Yoga for the Mind, Body, and Soul
It’s the last week of the semester and you can feel the stress in the air. On top of final tests, professors ask for 10 page co-authored research papers and half a soul-worth of presentations. You might be spending more time sitting down in a stuffy room and crouching over like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Alright, that might be too accurate, but I come from a place of understanding when I say: Yoga allows you to clear your mind, cope with stress, and have a good night's rest.
Mental health is important from the moment we gain consciousness of the world. As students, heavy workloads get the best of us. Yoga allows us to be in control of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Whether we are in our early 20’s, or navigating high school hallways, people around us and on social media bombard us with negative social influences, including the “pressure to always be online and available.” (Fronteir’s Psychiatry, ,2020) Since yoga requires a sense of self-control, we learn how to regulate our own emotions before others, thus benefiting interpersonal relationships and issues within yourself. We’ve all been there: constantly comparing ourselves to models on Instagram, being popular at school, or getting into your dream college.
Choosing the right yoga routine boils down to what you enjoy doing. Do you like high-intensity workouts? Would you rather a calm, focused routine? Read below to find out!
Ashtanga Vinyasa vs Anusara Yoga:
Ashtanga is a more rigorous type of yoga. You must perform the same poses, or asanas, in the exact same order, whereas Anusara prefers opening your hearts and experiencing your intrinsic goodness. Ashtanga focuses on moving the practitioner at their own pace. Since this idea is a more spiritual practice, I would recommend either routines to beginners.
This style of yoga is much slower, and beginner friendly. It consists of meditation, usually at the end of class, and controlled, static poses. Often, the teacher will guide your breathing, also referred to as pranayama. This style focuses on relieving tension and stress, making it perfect for those who have busy lifestyles.
This is a form of hot yoga with incredibly strict rules. Much like Ashtanga, Bikram practitioners must perform the same poses in the same order, but with a few added rules. The room must be 105 degrees Fahrenheit and 50 percent humidified in order to detoxify the body. Each lesson must contain 26 postures and two breathing exercises, which takes 90 minutes in total. If you do decide to do this, make sure you bring an extra pair of clothes and prepare to sweat buckets!
Final Notes: If you look online, there’s endless yoga styles! Don’t let the amount of variety stress you out, find a general style that you can vibe with and work from there.