There is More to Yoga Than Finding ‘Zen’

When one thinks of yoga, they tend to think of middle aged upperclass women using this as an excuse for a workout. It is difficult to understand that yoga actually does benefit the body mentally and physical when it merely looks like pre-stretches that most sports would do. This common misconception has made many believe that yoga is simply the latest trend, but it is in fact one of the best allaround workouts in today’s world.

Sophomore and yoga enthusiast, Becca Zidik, explains why yoga is truly the best overall body and mental workout one can find. “Yoga promotes the blood flow throughout the body, which increases the transportation of minerals and vitamins within the body. It circulates oxygen to throughout the body as well. This can help lower blood pressure, increase your immunity, help with pain, and relieve many stresses of life. It also is a great way to increase your strength, enhance your posture, and lose weight,” Zidik noted.

Professor Shannon Hokanson of Monmouth’s Communication Department has been involved with yoga for nearly 15 years and has created her own opinion on why yoga is great. “Some benefits of yoga include stress management as well as physical fitness. For some folks, it helps them enact a non-spiritual individuality connection with the divine. Even if one is not after that goal, they can do yoga to relax both their mind and body.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are many different forms of yoga. The beginner’s form is hatha yoga while the more advanced ones are ashtanga and lyengar. Two more noteworthy yoga forms are bikram which is performed in a warm room and kundalini which centers around chants as well as meditation. The Mayo Clinic supports yoga as a form of exercise by stating, “The potential health benefits of yoga are numerous and may include: stress reduction, increased fitness, management of chronic health conditions, and weight loss.” claims, “Many of the poses build upper-body strength. This becomes crucial as people age. The standing poses, especially if you hold them for several long breaths, build strength in your hamstrings, quadriceps, and abdominal muscles. When practiced correctly, nearly all poses build core strength in the deep abdominal muscles.”

Even though many may still view yoga as merely stretches, it goes much deeper than that. Yoga has been proven to enhance mentality and emotional structure as well as strength for people at any age. Zidik adds “Yoga is my mood regulator and it helps with my sleeping patterns.”

For Hokanson, yoga has always been a way to keep her own her feet. “It keeps me grounded,” Hokanson said. “It helps connect with the true self and lets you move past all the chaos in life. It helps you to find you’re always still, always quiet, always calm side.”

Just like any other activity, yoga does include some precautions. If suffering from a bad back or neck strains, yoga will not be the best choice of workout since it does involve much flexibility. While yoga may injure a select few, this is mainly because those selected few may have pre-existing medical conditions. Otherwise, yoga is meant to aid every ounce of one’s body and to better the body in order to avoid harm.

If you or your friends are interested in pursuing yoga, you can try out Elevate Yoga located in Hazlet, New Jersey where Professor Hokanson teaches a class at 9 am on Sunday’s.

With all the chaos and strains in a college student’s life, yoga may be the perfect prescription to decrease stress especially this close to the end of the semester.