5 Reasons Everyone Should Be Doing Yoga

We all have that thing we wish we could do. For a long time, that "thing" for me was yoga. After all that wishing, I just decided to try it because I didn't have a good reason not to. Once I started, I realized I had been stopping myself from doing something I wanted to do because of fears I made up in my head, none of which turned out to be viable. Drawing inspiration from my own fears, I decided to narrow down five reasons everyone should give yoga a try.

1. Everything in yoga can be modified

Before I started going to yoga classes, I was under the impression that you had to be hyperflexible and have perfect balance in order to perform yoga moves correctly. My perceptions were quickly changed when one of the very first things the yoga instructor said: “Remember, this is your practice and you can do these moves however you feel most comfortable.” I was only doing half the moves to their full extent, but so was everyone else.  

It helps to know that everyone in the room will challenge themselves in a different way. Mary Ochsner, a successful yoga instructor and influencer, encourages her students to “start exactly where they are, with no judgment or expectation, just move and breathe.” 

2. Yoga is a personal practice

When considering trying yoga, many of us are held back by the fear that others will judge us. We become self-conscious of how we look doing the poses and compare ourselves to those around us. The easiest way to get over this fear is to recognize that yoga is personal. Everyone else in the class is so focused on their own breath and intention that they forget other people are even in the room. When I do yoga, I tend to keep my eyes shut almost the entire time, and afterward, I don’t even remember who was sitting next to me.

3. Yoga is a restorative form of exercise

As a college student, my body is constantly tired. I run around to classes all day, rush to make club meetings and barely get time to sleep. Yoga is perfect for those of us with busy schedules because it gives us the hour of exercise we all want, but more importantly, it stretches and relaxes our tired muscles. Yoga is especially beneficial for people who play sports or just enjoy working out regularly because it gives the body time to restore itself. Of course, some forms of yoga accomplish this better than others, as there are restorative yoga classes designed specifically to care for our muscles and allow for deep relaxation.

4. We could all benefit from more positivity

Sometimes I get too busy to consistently attend yoga classes, but the stress of college always brings me back to it. Yoga never fails to calm my nerves or force me to focus on what is important in my life. Through controlled breath and moments of meditation, yoga manages to flush out the bad and remind us of the good. Sometimes, just the idea of taking the time to care for my mind and body is enough to bring me back to a more positive outlook on my day-to-day life.

5. You can do it anytime and anyplace

You can get rid of the classic “I don’t have time” excuse. You don’t need to carve time out of your day to go to the gym in order to do some yoga. All you need is a space and a few minutes. You can find time right when you wake up in the morning or in between lunch and afternoon classes. As UCF students, we have the amazing resource of the Recreation and Wellness Center, which offers free yoga classes to UCF students every day. No more excuses; use the time and resources you have available and give it a chance.

It's so important that we remember to take care of ourselves and our bodies and yoga is the perfect way to stay on top of our mental and physical health. Bring a friend, head to the RWC and spend an hour restoring and strengthening yourself in the way that feels best for you.

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