I recently joined Equinox gym when I moved to the city with the intention of using the elliptical every now and then and maybe trying a Pilates class here and there. The first day I walked in with my new membership t-shirt in hand, I looked at the electronic board that showed the class schedule. I had come an hour early for Pilates, but yoga was about to start. I had taken a couple of yoga classes at school, so I figured I’d try it out.
The moment I stepped into that room my life had changed. I don’t mean this metaphorically, like I can connect with the yoga Gods and now I see the meaning in life and what not. I mean my lifestyle changed completely just from the atmosphere that surrounded me. These are the reasons yoga changed me and why everyone should let yoga change them as well.
1. Yoga is for everyone.
Yoga is for the guy lifting 400 lbs. on the bench press. Yoga is for the stay at home mom who barely has time to squeeze in time to shower let alone work out. Yoga is for the college student who is decently in shape but still spends most of their time binge drinking.
With the entire assortment of classes, like Vinyasa or Slow flow, there is a yoga class for everyone. Yoga also comes with variations. If you watch the instructor demonstrate a flow that includes a headstand and you think you wouldn’t be able to do a headstand even if your life depended on it, there is a variation. Yoga can be modified as much as needed or it can be challenging if need be.
2. It makes you stop and realize what you’re doing.
It lets you feel yourself. What other time during the day do you get to let your head hang heavy and do nothing but think about how it feels to let yourself relax. It takes you away from your cell phone for an hour and it stretches the muscles that we misses every day straining to look at a phone screen or to type at a computer. It lets us realize how dependent upon social media we really are and it gives us a break from that sad reality.
Living in NYC, I’m surrounded by movement- cabs, runners, strollers, dogs. Activity never ceases in a city like New York. But in that one room for one hour a day, magically that activity all stops. It’s like when i walk into that room the world actually stops spinning.
3. It makes you stronger.
I went into that first yoga class thinking it was going to be a joke and that i’d have to work out so much after to consider it a good workout. Let me tell you, I was very wrong. After my first class was over I actually needed to ice my arms because they were so sore. I even took the elevator in my building (which I never do) because I couldn’t feel my legs. It’s a great workout that allows you to do so much more than keep the world out by blasting rap songs through your headphones.
4. It helps you relax.
I get up around 8 every morning even if I don’t have work just to attend yoga. Needless to say there are some days where I’m so exhausted I can’t even fathom performing yoga. However, I always end up going because the overwhelming relaxation that your muscles feel after the class is as good as getting great nights sleep. Every muscle in your body feels stretched and relaxed. That tension you felt is gone and by the end of class you’ll never want to go back to bed.
5. It makes you nicer.
It helps you see that the little things that aggregate you and irritate you are not so big at all. They are minuscule details in your life, and life is better when you are able to see past them. After yoga, if someone or something seems like it’ll put me in a bad mood, I just practice my Ujjayi breathing and push past them. I focus on my body, how I feel, and I calm myself down one muscle at a time.
Practicing yoga is a lifestyle choice. It improves your health, your mental stability, and it will help you get the most relaxing nights sleep of your life. Everyone should do yoga.