BC Counsellor - Fall 2014 - (Page 17)
More Than a
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
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
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BC Counsellor - Fall 2014
The Fine Print
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