Why you should try yoga

Elliotte Schroeder, Editor

Downward dog, pigeon pose, warrior II,- while you may not know exactly what these look like, the average person can likely recognize that these are yoga poses. Yoga has surged in popularity throughout the past few years, with a 50% growth rate from 2012 to 2016 according to a survey conducted by the Yoga Alliance and Yoga Journal. You’ve probably heard that yoga is great for you since it’s super relaxing and a great way to improve flexibility. But maybe it still seems a little intimidating. The good news is that everyone can do yoga. 

Originating over 5,000 years ago in a small Indian civilization, yoga didn’t become popular in the West until 1947 thanks to Indra Devi. Devi was an actress who visited India in her twenties and ended up becoming a movie star. Later she came to the United States and became known for bringing yoga to Hollywood. Her teachings started what we know today as modern yoga, or yoga for exercise and stress relief. 

But besides exercise and stress relief, there are many other benefits from yoga. Johns Hopkins Medicine reported that yoga can help those with chronic conditions and post-surgery patients as a form of physical therapy. Some possible outcomes include improved back and joint pain as well as heart health. Practicing yoga naturally helps your body reduce inflammation which can also help with injury prevention. These benefits can especially be great for athletes who train and perform often. Osteopathic physician and yoga instructor Natalie Nevins said, “The purpose of yoga is to build strength, awareness, and harmony in both the mind and body.”

Yoga isn’t just a physical process, but also mental. Having a designated time to relax and breathe is why many people enjoy yoga. Fruita senior Shianna Casey noticed that yoga gave her a lot of mental clarity. “It just makes you forget anything stressing you out, and makes you more confident in addressing obstacles.” 

She recommended anyone to take a yoga class, especially for those who may struggle with anxiety and depression. Another benefit of yoga is the social aspect. It’s a great activity to try with friends since you don’t need any specific requirements. Morgan McNair, another Fruita student said, “One thing I really enjoy about yoga is all of the encouragement from others, especially during hot yoga. The instructors always help when you need readjustments which helps you get the most out of it.” Yoga is very individualized so you can focus on your personal growth. Morgan, although somewhat new to yoga, is confident through her practice. “I have a long way to go but it’s a very relaxing yet replenishing activity. 

Clearly yoga seems like an enjoyable activity to get involved in and begin practicing. So how does one start? Memberships can be pricey, but many studios offer discounts for students. Here locally, Half Moon Yoga offers free classes to students and Yoga V offers a 10% discount on different membership plans. There are also a lot of classes to follow along to online. Many workout influencers on Youtube have quick yoga routines that are easy to squeeze into a busy schedule. 

While the idea of bending yourself like a pretzel and moving around in a sauna like environment may intimidate you, yoga is worth a shot. With physical and mental benefits galore, trying a class at a local studio could change your life forever. And you may just develop a new hobby to do with friends!