Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

The best stress-relieving workout

The holidays are right around the corner.  You know what that means: family, food, and—dare I say it—final exams.  How the hell is anyone supposed to prevent gaining unwanted pounds while carbs are hanging around the house for nearly two months straight?  Not to mention the inevitable stress of finals and the anxiety that comes hand-in-hand with extended family visits.  With no outlet the tension builds up, leading to a Britney Spears-esque meltdown.  No one wants a recap of that 2007 fiasco.

To maintain some semblance of sanity, I have discovered the holy grail of exercise.  Yoga, traced back to the Vedic Period, is a slimming exercise as well as a mental practice.  No longer is it solely for the hipsters, my friends.  Even celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston and Matthew McConaughey have jumped on the yoga bandwagon.

Before I gave it a try, I thought yoga consisted of folding oneself into awkward poses and producing odd humming sounds.  I was wrong.  Yoga will kick your butt, particularly (my favorite) vinyasa or “power” yoga and ashtanga yoga.  There are many different types, but all involve challenging poses, deep breathing and clearing the mind of clutter.  Besides providing exercise for the body, here are some other benefits of practicing yoga:


Yoga enforces better posture. 

Many sitting poses require you sit up straight, as if there is a string pulling your spine up towards the sky.


Improves breathing capabilities. 

Yoga’s focus on breathing helps strengthen one’s ability to breathe, which helps performance during aerobic exercises such as running.


It is a source for stress reduction. 

Slow movements, concentrating on not falling over…you tend to forget your worries after the first warrior pose.


Promotes deep breathing. 

Deep breathing allows oxygen to circulate throughout the body more efficiently, relieving tension and stress.   Deep breathing might also lower blood pressure, encourage restful sleep and alleviate some symptoms of asthma or other chronic diseases.


Increases flexibility. 

Yoga requires challenging the body with new and versatile poses.  If a pose hurts or is uncomfortable in any way, don’t be stubborn or proud—try the variation pose.  Hurting yourself doing yoga is embarrassing.  The stretching involved also helps prevent sustaining an injury.


As a life-long practice, yoga promotes a healthy lifestyle, both mentally and physically.  The University of Alabama Student Recreation Center offers, among many other exercise classes, yoga at least once a day (except, of course, on sacred football Saturday).  Enter into the practice with an open mind and give it a try.


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