Yoga is all about balance, breathing, and positivity.

“Don’t you want to feel light and gooey and full of positive energy?”

I often ask people this when they say they don’t want to try yoga. I’m working on getting my family to try it with me to no avail. Someday my persistence will pay off and they will thank me. So let me ask, have you tried yoga?

I took my first class at Art of Yoga at Erie Art Museum after graduating from watching YouTube videos in my room. The room was spacious with mats lining up on both sides of the room, and soft music playing in the background. The teacher began the class with deep breathing. It’s not weird, it feels good and it has a calming effect. We moved into downward dog then started into different poses. I stretched and twisted in foreign ways and I loved every single minute of it. It leaves you feeling light, gooey and radiant.

Besides all that happy stuff, yoga challenges you. The more you practice, the more you can push yourself into more complicated poses because you are strengthening muscles and increasing flexibility. Could I do the crow pose my first class? Heck no, but I can do it now (exhibit A). Yoga also helps you focus on the present. It can be hard to focus with so many things grabbing your attention: homework, group projects, club meetings, relationships, technology, social issues, etc. Yoga encourages you to focus on one thing, your breath.

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Exhibit A: Crow pose mastered

Yoga encourages you to let go: let go of judgments of yourself, judgments of others, negative energy. I often hear ‘let go of anything that does not serve you.’ Worries, fears, sadness, stress, negative attitudes, are all great things to work on letting go. This also translates into real world situations. When I feel myself about to get worked up from stress, I focus on my breath. When I find that things aren’t going as planned, I think to myself ‘this is not how I imagined things and that’s okay.’ Acknowledging feelings of discomfort and letting them go is a great feeling and helps you work though worries and anxieties.

There are so many variations of yoga: restorative, hot, power, hatha, senior, acro and vinyasa among others. You can start with a four-minute yoga video on YouTube or attend a class. There are several yoga classes during the week that you can take for free at the Gannon University Recreation and Wellness Center. Just do yourself a favor and try it.

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Namaste, my friends.