July 15th, 2016
By Sophia Petrangelo
When I started my freshman year of college, I began taking yoga classes with other college students at the shiny, new student athletic center. It not only seemed like a good excuse to stock up on trendy yoga gear, but would be a great and productive escape from spending downtime in between classes on Netflix. The classic, and redundant “I will work out tomorrow” and the “gosh, I’m so exhausted after the exam, maybe later” always won out in the end, so I needed a new plan of action to stay healthy and fight off the infamous freshman fifteen. So far yoga has been a fun, productive social outlet to meet new people, take a break from homework, and exercise. However, I soon realized that there was so much more to practicing yoga than wearing cute attire and striving after toned arms.
Look Inward (huge cliche, I know…)
I learned that a large part of my yoga practice is looking inward. What do I even mean by this? For starters, this vague and cliche sounding statement came into shape as the goals I set for myself when practicing yoga developed. Setting boundaries with myself when completing a yoga class, my goal evolved from being able to hit all the hard poses spot on to focusing inward on my breath and what my body needed in the present moment. My perspective moved away from a sphere of looks and ability to a paradigmn of awarness and health. Ironically, over time I have found that by focusing inward I have slowly but surely improved and have become a better yogi in ability.
Stay in the present moment and breathe!
Hatha yoga class is one class that I took this past semester. Hatha is a general label that applies to any kind of practice that teaches yoga postures. Usually used as an introductory class, it moves at a meditative pace and focuses on holding poses for longer periods of time. One hour of complete focus and awareness of my body, self and mind is so refreshing mentally for a busy college student. I have never left a Hatha class breaking an intense sweat and gulping down ice water, but I always leave refreshed, loose, and relaxed, which is what I love about it! Over the school year I spend a significant amount of the day sitting down in the classroom or in the library. The gentle practice of Hatha yoga would loosen up all my tight muscles and would provide a gentle reminder to stay grounded in the present moment when it seemed as though there was so much going on off of the yoga mat.
FUN, FUN, FUN!
Yoga instructors, yoga studios, and yoga outfitting stores have collaborated to create a beautiful, appealing and fun yoga culture. So many people sport “athleisure” and dress in yoga attire brand names as everyday garb when they generally do not practice yoga. Furthermore, when scrolling through social media or driving on the highway I usually see eye catching ads and artistic promotions that contribute to a perception of beauty, fun, and health. Besides taking Hatha classes while at school, I also took some different yoga classes branded ‘Power Yoga’ and ‘Yoga Sculpt.’ These are the classes where the fun element of yoga really kicked in. In these classes we would flow through vinyasa series to the familiar and popular songs of Ed Sheeran and the Lumineers. The high energy music carries you through the final seconds of long held poses and challenging vinyasa sequences. In Yoga Sculpt we use props such as weights and straps to inforce stretches and muscle strengthening. These upbeat, high- energy classes were hardcore and such a FUN way to be active.
All in all I am so glad that I decided to join yoga class as an incoming freshman at college. I have learned so much about staying healthy and continue to look forward to my weekly yoga classes. Namaste.
Categorized in: Health