In the midst of a busy schedule, sitting down on a mat and breathing may seem impractical. But for yogis, doing yoga helps center their minds, de-stress and find balance in their lives.
Various studies have shown that yoga is beneficial for health. People who practice yoga, or yogis, learn to control their breathing, which can help decrease stress and various other symptoms. Watch this short video to find out more about the science behind yoga:
English teacher Vennessa Nava practices yoga every day. In fact, she’s been trying to get a professional practitioners license for a few years. She’s already two thirds of the way there-- she’s taken a Sanskrit test and a course on instructing. The final step, the one she’s a bit more worried about, is having to create a lesson plan and teach it to a class of other yoga instructors and professionals. She hopes to finally get her license this spring. During OLE day, she likes to lead her English classes through a few yoga poses to help them relieve stress, but her current lack of a professional license keeps her from conducting classes for other students.
On Tuesdays during lunch, she holds an informal class for a handful of staff members who want to take a break from their work environment. They come wearing comfy clothes, carrying along rolled-up yoga mats.
During the 30 minute sessions, Nava leads the class through basic yoga sequences, like the Surya Namaskar, or sun salutation, but she also likes to challenge herself and the class.
“I change it up every week,” Nava said. “[I] just try to get creative and try different things.”
Yoga creates noticeable impacts in Nava’s life. After each session, she’s always relaxed and has a much calmer, more positive outlook on things that might bother her otherwise.
“It’s like a switch flipped in my brain,” Nava said. “I’m less prone to angry outbursts. If someone cuts in front of me on the road, I’m just like it’s okay, whatever, while I would otherwise get mad.”
Sophomores Kamya Krishnan and Nitya Kondapalli have also noticed the positive changes in their lives through yoga. Krishnan started yoga when she was very young at her parents’ insistence.
“It was something they believed was good for the mind and body,” Krishnan said.
Although she hated going to the classes at first, she began to find them relaxing. To Krishnan, practicing controlled breathing helps calm her impulses.
“Whenever I do it in the mornings, I feel more ready to do things,” Krishnan said. “It’s like a warm up lap for the rest of the day.”
Kondapalli started practicing yoga more recently, around two years ago, but her grandfather, who has written a book about the advantages of meditation and yoga, had been pushing her to do yoga for a long time.
“For a very long time, I was like ‘I’m not really into that’... and also, there’s like [a] stereotype about yoga,” Kondapalli said.
But when she started practicing yoga, she noticed that she felt more energized and calmer, and that it even helped her sleep better.
“I’m a really high energy person, and sometimes I just need to de-stress and be calm for a second,” Kondapalli said. “Yoga helps you do that.”
Learn how to do a basic yoga sequence below: