiency is a sound knowledge of the benefits of yoga. These are all physically noticeable benefits. But,it's more than a yoga butt! It's the subtle,less visible, benefits that are most noteworthy, yet least known.Yoga can improve digestion,elimination, and circulation. It can regulate blood pressure, calm the heartbeat, and increase mental acuity. Probably the biggest benefit of all, though, and the one contributing most to wellness, is that by practicing yoga one can find peaceof-mind! Originally, the purpose of practicing yoga postures was solely to prepare the body for meditation-the practice of clearing,hence controlling, the mind.The process is simple... Part of yoga's aim is to make the limbs strong and supple, to increase stamina, and to strengthen the internal organs. But, along with the practice of postures (Asana), a well-designed yoga routine should include conscious breathing exercises (Pranayama), contemplation of intentions (Dhyana), single pointed focus exercises (Dharana), and practice withdrawing from sensory input by stilling the mind (Pratyahara). These are five of the eight limbs of yoga. By acquiring more conscious control of the physical processes of the body, one improves control of the mind. This turning inward, stilling the thoughts, and watching the mind helps one to achieve peace-of-mind. It is by practicing some, if not all, of the eight limbs of yoga regularly that one will begin to reap all of the above mentioned benefits. Yoga is a discipline, but it is one that can be practiced anytime, anywhere: in a chair, in a line-up, in a car, at your desk, at home, at a studio, at work, during a lunch break, at coffee break, before bed, before work. There are apps for guided meditation/concentration exercises, asana routines, yoga music, conscious breath control exercises, yogic recipes, and many more-all purposed for helping people achieve wellness. The next time you have an opportunity to try a yoga class, open your mind and try it-you might be pleasantly surprised. If you think you don't have time for a class, try downloading one of the many free apps that might teach you conscious breathing techniques, or guided visualizations to bring you to a state of blissful peace-of-mind, a state of wellness. For more information on free apps, go to the website, Crazy Teabag, to find Yoga Music, Nature's music, and Music for Meditation. Also, check out the App Store for free downloads of yoga routines, breathing exercises, and visualizations. I recommend Padma Yoga, on YouTube, for her expertise for beginners. And, for a modest fee, you can take out a year's subscription to myyogaonline, entitling you to receive weekly newsletters, videos, music, meditations, recipes and more, from worldclass instructors. The village of yoga is most definitely global. Enjoy! Janice Serle is a high school English and theatre teacher, and certified yoga instructor. Also a Reiki Master, Serle is invested in the promotion of wellness in her school and community at large. Most recently, her passion is teaching yoga to teens. BC Counsellor | Winter/Fall 2014 | www.bcschoolcounsellor.com 17 http://www.bcschoolcounsellor.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BC Counsellor - Fall 2014

President’s Perspective
The Fine Print
Book Review
Empowering Others, Empowering Ourselves
Counsellor Compassion Fatigue: How to Find Balance
Go Ahead – ‘Waste’ a Day
Stress and Children’s Self-Regulation
More Than a Yoga Butt!
Index to Advertisers

BC Counsellor - Fall 2014