Yoga: An Exercise for Everyone

Did you know September is Yoga Awareness Month? Perhaps you’re someone who assumes you have to be extremely flexible and coordinated to enjoy yoga or be of the Hindu faith, but the truth is yoga is for everyone and has several health benefits.

What exactly is yoga?

Yoga is a physical workout that incorporates deep stretching and static poses, focused breath, and sometimes mindful reflections. You can make yoga what you want it to be. You can incorporate prayer, do it outside, or start at the most beginner level if you have never done it.

The American Osteopathic Association lists the health benefits of yoga as:

  • increased flexibility
  • increased muscle strength and tone
  • improved respiration, energy and vitality
  • maintaining a balanced metabolism
  • weight reduction
  • cardio and circulatory health
  • improved athletic performance
  • protection from injury
  • reduction of aches and pains

In addition to these physical benefits, yoga has been shown to increase mental health. Since it incorporates focused breathing, it has often been a way for people to lower their blood pressure, reduce stress, and get better sleep.

Yoga benefits anyone who does it from football players to surgeons to police officers (to Kettering College students, faculty, and staff!). It calms the mind, strengthens the muscles, and stretches the entire body. This doesn’t mean you have to twist yourself into a pretzel to enjoy the benefits it has to offer.

You can, and should, start wherever feels comfortable to you. If you only have 10 minutes, that’s a great place to start. If you can barely bend forward, you’re still invited to the yoga mat, exactly as you are.

Not ready to sign up for a class and attempt this in a room full of flexible Yogis who are already touching their toes without breaking a sweat? The beauty of yoga is you can do it anywhere with no equipment, and there are countless free videos to introduce you to it.

As this academic year kicks off, the familiar stresses will begin to settle into us. We become busy and often push self-care and wellness into the background. This month, consider incorporating some yoga poses into your day to exercise your mind, body, and spirit.


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