To Yoga or Not to Yoga…That is the question
Men, let me guess. The first thing that pops into your mind when I say the word “yoga” is what? Yoga pants? That’s what I thought.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say most guys only associate yoga with the new fashion of yoga pants. If I’m wrong, please let me know, but I’ve seen guys’ reactions to a girl walking by in yoga pants. It’s kind of a jaw-drop, drool and stare as awkwardly as possible kind of thing.
Yoga pants are one thing, but what yoga does for your body and mind is another matter.
I’m new to the whole yoga scene, but I have maybe seven pairs of yoga pants or leggings and a pink yoga mat. But if you need me on a Sunday or Monday night, you’ll find me at a yoga studio.
Like every college kid, I struggle to find time for anything other than studying or napping so I wasn’t sure how to fit a yoga program into my day.
And there was my blonde moment: the thing about any exercise program is that you have to make time for it.
I made it a New Year’s Resolution to join a yoga studio and do yoga two to three times a week.
There’s always the 10-minute YouTube yoga videos anyone can do any time of day for free, the DVDs you can buy or there’s the hour-long yoga class in a studio. It’s up to you to decide which program you want to do.
As for me, I do my practice at Om Yoga Fitness, located on Lotta Street here in Sioux Falls. Jean Slattery, the owner and one of the instructors, focuses on the physical practice of yoga, but also what it can do for the mind.
During the Restorative class on Sunday nights we lie in a number of simple poses and meditate. We focus on breathing, relaxing our muscles and rejuvenating our spirit for the week. It’s basically a glorified nap, but at the end I feel refreshed and ready to begin my week.
On Monday nights I go to the Beginner’s Yoga class where we focus on learning the poses, controlling our breathing, and staying in the moment.
There are a number of yoga poses, such as “sun salutation,” “warrior,” “downward dog,” and others that require balance, flexibility, and concentration, but perhaps my favorite part of a class is when we meditate and focus on our breathing.
It’s interesting to transition into a pose and be aware of each muscle, where your breathing is centered and simply where your mind is.
Your body is one cohesive unit which can be shaped and maneuvered into a number of positions and held in one space. Your mind is its own entity. It’s extremely difficult to center your mind during yoga and keep it “in the moment.”
It’s hard to let go of the day, let go of everything I have to do, what I haven’t done, or even what I’m going to have for dinner. And I’ll admit that it took a few classes for me to completely focus on my practice and what my body and mind were doing. But once I got the hang of it, I find it easier to do, even when I’m not doing yoga. I’m not saying I sit in class and daydream, but I do use it to help me relax and clear my mind before I go to bed at night.
For me, yoga has become a necessity. Not only is it a good way to get off campus for an hour or so, but it has also become a sort of escape from my hectic life. So, go try it. There are plenty of yoga studios around Sioux Falls, our very own English professor, Nancy Dickinson teaches a class every Monday in the Elmen Center and Rec Services offers a 7 a.m. session on Wednesday in the Back Alley.
Yoga will quiet your mind and strengthen your body, all for only an hour of your time. It’s an hour well worth it. Your mind will be calmer, more focused and your body will stay fit and flexible in the process.