Yoga Is it For You?
By Jillian Bietz
“Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day to day life and endows skill in the performance of one’s actions.”- B.K.S. Iyengar
What do you think when you hear the word “yoga”? Perhaps you see it as a trendy exercise fad (influenced by paparazzi photos of movie stars with a rolled yoga mat in one arm, large latte in the other), a religion, or something only for those who can twist themselves into spandex-clad human pretzels.
These are all common misconceptions.
Although Yoga gained popularity in the West in the 1900’s, it’s estimated that forms of Yoga have been practiced for thousands of years. Yoga has been proven to be beneficial both physically and psychologically, and is practiced by over 15 million people. When most people think of yoga, they are thinking of the physical practice. However, there is much more to it. In fact, physical practice is just a portion of yoga. In Sanskrit, the word yoga means “union.” Yoga strives to create a union between the mind and the body through poses (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), and philosophy concepts in order to create a healthy lifestyle, individual harmony and awareness.
So don’t be afraid to do a yoga sequence via YouTube, or sign up for a class. Yoga is for people of all shapes, sizes, and abilities. You don’t need to be super agile or wear $100 leggings! All you need is the desire to learn more about yourself.
Although there are a variety of different yoga styles, here is a short list of some popular styles:
Ashtanga: Ashtanga yoga is one of the most cardio-type yoga styles. It focuses on repetitive sequencing and can be a vigorous practice, much like “power” yoga.
Hatha: Hatha yoga is one of the most classical styles. A hatha class focuses on postures and breathing. Hatha yoga is the most commonly practiced.
Iyengar Yoga: Iyengar yoga requires the use of props such as blocks and straps to get the body into ideal alignment. It is precise and focuses on correctly achieving poses.
Kundalini: Kundalini yoga is mostly concerned with the breath’s connections in various poses. It may also include chanting and meditations.
Restorative: Restorative yoga is just that-it deals with poses that are relaxing and cleansing. It is low-key, and can be beneficial for those with injuries.
Bikram: Bikram yoga is a strenuous practice. As a Bikram yoga classroom is often heated, it is a sweat-inducing, intense type of yoga.
So whether college applications are stressing you out or you just want to try something new, look into yoga. It just might surprise you!