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Guiding Yoga's Light

Guiding Yoga's Light


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    Guiding Yoga's Light: Lessons for Yoga Teachers moves beyond the anatomical aspects of asanas to help instructors present the deeper concepts of yogic philosophy to their students and offer insight into the integration of yogic teachings into everyday life.

    Now in an updated, expanded edition, Guiding Yoga's Light presents 74 easy-to-follow, succinct lesson plans offering instruction in hatha yoga, including asana, pranayama, the yamas and niyamas, the chakras, creating mindfulness, and understanding emotions. The text also includes three new, teacher-requested chapters: Salutations in Motion, Lessons of the Heart Center, and Relaxation. For convenient reference, teachers and students can also refer to the vocabulary of Sanskrit pronunciations included in the glossary.

    Lesson plans progress from basic yogic concepts important for beginning students to more advanced material. Each lesson plan offers a written script for use in class. For beginning teachers, these scripts provide a helpful structure and set the stage for mindful yoga instruction. More advanced teachers may use these lessons and scripts as a creative departure point for expanding on the wellness effects of asana or focusing the day's practice. For ease of planning and organization, each lesson follows a six-part outline:

    -The intention provides the focus for the day's yoga class.

    -Approximate time offers the length of each lesson script to help yoga teachers manage class time.

    -The lesson embodies the essence of the day's teaching, which is expanded on in the following three sections.

    -Asanas for deepening illustrate and incoporate the lesson through body stretch, movement, and sensation.

    -Practice off the mat helps students integrate the lesson into their daily lives by providing an assignment, a reminder, or a discussion topic.

    -To end each lesson, wise words offer selected quotes, suggestions, or proverbs to remind students of the lesson as they engage in their practice outside the class.

    The text takes beginning students and teachers on a journey through the various aspects of yoga to understand the foundations of hatha practice. Beginning with basics of breathing, Guiding Yoga's Light progresses to the physical and spiritual philosophy of the asanas and salutations and ends with lessons to bring clarity, calmness, and relaxation into daily life.

    Guiding Yoga's Light: Lessons for Yoga Teachers interprets yoga's 5,000-year-old philosophy in an effort to inspire, delight, and empower yoga students to enrich their physical, emotional, and spiritual lives both on and off the mat. With each lesson, Guiding Yoga's Light demonstrates how the strength, balance, and stretching of the physical practice can inspire a healthy, complete, and joyous existence.


    As a reference for yoga teachers to expand their repertory of lessons beyond the physical aspects of the asanas in order to assist students in using yoga philosophy to enhance their physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

    As a guidebook for instructors interested in incorporating yoga postures and yogic philosophies into their clients' exercise programs to encourage healthier, more mindful lifestyle choices.

    As a reference tool for any student of yoga who wants to understand and incorporate the essence of the yogic lifestyle.

    Table of Contents

    Chapter 1: Beginning Lessons

    -First Class Facts

    -Learning Diaphragmatic Breathing

    -Benefits of Yoga

    -Softening the Edges

    -Body Tension

    -Lengthening the Exhalation

    -Defining Ha and Tha

    Chapter 2: Breathing Practices

    -Two-to-One Breathing

    -Three-Part Exhalation

    -Ujjayi Breath

    -Nadi Shodhana

    -Opening the Left Channel

    Chapter 3: Asana


    -Forward Bends




    -Asana and Acceptance

    -Asana and Peace

    Chapter 4: Salutations in Motion

    -Surya Namaskara

    -Chandra Namaskara

    -Star Salutation

    -Earth Salutation

    -Self Salutation

    Chapter 5: Prana

    -Holding on to Prana

    -Feeling the Flame

    -Prana and the Focused Mind

    -Storing Prana

    Chapter 6: Pranayama

    -What Is Pranayama?

    -Benefits of Pranayama

    -Working With Ha and Tha

    -Pranayama Practice for the Immune System

    Chapter 7: Yamas

    -Yama 1: Ahimsa

    -Yama 2: Satya

    -Yama 3: Asteya

    -Yama 4: Brahmacharya

    -Yama 5: Aparigraha

    Chapter 8: Niyamas

    -Niyama 1: Saucha

    -Niyama 2: Santosha

    -Niyama 3: Tapas

    -Niyama 4: Svadhyaya

    -Niyama 5: Ishvara Pranidhana

    Chapter 9: Emotions

    -Emotional Effects of Asana

    -Frustration in the Body

    -Embracing Change

    -The Only Constant Is Change


    -Letting Go


    Chapter 10: Mindfulness

    -Mindfulness: The Core of Practice

    -Paying Attention


    -Mindfulness of Gratitude

    -Holiday Gratitude

    -Mindful Eating

    -Setting an Intention

    Chapter 11: Chakras

    -Chakra 1: Muladhara

    -Chakra 2: Svadhisthana

    -Chakra 3: Manipura

    -Chakra 4: Anahata

    -Chakra 5: Visuddha

    -Chakra 6: Ajna

    -Chakra 7: Sahasrara

    -Chakras and the Five Tibetans

    Chapter 12: Lessons of the Heart Center

    -Anjali Mudra: Namaste

    -Seeds of Love

    -Expanding the Heart

    -Reversing Negative Emotion

    Chapter 13: Relaxation

    -Be a Corpse

    -Expanding the Light

    -Favorite Place

    -Dark Cloud

    -Journey Through the Chakras

    -Silent Chanting

    About the Author

    Nancy Gerstein has been a student of yoga for almost 30 years and a certified hatha yoga teacher with the Himalayan Institute of Yoga Philosophy and Science. Ms. Gerstein is also a reiki master practitioner and yoga therapist.

    As a workshop speaker and frequent contributor to Yoga Chicago Magazine, Gerstein shares her experience as a yoga teacher and student emphasizing the systematic integration of yogic philosophy into daily living, encouraging her students to take their yoga out of the classroom. She is a member of the Himalayan Institute Teachers Association (HITA), the International Association of Yoga Therapists, Midwest Yoga Teacher's Network, and Yoga Alliance.

    Ms. Gerstein resides in Morton Grove, Illinois. In her free time she enjoys hiking and traveling.

    For information on Ms. Gerstein's classes and workshops, visit or e-mail her at


    “Nancy's book is helpful for yoga teachers in planning their classes and
    for practitioners who want to have a class experience. Each lesson is
    complete with a focus, breathing techniques, selected asanas, yoga
    philosophy, words of wisdom, and other elements to provide a total yoga
    experience. I used it in my classes and my students loved it!”

    —Sharon Steffensen, Editor Yoga Chicago

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