Yoga Lessons Burlington VT
South Burlington, VT
Poses for Poise
By Jennifer Derryberry Mann
Whether you’re giving a speech, interviewing for your dream job, or having coffee face-to-face with your eHarmony find, being on the spot has a way of draining your self-confidence. Suddenly your mind goes blank and your palms start to sweat. You can hear yourself rambling on, voice quivering, never quite making your point, but terrified of stopping.
Yoga, done with the right intent, can help manage the emotional snafus we sometimes find ourselves in when we’re the center of someone else’s attention. With conscious breathing and focused movement, your innate confidence, grace, and poise will always shine through—no matter what kind of situation you’re in.
But don’t think of yoga as a quick fix that will end your jitters forever. “Yoga is an entire healing methodology,” says Bija Bennett, author of Emotional Yoga: How the Body Can Heal the Mind (Simon & Schuster, 2002). “Our body and our minds are intimately intertwined. When we alter our thinking about emotion, we alter our physical state. When we change our physical state, we change our emotional state.”
The sustained practice of yoga poses (asanas) and breath work (pranayama) puts you in touch with an ideal emotional state, one where you’re calm, present, alert, and nonreactive, says Gary Kraftsow, founder of the American Viniyoga Institute. “The more you know that as your natural state,” he says, “the more you’ll recognize when you’re not there.”
Viniyoga draws on the teachings of T. Krishnamacharya and his son T.K.V. Desikachar of Madras, India. Krishnamacharya, often considered the inspiration for modern yoga, presented yoga as something beneficial for the general public, not just for an elite few. In the 1930s and ’40s, this was radical, as yoga was previously thought of as a practice appropriate just for male spiritual renunciants. Bennett, a student of Desikachar’s and Kraftsow’s, integrates their philosophy of an individual-specific practice into her work as a Viniyoga therapist. She explains, “If someone comes to me for yoga therapy and she is out of breath and all hyped up, I’m not putting her in meditation right away. She may need to run around the block first” to burn off some of that excess energy. She uses the tools of yoga to match her students’ energetic state before helping them change it.
The Viniyoga practice of letting the breath initiate each movement allows a student to notice the connection between her mind and her body. “Our emotions are so honest. Sometimes you just have to sit with the feelings in your body, even if they’re painful,” says Bennett. “I call it profound attunement. You realize it’s not ‘I feel bad because’, but just ‘I feel bad.’”
To help you become aware of what you’re feeling and then transition into the emotional state you’d prefer to be in, Bennett offers a short sequence of poses. Set an intention for each pose by using a mantra—a word or two you can synchronize with your breath and your movements to help you s...
Author: Jennifer Derryberry Mann
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