by Luke Thomas
Once the domain of Eastern culture enthusiasts and 60s flower children, yoga has become one of the most popular forms of exercise in the United States. It can lower blood pressure, perfect posture, and relieve aches and pain. That’s good news for us at Strong, because June 16 marks the inauguration of SAM’s monthly yoga course. We already got a taste during Employee Appreciation, but thanks to the generosity of John Paul, yoga is back and here to stay.
While your grandparents likely didn’t grow up doing yoga, its novelty in the US doesn’t mean there’s anything new about this New Age practice. Yoga was developed in Northern India more than 5,000 years ago, and scholars believe that it incorporates practices dating back to the Stone Age. In the 1970s, The Beatles member George Harrison helped popularize yoga in the West by infusing it into many of his songs. Nowadays, you’d be hard-pressed to find a city without a yoga center. Lucky for us at Strong, it’s quite literally at our doorstep.
As the countdown to Y-Day continues, here are some tips to help you get the most from your session:
- Think less about the pose, and more about the moment. Yoga is a great form of relaxation, so you don’t want to return to your desk feeling more stressed than when you started. If you’re a beginner, especially, don’t worry about executing the pose perfectly. Your neighbors are there not for comparison, but to remind you that you all have the same goal – 45 minutes of total zen-out.
- Breathe through it. Your breath is your best friend. By focusing on something that’s usually second-nature, you keep your mind still and begin to notice new subtitles and sensations in your body. This gives you a fuller experience, is great for quieting those racing thoughts, and lets you really feel the pose.
- It’s the inside that counts. While stretching out stiffness feels amazing, it’s only half the benefit. The real magic of yoga comes from the inside. Calming down and focusing exclusively on your own mind and body lets you tap into deeper parts of yourself. Resist the urge to think about your inbox or admire your neighbor’s cute workout shoes. Take advantage of the time to focus only on you.
- Don’t fall asleep at the end. By the end of the class, you’ll be pretty chill. But when the instructor asks you to lie down and close your eyes, it’s not nap time yet. This pose is called Shavasana, and its purpose is to help you relax with attention. By remaining alert and still at the same time, you’ll be free to rest your body and mind as one. Try doing Shavasana before bedtime to promote deep, quality sleep. Then, you won’t feel guilty about drifting off after.
Keep an eye out for the sign-up sheet to make sure you get a spot in one of the two classes.
Until then, namaste.