Get ready, I am about to turn into the real preachy-hippy-type. But just for a second. I feel almost obligated when this one simple practice has been able to renew my body and mind. Okay, maybe not completely renew my body, I really am not old yet, my body did not really need renewing, but hear me out.
What was the only thing that could get me out of bed at 7:30 a.m. once a week (the earliest I ever have to regularly wake up)? Yoga. It seems like lately doing yoga has become a fad that will soon fade away to be replaced with the next new craze. So will yoga soon be in our memories the same way that gauchos and bell-bottoms are? I thought so at first, but I’m not so sure anymore.
I can remember my freshman year talking with one of my peers. The topic of yoga came up. He said that he took a yoga class in high school and it was the best semester of his life. He didn’t quite remember why he had quit; not enough time, he figured. I laughed and didn’t think much of it until this year (my sophomore year) when I started taking yoga classes.
My first few classes were nice, but when it started to become a routine part of my life, I really started to reap the benefits. I always went to class with one of my best friends, and I began to even become friends with my instructor. Their positive presence encouraged me to wake up every Wednesday morning at 7:30 for the whole semester.
I began to realize why I actually liked yoga so much, besides the good company, of course: it is all about me. And for you, it is all about you. Even though many claim that we live in a self-centered society, I would argue that our society is not positively self-centered. We are obsessed with criticizing ourselves and comparing ourselves to others; we dedicate too much of our negative energy, and not enough of our positive energy towards ourselves. yoga isn’t competitive (and I am just about the least competitive person out there), it is all focused on self-improvement and empowerment.
The first time I did the bird of paradise pose, I felt a positive rush run through me, as I was impressed by what my body was capable of when given the right prompting. Right now I am in the midst of conquering the “crow” pose. It doesn’t matter how well the others in my class are doing with the pose, but instead what matters is the improvement I make each week. I am focused on myself and trying to utilize all the capabilities my body truly has.
There is only one wrong way to do a pose: if it hurts your body. The instructor always reminds her "yogis" that if the current pose is painful, to modify it to what feels better. Moreover, you always have the option to come back into child’s pose in the middle of a session to refresh. It is so important to listen to what your body is telling you to ultimately create a connection between your mind and your body. Beyond that, we hold a great deal of our stress, physically, in our bodies. The poses, stretches and exercises in Yoga help release this stress from your muscles. This, combined with the meditation period at the end of each class allows both my mind and body to release these stresses.Yoga. I don’t think I am wrong when I say this fad is more than a fad. Our society needs an outlet for personal positivity and growth. Yoga is an easy and cheap way to make this happen. Regardless of its connotations as a fad, try it. Try it. Don’t knock it till you try it.