A unique school of yoga that incorporates music, yogic scripture, and meditation, Jivamukti offers 300-hour teacher training throughout the year. Taught by senior Jivamukti practitioners such as Sharon Gannon and David Life, these month-long courses take place in locations around the world. Course material ranges from introductory anatomy to yogic philosophy. At a basic level, aspiring teachers learn how to structure a class with a meaningful series of asanas, or poses. However, the teacher training also helps students understand yoga as a means of connecting with the universe at large, and it gives them the tools to build a more harmonious life. Through their study of ancient yogic scriptures, students are consistently challenged to incorporate spirituality into their physical yoga practice.
The Jivamukti School also offers an 800-hour apprenticeship for students who have completed the initial teacher training. This program allows students to grow deeper in the Jivamukti practice and pursue more senior teaching roles. Learn more about these courses and the Jivamukti School by visiting http://www.jivamuktiyoga.com.
Joining an increasing number of their peers, students in one California public high school recently incorporated yoga into their physical education program. The students boosted their grade point averages and increased their overall emotional and physical health after engaging in the focused, calming discipline, which the school presented as a specially designed fitness program. One freshman with a GPA of only 1.6 raised her score to a 4.0 by her senior year and found that she slept better and got along better with family members after her participation in the program.
Physical education experts say that yoga can offer numerous benefits to people of all ages and backgrounds: It can assist in reducing stress, improving the mind’s ability to be flexible and attentive and increasing physical stamina and endurance. Therefore, it only makes sense that students, particularly young adults facing overcrowded schedules and multiple academic and social pressures, could benefit from the practice of yoga.
Through yoga, high school and college students can learn to tame restlessness through assuming a series of relaxing poses designed to calm the mind and body. Yoga can also provide a stable personal anchor in the midst of the often-stormy transitions that come with the high school and college years. The practice additionally offers the opportunity to connect with a like-minded community of peers, who can form a vital network of support for one another.
Another advantage: Many schools offer academic credits for taking yoga and other physical fitness or personal development classes.
Fine Tuning Makes Chair Pose Less Strenuous
A common pose in both beginner and more advanced yoga practices, “utkatasana” or chair pose activates both the thighs and the core. Entering the pose is relatively simple: begin in standing with the arms raised over the head and then “sit back” into an imaginary chair. At first, this pose can seem quite physical given the strength required by the thighs, but as you fine tune the movement and begin to sink deeper into the pose, it becomes less strenuous.
Start the fine-tuning process by focusing in on your feet. The majority of your weight should be in the heels; you can even try lifting your toes to help ensure that your weight is dispersed properly. Activate the muscles through the lower legs before concentrating on your thighs. They should be sinking down, but not so far that you begin to lean forward. As you progress in utkatasana, your thighs will be parallel to the ground and your torso will create a right angle at the hips, but it’s OK if you’re not to either point just yet!
When concentrating on the upper body, be sure that you activate your core. Lifting up through the core also helps relieve the stress on the thighs. Next, think about your back; the tailbone should be tucked to ensure lower-back health, and the spine should be lifting toward the sky. Finally, don’t create unnecessary tension in the shoulders; move the shoulder blades down the back into a relatively relaxed position. Beginners attempting this pose may find it useful to start by practicing it against a wall.
As the baby boom generation continues to head into its senior years, its members are forming a new generation of older adults dedicated to keeping their bodies fit, healthy, and active. Therefore, it’s not a coincidence that today’s seniors are partly responsible for the rise in the popularity of massage as physical therapy and as a tool for enhancing both relaxation and personal growth.
Physicians and bodywork experts point out that massage can be an excellent preventative strategy for aging adults. It can help joints stay supple, speed up recovery from minor injuries, and decrease aches and pains in the lower back, neck, and shoulders. Many seniors with osteoarthritis report using massage therapy to complement other medical treatments for the condition.
One recent study did a comparison between a set of older adults who received massage therapy for two months and a control group in the same age bracket who did not. All the subjects in the study suffered from confirmed cases of osteoarthritis in their knees. The group that received massage reported a significant decrease in their levels of pain and stiffness and an increase in their ability to perform basic physical functions. Members of the control group did not experience any of these outcomes to a statistically noteworthy extent.
Some researchers even credit gentle massage with the capacity to assist patients with Alzheimer’s disease, due to its tendency to promote relaxation and increased communication. Even when an elderly person has forgotten many other things, he or she is likely to remember the positive feelings associated with touch. In this way, massage can calm mental agitation and assist in facilitating restful sleep. Experts point out that human beings need touch at every stage of their lives.