Yoga: Evoke a New You

Taigan Anderson

Do you hate exercise because you feel like you are “dying” from exhaustion? Many find it easy to be deterred from exercise due to the pain/effort factor. A solution to this problem is to try yoga. Yoga finds the line between relaxation and challenge, allowing you to build strength and confidence that will change your life.

Self-Esteem Affects More Than What Meets the Eye

Benefits such as increased endurance and strength are both essential for any fitness goal. Harvard Health researched how much impact yoga has on a person’s fitness, and they found, “After eight weeks of practicing yoga at least twice a week for a total of 180 minutes, participants had greater muscle strength and endurance, flexibility and cardio-respiratory fitness.” For this reason, yoga pairs well with other activities such as running or weight lifting.

However, what is more important than endurance and strength is a stable mental health that allows a person to follow a sustainable schedule. Harvard Health states people who practiced yoga were “…more satisfied with and less critical of their bodies. For these reasons, yoga has become an integral part in the treatment of eating disorders and programs that promote positive body image and self-esteem.” One of the main factors that can help a person improve their self-esteem is not the focus on making a body look a certain way, but the emotional benefits you gain from fitness. 

Do you feel self-conscious going to a public area to exercise? Try yoga at home or at a studio because, “Yoga studios typically don’t have mirrors. This is so people can focus their awareness inward rather than how a pose — or the people around them — looks.” according to Harvard Health. Focusing on how your body feels, and or benefits from yoga will help a person work through negative opinions on their body. With newfound confidence, yoga will allow a person to feel comfortable and will open new doorways such as going to the gym.

Achieving Goals in a Sustainable Way:

Yoga will help a person build-up to their goals without overwhelming them from the start. Ms. Rogosheske, a Phy. Ed teacher at SPASH that includes a yoga unit in her curriculum, goes on to express, “After a flow, I often feel muscularly tired, but physically and mentally energized. The lengthening and opening that happens in joints and muscles is phenomenal, and spending that time in a state of equanimity is good for the mind and soul…I always feel refreshed and ready to take on whatever comes next with a calm, focused, energy. “ Unlike other exercise outlets for beginners, Yoga gives a person energy without overtiring them. A person new to an exercise routine may make the mistake of over-exercising and causing them to “burn out.” “Burn out” is when a person is over-exercising and not resting enough, causing a physical and mental strain that forces an end to a fitness goal. A Yoga practice will prevent “burn-out” by slowly and sustainably increasing a “…person’s exercise capacity.” according to Harvard Health.

Poses You Should Try:

Child’s pose is my favorite pose because it helps decompress your neck and shoulders after a long day at work/school. Usually, this pose is used as a moment for rest after a vinyasa. (Vinyasa is the name of a series of poses in yoga that are repeated.) You can also widen your knees for a hip stretch. The beauty of yoga is the versatility that each pose provides.

To Do Child’s Pose: Sit with knees on floor and untuck feet. Lay onto your knees and stretch out your arms in front of you.

Many poses, such as the triangle pose, stretch the whole body. This saves time for the participants but also helps them practice balance.

To Do Triangle Pose: Put one foot in front of the other and reach down with your adjacent hand. The back foot does not need to have the heel on the floor, however, make sure you are still powering through the leg. Try to send the hip which leg is forward back.

If you struggle with arm strength, you can keep your knees on the floor and work from there. Furthermore, poses like the staff pose allows you to build strength. With this strength, you can try inversions (handstands).

To Do Staff Pose: Start in a high plank then slowly push yourself down. Try to keep the elbows in by your ribs and keep bending arms until you get to 90 degrees.

Find an Instructor:

Trying Yoga will change your life for the better. Even if you are not the most patient person, there are plenty of different variations of practices that can be curated to what you prefer. Once you find an instructor you like, it becomes much easier to stick to a schedule and enjoy it. Some instructors I recommend are Dedica, Cat Meffan, Alo Yoga, and Yoga with Adriene. With a schedule, you will build confidence, endurance, and flexibility. Finally, there are plenty of online classes if you do not have access to an in-person studio.