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Take a deep breath in, and let it out. In and then out. Relax and begin. Start standing and then begin your position; extend up then dive down.
These are the words that junior Hollis Skrainski thinks about after she started doing yoga when she was 14 years old and now is addicted to it. “My mom always did yoga because she was always so anxious and I decided to try it with her,” Skrainski said. “And I was surprised to see how difficult it actually was.”
Yoga’s popularity has skyrocketed in the past few years and it is now a personal favorite to many. Yoga not only challenges the body physically, but mentally as well. “You have to connect your breath with each movement you make,” Skrainski said. “Yoga takes you out of the present moment and makes your focus solely on yourself, which is a struggle for many beginners. I couldn’t calm my head at first, but once I let go and focused, it became so soothing.”
Yoga is often recommended as a stress reliever or simply as a good, healthy workout. It is even said to be a type of medicine for many medical problems. The practice of yoga helps with all areas of life. When people are less stressed, they feel better and when revisiting the real world after a session of yoga, people generally feel more centered. “It helps you make better decisions during the day,” Skrainski said.
The basic principles of yoga are based on the idea that everyone’s body is made up of core muscles. Yoga does not involve any weights. Instead, participants learn to use their body weight to tone their muscles. Between balancing one’s body and mind and mastering the art of the complicated positions throughout the process, yoga can become quite the workout. “You end up sweating more than you’d think because of all the breathing techniques,” sophomore Jessica Almanza said.
Some of the first poses that yoga students will learn are “child’s pose” and “downward-facing dog.” As students progress they can learn poses such as “warrior” and “crow.” Of course, these are only a few examples of the many poses that exist in yoga. The poses can be manipulated so that beginners, experts and anyone in between can enjoy and reap the benefits of the exercise.
“A lot of people think yoga isn’t challenging because you don’t jump around the room, but they are wrong,” Skrainski said. “Personally, it’s my favorite type of exercise because it’s for your body and your mind. It tones your whole body and trains the brain to focus.”
Yoga is not about competition and thus encourages students to avoid comparing themselves to one another and allows them to work at their own skill level without fear of keeping up. Yoga’s mission is to help students obtain personal goals. Poses can continue to become more difficult as a student becomes stronger and more confident. “I love yoga because you get the meditation and relaxation part, as well as a total body workout all in one,” junior Ally Orlando said.
For more information on yoga classes offered at QU, go to quinnipiac.edu or Blackboard for schedules and literature.