By Abigail Fowler
For The Arkadelphian
From the multiple discussions in my friend groups in Arkadelphia, we are long overdue for a yoga instructor to sign on with some recreation company in this town (hint, hint). While we all hope that someone better at the one-legged king pigeon pose than us eventually steps up to plate, we’ll continue to stream YouTube sessions from our smart TV’s (comment below with a good Fahrenheit 451 reference).
Yoga has a lot of benefits. If you Google search for a list of these benefits, you’ll be swarmed with a ton of eloquently written, slightly BS, articles from someone trying to sell you their “life-changing” 30-day course. I should know, I’ve written similar articles for influencers for a living.
Here is a no-BS, basic white girl look at the benefits of yoga:
- You are not able to hold your phone close enough to scan social media in a warrior 2 pose. We all need a break from our phones. Yoga has you switching positions every 30 seconds or holding till your arms give out. Unless you’re not doing it correctly, you are able to break from scrolling through your Facebook in a way that makes you forget an Apple is anything more than a fruit that goes well with cinnamon.
- Become in-tune with your body. Sorry- I had to put at least one glossy phrase in for the irony. Similar to weightlifting (from my experience with my Brazilian-styled jiu jitsu trainer in Queens), yoga is about stacking your body. Feet must be properly placed as a base, then focus on your knees so they won’t be locked in a manner that will require replacement surgery decades from now, your booty should be tucked, your core should hold everything together, arms relaxed-yet-balanced, neck muscles worked, and head resting comfortably on this Lego structure you’ve just created.
Like any work out, if you are not sore afterwards or if you were able to do this work out for longer than an hour, you did not push yourself hard enough. You should be expanding and perfecting every part of the stack a little bit more each time.
- Yoga helps you in other sports. There is a reason why professional athletes take on secondary activities like yoga, gymnastics, or dance; no one can properly give 110% if they’re being narrow-minded towards one outlet as their sole focus. It’s a balance that helps open you to additional possibilities to advance your other athletic goals. Yoga gives your core a secondary workout to build those muscles in a way other sports cant. Also, no one is going to complain about you being too flexible.
- It is the most common way to lower stress and anxiety. There is a reason why designers like myself use blues and earth tones while creating branding guides for yogis. Our target audience is the overly stressed. Take it from me and all my anxieties: this is the only athletic activity I’ve done where my anxiety goes away. Breathing techniques are keys in therapy and in yoga. The “box breathing technique” is unique to yoga:
Breathe in for 4 seconds. Hold for 4 seconds. Breathe out for 4 seconds. Hold for 4 seconds. Repeat.
Again, you’ll only get out from yoga as much as you put in. If you don’t listen to the instructor walking you through the breathing exercises, you’ll still be rattling off your work due dates in your head 15 minutes into the session. If you listen to them and practice the techniques, there is no way you can think about due dates by the seventh time you hold your breath for 4 “Mississippi’s”. Do it for the whole hour session and you’ll be set.
Yoga is a passion of mine because it’s one of the few outlets from my busy workday that allows me to walk away both calm and energized in less than 40 minutes. There are so many more benefits to it, but I’ll let you discover those for yourself.