Yoga & Emotions — On Becoming A Yoga Teacher
Yoga, when done regularly and with intention, is known as a way to integrate your mind, body and spirit. Through a mindful yoga practice, you can learn to better control your emotions and bring peace and harmony to your outer and inner lives.
This is but one reason yoga teacher training programs, like the ones offered by the Asheville Yoga Center, want their students to have a daily yoga practice before starting. When you’re thinking of becoming a yoga teacher, you need to be prepared to share the bliss with others. You need to teach from a centered, grounded place.
So what happens when you’re up in front of a class, and a student in the back row continually interrupts you? What do you do if you find your anger rising and your muscles tensing? Or what would happen if you find yourself attracted to one of your students to the point of distraction? What can you do? Call for a recess?
You Can Control Your Emotions
You can stay calm in the midst of chaos and learn how to control your emotions. Yoga helps drive your thoughts inward, to explore the rich, fertile soil there. Meditation, in fact, is an integral part of a yoga practice. It’s a technique used to learn more about yourself, including your emotional state. This is why most yoga teacher training programs require you to meditate when you’re in the process of becoming a yoga teacher. Meditation clears and calms the mind. It helps you integrate your many facets — the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual — into one cohesive whole. It also helps you stay grounded and in control. Being in control of yourself is like the difference between swimming and canoeing. If you’re struggling with a situation, you’re swimming in it. If you can remain calm in the midst of a situation, you’re paddling through it. You’re in it, but it’s not in you.
Becoming a Yoga Teacher Has Responsibilities
When you take on the responsibilities of leading a yoga class, it’s up to you to ensure the physical and emotional safety of your students. Furthermore, you have to use your position to move their practices forward, whether through alignment or instruction. You must, therefore, remain in control of your emotions at all times. You must be able to work with all kinds of people and stay focused. Becoming a yoga teacher is a serious endeavor. To master the skills, you have to learn not only the yoga poses and philosophies, but human anatomy and human psychology as well. When you lead a class, you must remain in control. Everyone is looking to you for guidance and expertise. Students want personal attention. Many will vie to be your favorite. You cannot afford to show favoritism or shower too much attention on any one student. You have to stay objective and detached — something you can’t do if your emotions get in the way.
What to Do If You Lose Control
Whenever you begin to feel yourself losing control, one trick is to focus on your breath. Your breath always follows your emotional state. When you’re angry, for example, your breath gets short and quick. On the other hand, when you’re calm, your breath is deep and slow. If you can slow your breath, you can abate your anger. You may learn other techniques when you’re becoming a yoga teacher. For example, pay particular attention to your emotions at the beginning of the class. Since yoga lowers your blood pressure during the course of a class, it will be highest at the start of class. If you enter a class collected and together, you’re more likely to remain in that state.
More Tips for Quieting Your Mind
Whether or not you’re becoming a yoga teacher, a regular meditation and yoga practice will go a long way to provide you with inner peace and harmony. Still, it’s not often easy to stay calm when you re-enter life off your mat. Things happen over which you have no control. So here are a few more tips to help you maintain that serenity no matter where you go:
• Eat healthy. For best results, try a vegetarian diet.
• Avoid garlic, onion and heavy spices, which can rile up the mind.
• Do breathing exercises (pranayama).
• Practice mindfulness all the time.
• Give of yourself. Selfless service can do wonders for your frame of mind.
When you are becoming a yoga teacher, your instructors may encourage you to “be yourself” when you lead a class while acting within respected boundaries. That means keeping your emotions in check.