Why You Should Take Yoga as Your FRA
Do you want more mental clarity in your life? Do you often find yourself feeling stressed, restless, or tense in your body? What if I told you there is a way to build a weekly mindfulness practice into your schedule and receive academic credit for it?
I took yoga as my fitness recreation activity last fall and I’m still reaping the benefits from it today. At first, I was skeptical about how hard the class would be and confused about the hatha yoga concepts that my teacher incorporated into the course. But after the first few days, I realized that the yoga poses we did were very gentle. The poses were meant to make you feel good while improving your flexibility and draining tension from the body. The breathing, movement, and mindfulness we engaged in all worked together to bring me back in touch with my body and the present moment. Hatha Yoga made me realize that slowing down to check in with my mind and body can provide many health benefits.
Benefit 1: Yoga helps you get in touch with your body.
As students, we sit at a desk for hours every day in class which can cause a lot of tension in the shoulders, back, and neck. After the first few weeks of my yoga class, my muscles became loose and relaxed and my body felt light. I released tension in my body that I hadn’t even realized was there until it was gone. Above all, I grew more connected with my body and paid attention to I physically felt throughout the day. I also began to look forward to the way yoga made me feel.
Benefit 2: Yoga helps you manage stress.
During my yoga class, we did about forty-five minutes of yoga poses and stretches. After that we laid down on our mats and did yoga nidra. The goal of yoga nidra is to achieve a state between being asleep and being awake; the aim is to disrupt anxious patterns of thoughts and refocus one’s attention on the present moment. In order to try to get ourselves into this state, our instructor led us through guided meditations. Yoga nidra helped me to slow down, become aware of my breathing and internal state, and to calm my mind. I was surprised about what a positive influence such a basic mindfulness practice had on my mental health over time. Within the first month of being in yoga, I began to notice that I felt more clearheaded and less stressed. Having a built-in time to decompress and to simply be is super beneficial— especially for busy and, let’s face it: stressed-out college students.
Benefit 3: Yoga improves your flexibility.
This probably goes without saying, but regularly practiving yoga loosens tight muscles and can significantly improve your flexibility. For athletes in particular, this improved flexibility can help prevent injuries. Besides, your body feels so much better after a good stretch— trust me!
There are a lot of cool fitness recreation activities you can take at SU. Some will make you stronger, some will teach you a new sport, but yoga most effectively helps you to manage your stress and to feel more comfortable in your body. Hatha Yoga is taught by Karin Taylor who is a Certified Yoga Teacher, a ACE Certified Personal Trainer, and ACE Certified Mind Body Specialist. The course is usually offered Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:30am, 1:00pm, and 2:30pm.
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