I’ve been practicing yoga regularly for about three years now, and I have to say it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. Yoga helps me clear my head, feel more in-tune with my body, and strengthen my muscles. It can be a great workout, but more than that, it can help you in so many ways, even when you’re not on your mat.
When practicing yoga, instructors will encourage you to focus on your breath. Don’t think about the day you had at work, the errands you have to run tomorrow, the anxieties plaguing you…let that go for the moment and focus on the present. You focus on your breath, on the feel of the mat beneath your hands, and nothing else exists.
Being able to pause what you are doing, to breathe deeply in and out, and stop the thoughts spinning around your head is an important and helpful skill at work and at home, just as much as at the yoga studio.
Yoga offers a lot of variety, both in the styles of yoga available, and the poses (asanas) you can take. Inevitably, there will be poses that come naturally to you, and poses that make you wonder how anyone can contort their body into such a position (for example, I cannot do flying pigeon. I also cannot yet get into a headstand). But in class yoga teachers will often have you try a pose, even if you can’t fully get into it. By trying, you are at least testing the waters before assuming you are unable to do something.
The willingness to try is important in all other facets of your life. I’ve learned to not discount new things, but to consider them more carefully, and try before I decide that I can’t or don’t want to.
There are days when I arrive to a yoga class, unroll my mat, and just don’t feel right. I’m sore, or more tired than usual, or I did a lot the previous day or two. Whatever the reason, my body isn’t capable of all the poses I normally can hold. When this happens, it’s easy to feel discouraged.
But yoga is forgiving, and you’re never going to have the exact same yoga practice twice. That’s why we call it a practice. So on these days, I’ve learned to let go of the belief that I need to hold a certain pose or do a certain number of sun salutations. Just because I can’t do a pose on a particular day doesn’t mean that I never will again, or that I’m any less of a yogi or person.
So go find a yoga class already!
Yoga is a great way to build strength and flexibility, both for your body and your mind. For Young Professionals, this is particularly important; developing these habits early on in your career will only help you in the long run.
If you decide to try yoga and see how it can work for you (and I strongly encourage you to!), feel free to try out one of the yoga studios below!
Breathe teaches Vinyasa yoga, and provides restorative, foundations, basics (beginner), and open level classes. Check out their website for more info on their 5 studio locations.
Tru Yoga, located in the South Wedge neighborhood, offers a variety of Vinyasa and Hatha yoga class for all levels of experience.
Interested in pairing yoga with a love for hiking and the outdoors? Hikyoga is a great way to do that! HelloYogaGirl hosts regular hiking and yoga events all around the Rochester area, and RYP partners with her regularly for Hikyoga sessions!