De-stress With a Stretch: Yoga 101

Bhargavi Pochi, Staff Writer

Exercising bodies and minds, yoga has made its way around the world. Over the years, different forms of yoga have emerged (e.g. Bikram Yoga, Hot yoga, Aerial yoga, etc.). But to many people, its effects are unknown. With deep spiritual roots originating in India, this thousand year exercise stimulates parts of the body that are otherwise unreachable.

Originally, there were only two forms of yoga – physical and mental. Physical yoga is supposed to be practiced before mental yoga, also known as meditation, to help clear the mind and increase blood flow. All of the poses emulate the distinct positions of different Hindu deities, such as Hanumanasana, the monkey pose, which imitates Hanuman, a popular Hindu god.

“I think meditation is a great thing to do and it helps relieve my stress and anxiety. It takes a lot of discipline and practice, but it’s worth it. More people should try it out,” junior Nathalie Diaz said.

Surprisingly, there are several health benefits that come with yoga. Poses such as Sarvanagasana, the plow pose, stimulates the thyroid glands and strengthens the endocrine system. Many health care professionals urge students to start practicing yoga, which can help with concentration, anxiety, stress, depression and other mental health issues. Over the years, scientists have continuously discovered the thousands of health benefits that come with yoga – from lowering blood pressure to clearing arteries. Even diseases like breast cancer can be aided through the practice of yoga. Hundreds of immobilized people have made full recoveries from the practice; Arthur Boorman, a U.S. army veteran who was deemed unable to walk again, is now running marathons thanks to regular yoga practice.

“I practice yoga almost every other morning and about three times a week after school. Yoga helps me relax – it feels as if all the tension accumulated from a stressful day vanishes,” sophomore Kaylin Sanchez said.

Nowadays, yoga is trending throughout today’s youth, who are seeing that it is extremely beneficial for both the body and mind. But yoga classes can really break the bank, especially for high school students. An easy and cheap way to start yoga is to look up tutorials on Youtube, since there are a plethora of instructional videos on how to perfectly execute a pose. To promote a healthy life style and celebrate the art of yoga, a gallery of different yoga poses is attached to this article. Happy stretching!