THE MUSE

BENEFITS OF YOGA

Graphic by Jenevieve Norton

Graphic by Jenevieve Norton

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Many partake in exercise trends that come and go from aerobics, ballet, to kickboxing. Like most trends, these exercises have their moment in the spotlight before fading into the back of the minds of the athletically-driven. Yoga, however, was popularized in the 1980s and has yet to be added to the collection of lost fads.

Most of yoga’s popularity can be attributed to the many benefits that one gets when enduring the exercise. Current popular exercises tend to focus on only one area of the body; for instance, weight training focuses on toning up, biking strengthens calves, and aerobics increases agility.  Yoga accomplishes more than the surface level. According to the American Osteopathic Association, yoga “improves blood circulation, lung health, and prevents joint breakdown.”

The significant factor that sets yoga apart from other forms of exercise is its mental and emotional benefits.  Yoga incorporates meditation and breathing exercises, in turn, it can help reduce stress and act as a sleep inducer In fact, many professionals recommend yoga for those struggling with anxiety and depression.

“Yoga is a great stress reliever for me,” dance junior Barbara Monteiro said. “It allows me to focus on myself in the present moment, and it allows me to release any of my negative thoughts.”

Yoga is also one of the easiest forms of exercise for beginners.  Many effective workouts require advanced, often expensive, equipment like weights or machines.  By utilizing YouTube’s thousands of tutorials and session videos, yoga becomes a unique and on-the-go exercise that can be done just about anywhere.  Even the yoga mat, while recommended, is optional. These numerous elements make yoga one of the easiest exercises to begin, especially high school students trying to juggle their busy schedules.

“Junior year has been tough for me mentally,” Monteiro said. “Yoga has taught me to have peace of mind over things I can’t change.”

Though allocating time to exercise between studying and extracurriculars can be difficult, yoga is one of the simplest ways to exercise while simultaneously de-stressing. Yoga’s numerous benefits and easy going nature provides something for everyone to enjoy.

Below are some basic yoga poses to help you get started:

 

Photo Illustration by Sydney Webb
Plank Pose – Plank pose is one of the easiest yoga poses, making it one of the most popular. According to YogaOutlet its benefits includes toning the core muscles and strengthening the arms and legs. Because it is so simple, it is usually used as a warm-up got the harder poses that follow.

 

Photo Illustration by Sydney Webb
Three Legged Dog Pose – The downward dog is one of the most iconic yoga poses, because of this there have been many variations. This particular variation, according to YogaOutlet, opens your hips and ribs while still building strength in the upper body and helping with stress relief. It also stretches the whole body, making it another good warm up pose.

 

Photo Illustration by Sydney Webb
Tree Pose – Tree pose is another recognizable yoga position, it is also one of the oldest poses. It is the standing variation of the original meditative pose. Its main benefit is improving balance, but according to YogaOutlet it can also build strength in the ankles and tone the abdomen.

 

Photo Illustration by Sydney Webb
Warrior II Pose – In Hindi the warrior pose is named after the Hindu warrior Virabhadra, who was an incarnation of the Hindu god Shiva. According to YogaOutlet, Warrior II stimulates healthier digestion as well as the general toning of the body. Since it opens the chest and shoulders, it is said to relieve backaches.

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BENEFITS OF YOGA