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Calming Down with Yoga

April 22, 2018




Many people suffer from stress. Therefore, they want to do something to relieve their stress. A beneficial way to do this is to practice yoga. Now yoga is not just about humans bending their bodies into crazy positions like Dhalsim from Street Fighter and chanting Hindu sankrit like the Dalia Lama. Yoga is also not just about really fit, athletic women contorting their bodies into a pretzel. Although, a multitude of the masses wish yoga solely involved this athletic phenomenon. In addition, yoga is not just for women. No one has ever googled yoga and seen a group of women standing in a horizontal formation posing in tree pose.


     Yoga has a number of health benefits. The first being that it instills the calming neurotransmitter, gaba, into students’ brains. ‘GABA is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the mammalian nervous system. It cools things off and chills things out. People with depression and anxiety have been shown to have low amounts of GABA in their cerebrospinal fluid’ (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201303/yoga-ba-gaba).


      People may also choose the easy path of drinking wine or taking xanax to instill GABA in their brain. These methods serve a purpose if the students want to boost their courage to sing karaoke to Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing.’ In all seriousness though, these relaxing techniques contain side effects such as hangovers after drinking and memory relapse after taking xanax. In addition, the masses can become addicted to the alcohol or psychiatric medication which have real side effects such as increasing peoples’ depression and causing suicidal thoughts. Yoga will do no such thing.


     Another positive characteristic of yoga is the fact that it improves students’ postures. ‘Posture is the position in which people hold their body upright against gravity while standing, sitting or lying down. Good posture involves training the practitioners’ bodies to stand, walk, sit and lie in positions where the least strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement or weight-bearing activities’ (https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/4485-back-health--posture). Eight great asanas to ameliorate one’s posture include:

•   1) Mountain Pose

•   2) Tree pose

•   3) Cat/Cow Pose

•   4) Standing Forward Fold

•   5) Downward-Facing Dog Pose

•   6) Cobra Pose

•   7) Bow Pose

•   8) Warrior 1 Pose.


     Yoga also burns calories. ‘The number of calories you will expend doing yoga is based on your body weight and workout duration. If you weigh 125 pounds, you will burn about 120 calories, and if you weigh 185 pounds, you will expend 178 calories in 30 minutes doing yoga, according to Harvard Health Publications. Bump up your workout duration to one hour and you'll burn about twice as many calories’ (https://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/cardio/calories-burned-for-yoga-is-it-enough-for-weight-loss.html.  


     Some other health benefits of yoga include developing a more flexible body, as well as increasing endurance, balance and strength. Yoga also develops mindfulness that everyone strives to achieve. Many people feel that mindfulness is as difficult to achieve as finding the glorified Loch ness Monster. They will search far and wide for this prized state of being and only seem to discover it at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. There, ‘The Loch ness Monster’ is a renowned ride that won’t actually eat a person like the real one may. That being said, yoga’s mindfulness will change peoples’ chaotic thought patterns to strictly focusing on the yoga pose being practiced. (https://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness-pictures/10-surprising-health-perks-of-yoga.aspx). So, the verdict is in. Yoga is a helpful tool that will aid the public in a variety of ways. So, go plop down on a yoga mat and take a class!

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