What is yoga?
Yoga is a Hindu spiritual, mental, and physical practice used to discipline the mind and body. During the practice, you focus on mastering postures that increase your flexibility and strength, while focusing on your breath and the placement of your energy. The origin of the world-respected practice dates back thousands of years in India.
The ultimate goal of yoga, besides the physical aspect, is to encourage a more positive, peaceful, and accepting state of mind.
Yoga teachers encourage self love, love of others, serenity, and mostly gratitude for our healthy bodies. Yoga instructors guide their students into living a better day to day life, and motivate students to handle conflicts with a peaceful state of mind.
My introduction to yoga:
I used to live in Santa Monica, where my dad would drag me along to his 1 hour hot yoga class and make me sit and watch him. I was 10 years old, so I didn’t have much of a choice.
All I could think about while waiting for the class to be over was the Pinkberry yogurt he was going to buy me after. Little did I know at the time, I was attending one of the best yoga classes in California, taught by Bryan Kest.
Since I was young, I have watched both my mom and dad do yoga and honestly, it seemed really boring. When my mom signed me up to an Equinox Gym, she made me promise that I would try a yoga class with her. She insisted that I would love it, and since I wanted her to pay for my membership, I agreed to try one class.
I went into the class thinking “I’m so athletic. I play volleyball and soccer on a team and I am constantly running miles. This isn’t a real workout, this is going to be too easy for me.”
To my surprise, my 15 year old self struggled quite a bit in that class. I realized that although I was super active and in shape, I was not in touch with my breathing or my flexibility. I never took time to feel my body and focus my energy on my smaller muscles and the places with more tension. I was always go go go, but never took a step back and let my body tell me what doesn’t feel right.
Needless to say, I fell in love with yoga after my body was sore in places I had never felt before. Although I hate to admit that my mom was right, yoga is now an essential part to my wellbeing.
(Photo not mine)
My schedule recently got so busy with traveling that I haven’t been able to do yoga for a month. It took a big toll on my body and I feel tension all through my back and neck since. I don’t feel as flexible when I’m not doing yoga regularly and I have actually developed pain in my lower back from bad posture and always being in high heels.
If you are still skeptical about trying a class, do your research. Until then, here are some of the reasons why I love yoga:
Yoga teaches you how to increase the flow of oxygen while in challenging positions. I can’t count how many times yoga instructors remind you to focus on your breathing throughout the class. The reason why they repeat this is because they want you to find peace in positions that may be challenging or slightly uncomfortable.
It is proven that exercise before bedtime improves sleep. But “vinyasa flow” brings tremendous mind and body relaxation.
Yoga helps anxiety, depression, fatigue, asthma and insomnia. The movements and postures are meant to relieve the physical effects and aches of stress.
You will be shocked to see how much the tiny movements in yoga will make you sweat. You will be out of breath at times, especially if you want to try a hot yoga class where the room is heated to 110 degrees F.
I have bad posture. Having larger breasts, being tall, and a teenager are all factors that go against good posture.