Column: Yoga can be beneficial for your health

Maria Baldwin, Assistant Sports Editor

I fell in love with yoga, and I’m never looking back.

I had never tried it until this year, and now I can’t get enough of the way it makes my body, especially my back, feel.

Like I said, I had never tried it before until this year when one of my close friends was discussing with my coach about it while we were running.

I was going to live with that close friend during the summer, so when I moved in to her house we scheduled a day that would work best for us to do it each week.

I immediately noticed the difference in my back and my flexibility.

Like any ecstatic exercise freak, I continued noticing the benefits of yoga, and what I felt made me want to keep at it for the rest of my life.

I noticed an immediate correction in my posture based on many different yoga exercises I was doing that were quite simple to master, such as the bridge pose, cat pose, bound angle pose, and upward and downward facing dog poses.

Not only did these poses aid in my posture, I noticed that it was easier to keep better posture because of the way they strengthened my back muscles.

As a runner, I’ve been noticing back pain, and my athletic trainer found that I have weak back muscles.

Since I’ve been doing yoga strengthening exercises with these positions, I’ve experienced much less pain and I can breathe easier!

My oxygen intake has doubled since I’ve started, and I can feel myself taking more air in as I am running.

More health benefits I noticed were in my mind.

My stress levels plummeted when I took fifteen minutes every day to stretch and focus on the quiet. Relaxation, I later found out, also increases blood flow and boosts immunity.

For this reason, many people who do yoga, or, as they are called, “yogis,” experience themselves feeling more ready to conquer their day with more blood being sent to their brains.

I’ve definitely found this to be true. If I spend fifteen minutes doing yoga before studying, I feel much more levelheaded and focused.

Other reasons to try yoga are that they drop your blood pressure and blood sugar, promote a healthy lifestyle, and regulate your adrenal glands.

Have I convinced you to try it yet?

If so, here’s some poses that are simple and easy to do.

To strengthen your back, try first standing in the bound angle pose. Start by sitting down and crossing your legs in front of you, ‘Indian style,’ if you will. Relax your hands on your knees and focus on lifting your chest up and straightening your back. This will promote a good posture as well.

If you would like to get in a good full-body stretch, try the upward facing dog into the cat pose.

Start by laying down on the ground on your stomach. Plant the palms of your hands on the ground and slowly raise your upper body off the ground, bending and elongating your spine. After you’ve done upward facing dog for about fifteen seconds or so, lift your spine and plant your knees into the ground, uplifting your back as you do so.

I’m sure my descriptions are somewhat misleading, as I am not a yoga expert, so you can always look up the positions online.

The benefits of yoga are lifelong, and anyone of any age can try it.

It’s definitely worth a try, relax for awhile! Who knows? Maybe you will become a yogi to!

Maria Baldwin is a sophomore mass communications and public relations major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].