Discovering Yoga

yoga3 Looking for something to ease the stress of new classes, tests, and homework? Yoga just might be the cure many students are looking for. With yoga studios popping up everywhere and classes being offered in many campuses across the country, it’s no wonder students are using yoga as their go-to exercise and stress relief activity. The ubiquitous feel of this mind, body, soul exercise can be intimidating when getting started, but with patience and practice, the challenge of yoga seems a little less daunting. Here are some popular yoga styles that can be found at most studios.

  • Hot yoga: This type of yoga incorporates heat up to 100 degrees and the postures are intended to maximize sweat production. It’s not for everyone, as the extreme temperatures can sometimes cause dizziness, headache, confusion, and fainting. Beginners should bring water and be conscious of how they feel throughout the session. The class leaves yogis feeling refreshed, both mentally, and physically, as they sweat out the stresses of the day.
  • Vinyasa: This term is an overarching yoga word for classes that combine a series of flowing postures with rhythmic breathing. This type of yoga is typically moderately paced, and allows the yogi to progress in mental and physical flexibility, covering similar movements that get more difficult as the classes progress.
  • Bikram: This type of yoga allows the yogi to take a mental journey, as the climate of the class is designed to replicate that of India. This is similar to hot yoga in that new students should start slowly and bring plenty of water to hydrate throughout the class. Yogis will work through 26 traditional postures that demonstrate the proper function and movement of each body part.
  • Hatha: This is a general word for a blend of different styles of yoga. Hatha is a mixed bag of postures, speed, and difficulty; so make sure to ask the instructor for more information before beginning the class.

There is not a particular style that beginners should start with, but they should be conscious of the classes set ability level. Most studios will indicate whether the classes are for novices or yogis of a more advanced level. Yoga is a mental experience that serves as a refresher and an opportunity to meditate. For this reason, there is certain etiquette associated with this ancient practice. Here are some tips to blend in at the first class.

  • Enter the room quietly
  • Choose a spot that is comfortable- there will not be a chance to move once the class is started
  • No one will notice the difference between a $2 Meijer mat or a $50 Lululemon mat
  • No one will acknowledge a difference in proper yoga attire or a high school gym shirt
  • Bring water and don’t be afraid to take a break
  • Some postures can feel awkward or silly the first couple times but try not to laugh or make unnecessary noise

If you want to try yoga, check with the campus recreation center to see if yoga classes are offered. The recreation center fee is often built into tuition cost and typically offers fitness classes. If not, unfortunately, yoga can get expensive, so it is a good idea to price different studios to find the best fit. Many yoga studios provide special discounts to college students in order to make classes more affordable. Whether it is a method to release some tension, a new form of fitness, or just a time for mental silence, there is much to gain from yoga. Gaining flexibility and strength in the body and mind is rewarding at any level and with the stresses that are associated with college, yoga just might come as relief.

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