Yoga provides an escape from stress, anxiety

Yoga provides an escape from stress, anxiety

Juliet Magoon/Guilfordian

As college students we are in constant flux. It can be difficult to find balance among classes, a job and a social life.

“In college especially, where we are called to do so many things, it is so easy to lose touch,” said first-year Yoga Club co-leader Elena Sippel.

Yoga can benefit students greatly, as it serves as a grounding force during high‑stress schedules. Practicing yoga for as little as 10 minutes a day helps balance one’s “prana” or life energy.

“Yoga provides a space in which we can reflect and release what we do not need,” said Elena. “Yoga keeps us nimble and flexible, both in mind and body.”

Whether it is the tree, warrior or any other “asana,” or yoga pose, yoga is a practice that conditions one’s self whilst transcending demographics.

“If you’ve never tried yoga before, no worries,” said first-year Yoga Club co‑leader Laura Sippel. “It is the least competitive activity imaginable.”

According to a University of Illinois study, yoga even helps the brain function better. Just a 20-minute session of Hatha yoga improved students’ focus and brain control when compared with aerobic exercise.

Hatha yoga is alignment-based, designed to open the spine and other channels of the body.

“When you’re calm, you work better,” said senior yogi Hannah Schewel. “My yoga practice helps me work on my concentration through poses and breathing. This focus reflects in other areas of my life.”

Research also shows that students who practice yoga exhibit reduced levels of anxiety, confusion, tension, anger and depression.

“Yoga is great for self‑rejuvenation,” said sophomore yogi Dale Prince. “(Yoga) helps me jump start my day and gets my blood flowing. I was surprised how sore I was after just a quick session.”

Although many men practice yoga, there is no doubt that here in the Western sphere it is practiced predominantly by women. According to Mediamark Research & Intelligence, women make up 77 percent of yogis.

“Five thousand years ago, men practiced yoga in India because it was ingrained in their  culture’s tradition,” said senior religious studies major Barnaby Johnnes. “Now in America, yoga has become somewhat of a trend, paired well with chai tea lattes and yoga pants.”

Here at Guilford, two yoga classes, taught by yoga guru and instructor Dawn Leonard, are offered on Monday and Thursday afternoons.

Leonard’s yoga classes and Yoga Club assist student yogis in their path to “dharma,” or truth, in an accepting setting.

“I do think that there is a stereotypical yoga body, the one you often see on the cover of Yoga Journal,” said Leonard. “Fortunately here at Guilford our yoga classes are quite diverse, including many athletes who I think would usually be intimidated by going to a regular studio because they are not ‘flexible.’”

Leonard’s classes and yoga club have been an immense help in pushing my practice further, but students have also found great success at outside studios in Greensboro.

“Triad Yoga is my favorite,” said senior Sam Metzner. “I go to Mind Body Fitness sometimes, too.”

Triad Yoga is 10 minutes from campus at 515 College Rd. It offers superb classes for yogis of all ages and levels.

“If you’re more into to flow, I recommend Free Spirits Yoga downtown,” said Leonard.

“Flow,” or Vinyasa, yoga is breath-synchronized movement. Flow yoga fluidly moves the body through a series of poses rather than focusing on one pose for a few breaths.

“(Ganesha’s Yoga & Wellness) is more affordable than most other studios in Greensboro and is very willing to come up with plans that suit students’ financial needs,” said senior Yoga Club co-leader Quincy Malesovas.

Yoga Club is offered on Sundays at 4 p.m. in the Armfield Athletic Center dance studio. It’s a great opportunity to get centered after a fun weekend. On nice days, yoga club often meets at the lake.

These opportunities and more create a non-intimidating realm in which to enjoy yoga. If you are interested in beginning or continuing your practice, reach out to either Leonard or the yoga club. New yogis are always welcome.

Be sure to look out for a yoga club event during Serendipity.

Namaste.