As college students, yoga tends to be a word we exclusively associate with our favorite lounge pants. (And for good reason - they are stylishly comfy after all.) I'm guilty of many years of doing nothing more than lounging in my yoga pants, but recently I started putting them to their intended use, and now I don't think I could ever look back.
In my last article, I mentioned how I started taking yoga classes as a way to get myself out of the house and meet new people, and while that is a great reason to try yoga, I have come to realize there are some other great reasons why yoga is amazing for college students:
1. It's an inexpensive way to work out.
Unless you take a yoga class with special requirements, you really don't need any equipment to practice yoga. While I do recommend a yoga mat, you can easily work out at home on a carpet or towel if you don't have one. This makes it an ideal exercise form for broke college students.
You also don't even need a gym membership or an in-person class; you can look up videos on YouTube and easily follow along. I highly recommend Yoga With Adriene on YouTube because she has selection of yoga videos targeted toward all audiences. Even though I take a yoga class at the campus gym most days, I still follow her videos on the days a class just won't work with my schedule.
If you love the idea of a class but don't want to shell out, be sure to check out the classes offered at the gym on your campus. Oftentimes access to the gym and these classes is included in your tuition.
2. It's an AMAZING workout.
For how little it costs, yoga is a wonderful workout. To start, it is amazing for building flexibility. When I started a month ago, I couldn't touch my toes (yes, I know, it was sad) and now not only can I do that, but I can also bend my body into more pretzel-like shapes than I ever imagined.
Not only is yoga amazing for increasing flexibility, it's also a great core workout because it keeps your abs constantly engaged in order to stay stable. It's also great for building muscle in the arms and legs because there are many poses that are lunge-based and plank-based. As students, we need to maintain our muscle mass and strength (we do so much sitting around!), and yoga is great for this.
If you want even more of a challenging, muscle-building workout, you can also try hot yoga or power yoga.
3. It's both relaxing and fun.
If you are anything like me, the idea of getting super sweaty in a spin class or running on a treadmill is just not appealing. When I think of these gym activities, I lose all desire to work out. It's just not my thing. While I've never liked getting crazy sweaty and gross, I do love the feeling of a good workout, which is why yoga is great for me. I walk out of each class feeling the poses and the soreness in all my muscles, yet I also feel incredibly relaxed and genuinely happier.
Don't get me wrong, some of the poses are hard and you will shake and tremble, but between the music played in the classes I go to and the incredibly kind and helpful instructors, it's a great time.
Why is this ideal for college? Not only is yoga a good workout, it's relaxing and helps you relieve stress. And college sometimes feels like it's ALL about stress. Yoga focuses heavily on breathing and mindfulness, so there's a little bit of meditation incorporated. When life gets a little hectic, the mental aspects of yoga become more beneficial than ever.
What do you think?
Are any of you yogis, both experts and beginners? How long have you been doing it? Regardless of whether or not you hate working out, give it a try; you might just fall in love with it like I did.