Yoga for Everyone

November 22, 2010

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Photo: Courtesy of UNH Health Services

In the busy lifestyles of Americans and around the world, Yoga and Pilates have been an up and coming craze. Yoga mats and DVDs can be found in stores everywhere and many people are participating. Even a platoon of military service members are joining the trend. A recent article from the United States Army discusses one platoon that recently included yoga in their weekly activities. But what is this idea all about and what are the benefits?

Yoga is an exercise that provides a connection between mind and body. There are many physical benefits, but it also serves as a relaxation tool. The soldiers are encouraged to participate in the yoga class once a week, to “workout with mind-soothing relaxation.”  The idea of yoga is to provide a counterbalance to stress and strengthen relaxation responses in your daily life. For the soldiers, this means a benefit to their weekly fitness activities and a reduction of the possibility of injuries. Yet, for busy college students and working professionals…yoga can be just as beneficial. Different yoga practices focus on breathing, relaxation, and strengthening the nervous system. Levels range from beginner through advanced, Bikram yoga. Depending on individuals, each different level can offer benefits. However, types that focus on slow, steady movement are best for stress relief. Considering the advancement of the class is especially important for beginners. I’ve had one personal experience where I tried hot yoga and it found that it was not what I had expected. The class was much more advanced than a friend and I had anticipated, and resulted in us being very sore for several days. Another fact to consider is cost. There are many yoga studios located in different areas and it is important to be aware of the costs and options they offer. In order to get the most out of your yoga experience, taking a class or video from a professional is important.

Here a UNH, a great option to consider is the classes offered at the UNH Campus Rec.  A variety of yoga classes are offered throughout the semester at an affordable cost to students and faculty. They also offer periodic $5 drop-in classes. If you’re looking for a free but reliable option, Health Services offers classes every Wednesday and Friday for students in the MUB.  Even if it seems that you don’t have the time to do anything, managing your stress is important. Make the time to try out a class and most likely it will be a great way to elevate some of your stress!

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