EVERYDAY HEALTH: Yoga offers stress relief, flexibility


With bitter weather settling in and the holiday season on its way, you might find that you’re either too busy or too cold to exercise outside.    

Unless you’ve found some way to ski in Kansas, chances are most of your sporting will be done inside. Even the most avid runners find it hard to get out of bed and go for a jog on a sub-32-degree day.
Most people find their solutions at the Peters Recreation Complex, and as a result, the Rec is definitely busy during the winter months. If you’re looking for a quiet workout that gives great toning results and can even relieve stress from finals and the holidays, try yoga.
Everyone can benefit from yoga – men, women, young, old and even those who say, “I’m not flexible enough.” It focuses on breathing and relaxation, as well as poses that can be modified for beginners to encourage flexibility and strength. Participants have reported health benefits, including increased concentration and a more positive mood.
According to WebMD.com, yoga has been shown to lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate and increase immune system function. Yoga strengthens the core muscles of the abdominals and back, contributing to better posture.
Yoga can be traced back 5,000 years, but researchers believe the practice began as many as 10,000 years ago, according to yogabasics.com. Yoga is not a religion but a spiritual practice that holds universal philosophies and can be incorporated into any belief system.
Yoga has many paths, but the most commonly known in our society is Hatha Yoga. According to yogabasics.com, this type of yoga focuses on a variety of postures, called “asanas” meant to harness the body’s energy.
Kim O’Neill, senior in elementary education, took a yoga and Pilates class for course credit this semester at Pro Fitness in Aggieville.
“It was a good weekly exercise, and it was very relaxing,” she said. “It made my other classes seem less stressful. I would definitely recommend the class to others.”
Ready to try your first yoga pose? Begin with one called downward-facing dog. Place your hands and knees on the ground, tuck your toes under, and straighten your legs. You should look like an upside-down “V,” with the crown of your head facing the ground and your heels pressed into the floor. This pose is a great stretch for the hamstrings and calves and strengthens the shoulders and arms.
Yoga classes are taught at noon on Tuesdays at the Rec as well as at other times, which are available on the group fitness schedule that can be downloaded at recservices.ksu.edu. Yoga is also available at the LIFE Fitness Center on Wednesday evenings at 5:30.

Sarah Hurd is a senior in kinesiology. She teaches aerobics classes at the LIFE Fitness Center at noon on Fridays. Please send comments to edge@spub.ksu.