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I started doing yoga a little over a year ago. I had just graduated high school when I decided to start participating in some classes at a gym in my hometown; I started yoga and pilates at the same time. On my first day, I didn’t even know I needed to bring a yoga mat with me. Luckily, the instructor let me borrow one owned by the gym.

At first it was strange; I am not in the target demographic of those gym yoga classes. My classmates are women who have kids my own age. However, I enjoy the environment more than I could’ve guessed.

It isn’t the work out in yoga that draws me in and keeps me coming back. Yes, I love a good core work out just like anyone else, yet I find myself so attracted to a practice that aligns your mind, body, and spirit.

Mental health is obviously stigmatized in America today. The simple facts are: self-care is as important as studying and work; everyone can benefit from therapy; and, if you’re exhausted, you won’t work as efficiently.

Exhaustion can arise from a mental or physical situation. Yoga has taught me to set aside 45 minutes every other day to be selfish and do something for myself. Yoga is self-care, meditation, and a work out all in one.

Yoga is my safe space. It is the place that I don’t compare myself to others. I even found a leadership space in yoga. Now that I teach yoga, I love the feeling of bringing peace to others. I’m not the most flexible person, but I am a deeply spiritual person. Yoga has made me aware of what is going on inside my head as well as in my body. That’s more important than outward growth to me any day.

 

I am a sophomore broadcast communications major and theatre minor at the University of Tennessee at Martin. When I’m not in class or participating in events on campus, I spend my time reading, doing yoga, working out, or petting my cats.
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