Students find peace with yogaBy Alana Norris | 09/29/2014 11:32pm
Stressed out students may find solace in yoga, a practice which dates back to ancient India and connects breath, body and mind. CW File
Yoga, a practice that balances breath, body and mind, is a viable option for de-stressing. While it dates back to ancient India, students at The University of Alabama can participate even today.
Yoga for Healthy Aging is a free weekly yoga class Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of Tuscaloosa in their Church Activity Center gym. The facility is located near the corner of Greensboro Avenue and Stillman Boulevard. Linda Dunn, the class’s instructor, said yoga benefits the mind and body in multiple ways.
“One of the best benefits would probably be, it can help you with your memory, focus, concentration and help to regulate your need for sleep,” Dunn said. “A lot of the breath work that you do in yoga, the breathing exercises, pranayama is what it’s called, can help regulate the left and right hemispheres of the brain if practiced regularly, and really help with focus and relaxation. That’s one of the biggest benefits probably, and then you’ve got flexibility, balance, muscle toning all those things that give you a healthier outward appearance.”
Yoga is also offered at the Student Recreation Center on campus. Alison White, a yoga instructor at the Rec, said breathing is a huge part of yoga.
“People say they can’t do yoga because they’re not flexible or not strong enough, but the basis of yoga is breath,” she said. “Anybody can do it.”
She said students have so much going on in their lives that yoga relieves them and makes them turn their focus inward.
There are many different forms of yoga, such as vinyasa and restorative yoga. Try one or two classes to see how your body reacts, and always tell the instructor if you are new.
“Someone that likes to work out would probably like the vinyasa yoga,” White said. “Somebody that maybe wasn’t used to working out, maybe was just getting into some health oriented stuff, would want more of a yen or slower type yoga. Then someone who is super stressed out, can’t sleep, maybe having some stomach issues, just really a lot of anxiety, might want to do the restorative.”
White said she suffered from panic attacks and anxiety 10 years ago. She said yoga was odd to her at first, but after a few classes she began to look forward to practicing.
“A lot of people just aren’t sure what yoga’s about, and if you can come and try it a couple times with an open mind, it might just really appeal [to you],” White said. “There are several different kinds of yoga that we offer at the Rec.”
Matti Konchalski, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, said yoga is relaxing and good exercise.
“The relaxation is the biggest thing because [as a student] you get so stressed,” Konchalski said.
She said it is important for students to take care of themselves and make the most of their time in college.
“I think it’s really important to have a health body so you can study and make the most of your time here,” Konchalski said. “If you’re not healthy in your mind, you won’t get the most out of your studying.”
No yoga classes are offered at the Student Activity Center at Presidential Village.
The Rec Center is now offering restorative yoga for $15 per sessions. Those interested can sign up online.