5 Reasons Why I've Loved Doing Yoga This Year

I grew up with a yoga instructor for a mother. I really did learn how to do child's pose as a child, and as I got older, I was allowed to assist my mom in her classes by demonstrating poses for the group. Yoga was a natural activity for us; I can remember many weekend mornings that began with sun salutations and ended with a family breakfast. However, as schedules got busier, as my social world expanded, and as I moved through high school and university, I fell out of my daily practice of yoga. It was frustrating and sad for someone who had learned to love yoga so dearly, but ultimately, it was true - I wasn't doing any yoga.

That is, it was true until this year. Since the start of 2017 I’ve been attending weekly yoga classes at the ARC, and I’ve fallen in love with yoga all over again. Here's why.

Yoga challenges me

Yoga tests my strength and stamina, but not in such a way that I'm resentful about it (you know, the way I was always resentful about having to run a mile in middle school). With yoga, I can challenge myself in subtle but tangible ways: by holding a pose for a minute longer, by stretching just a little further, or by trying a variation of a pose. As much of a challenge as it may be, maintaining my balance or holding a difficult core-strengthening pose is also its own reward.

Yoga calms me

My instructor's reminders to breathe in and out as we move through a sequence of poses helps me feel my body rise and fall, just like waves in the ocean. I've spent all week combing through various stressors, but while doing yoga I'm mentally transported to a place of tranquility and peace, and it feels as though the rough waters have settled.

Yoga centers me

It’s pretty natural for college students like me to be juggling a number of different things in the brain, especially about things in the future, like the exams, papers, events and other responsibilities to come. When I'm in a yoga class, though, all of my attention focuses on the task at hand and I remember to stay rooted in the present. Those 75 minutes of class are just for me.

Yoga empowers me

Yoga allows me to know my body better - its abilities, limitations, and all - and there is something incredible about that. It renews my sense of autonomy over my body. Additionally, despite the insecurities I've often been conditioned to feel about my body because of the culture I've grown up in, yoga reminds me that my body is beautiful, graceful, and powerful.

Yoga comforts me

I take my yoga class with my friends, and it warms my heart to be able to spend time with them in a safe space every Friday morning. We compliment each other's successes and relax in unison as we listen to lovely music. And after nearly every session, we grab a bite to eat or a drink from Starbucks. And while the exercise we've done does not necessarily justify a treat - nutritionally speaking - the weekly visit to the coffeeshop has become a routine for me, and I find a lot of comfort in that routine.

But most importantly, I have made a routine of yoga again, and I'm proud of myself. Those classes are most definitely worth the time and money I put into them because I'm feeling stronger, brighter, and better - and I think I deserve that. You do, too. So get yourself to a yoga class!

None of the images or gifs used belong to the author or Her Campus UC Davis.