Opinion

OPINION: Need help with your overall well-being? Yoga offers several benefits 

Jen Anima-Valdez

Editor-in-Chief

Yoga has almost always been affiliated with women or considered a woman’s hobby. It is also seen as just being able to relax your body and helping you become more flexible. What many do not know are the benefits it has for your overall mental and physical health and how national league players are using it to help with their sport. 

After the Covid-19 pandemic, I found myself in an even deeper depression than ever before and decided I needed to do something about it. Having previously taken yoga classes at my local YMCA, I decided it would be good for me to start up again. This time I signed up for a yoga class at a local recreational center. When I arrived to my first class, I was surprised by the difference in ages and physical ability. Many were there to help cure an injury they had, some were there to help with body aches, others were working on their flexibility and I just wanted to relax.  

I do not think people realize the incredible ways in which yoga can help one overcome not only physical obstacles but also mental health obstacles. This practice has many benefits, and more people should look into starting it up as a solution for many aspects of their life as I have.  

Yoga consists of three main things: breathing exercises, poses and meditation. There are different types of yoga at a variety of different levels. Already being a flexible person, I had an advantage of extending my poses or holding them for longer periods than my classmates, but for me my favorite part of yoga was the meditation and the relaxation I feel afterwards. If flexibility is not your strong point like mine, yoga can help you improve or you can simply pick and choose from the different levels of practice there are.  

Some other benefits besides flexibility and relaxation are improved body aches, better sleeping and lowered blood pressure. As one gets older, your body changes and at times needs more support. In this sense, it is a great option for those of an older age to start yoga, so that they can lessen their joint pain, which is common in those within the age range of 30 and 40. I have recently started suffering from sleep deprivation as a college student and being able to have something to rely on like yoga has deemed itself very helpful.  

Yoga, believe it or not, also helps muscle strength, toning and weight reduction. This exercise is great if one doesn’t like working out in a gym. Yoga is also said to help manage your stress since it can show up in different ways like aches and drug abuse. Along with depression and anxiety, I suffered through a tremendous amount of stress and continue to do so.  Another one of my favorite parts of my class at Edgemoor Recreational Center is at the end of every class, we relax on our side with our eyes closed listening to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwoʻole. Although this may sound like something simple I could do at home, it is a completely different feeling of relaxation.  

According to John Hopkins Medicine, the following poses have different benefits: 

  • Tree pose can help with strength, balance and flexibility.  
  • Cat- Cow pose helps with back relief. 
  • Downward Dog helps destress and lessens body inflammation.  
  • Legs Up the Wall pose is a good pose to do before bed to help you fall asleep.  
  • Corpse pose is a good pose to do when it comes to reducing stress. 

Although yoga has been categorized mainly as something women do, NBA and NFL players around the country are breaking that stereotype. LeBron James, who is currently a forward for the Los Angeles Lakers, has claimed that YOGA has helped him with cramps during NBA finals games. Other players like Dwayne Wade, Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant are also a part of this trend utilizing yoga to help with injuries and flexibility for their sports. Griffin, who is now a forward and center for the Boston Celtics, talks about how yoga has helped him mentally in a Sports Illustrated article about yoga and professional athletes. There are also NFL teams like the Philadelphia Eagles who recently played in the Superbowl Championship game on Sunday, Feb. 12 that take on this practice on a day-to-day basis.  

Some other benefits of yoga include creating healthy habits, helping people quit smoking, and relieving menopause symptoms.  

Yoga is not just for females; it isn’t for a certain age group or specific background. Yoga has a variety of benefits that can help a wide range of today’s population. It has helped me in more ways than one, and I believe it could be the same for those willing to try.  

BCC offers a yoga course for one credit hour that would count as a physical activity course. You can find this class under Human Performance (HP) courses, 105 Yoga.  

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