Different than your normal group exercise class, yoga provides a unique experience for both the body and mind. It is a practice that invites us to surrender the stress and tension accumulated from the world that never seems to give us a break. Kerstin Allvin, one of Oakland University’s yoga instructors at the Campus Recreation Center, has been practicing yoga for over 12 years. She brings awareness to the importance of letting the mind go and experiencing release in order to allow creativity to flow in and let the freedom of self-expression take over. Yoga creates an awareness of your own presence, as you gain control of your mind and emotions in the moment.
“Yoga helps individuals not only gain balance, flexibility and strength, but also provides an awareness of the unity between body, breath, and spirituality,” Allvin says. “I love to really see the profound shift in people. Those who have pain, experience relief, and there’s a release.”
The passion for this type of exercise can be carried out and applied to the real world to combat stressful situations we face in society. Let’s face it, we’ve all been late to work after misplacing the car keys the night before or maybe there was a monumental traffic jam that just makes the blood boil. Whatever life throws at you, yoga helps channel the inner turmoil and creates a state of mind that is healthy and progressive towards the world that surrounds us.
“The mind and body processes emotions and thoughts that can be worked out on the mat,” says Allvin. “There is a sense of calm and unification as students experience the “yoga fog” where they’re not just relaxed, but focused. It’s a clarity.”
With incredible benefits yoga has to offer, many people however, still shy away from it. Some feel that it is a less then effective workout, by those who wish to experience a good “pump” in order to classify a workout as a success. However, yoga is not only a great workout to shed pounds, but can actually improve success in life. Encouraging relaxation and self-awareness, yoga is vital for understanding and communication in society.
Due to the wide range of classes that yoga has to offer, it may be intimidating at first, but don’t be discouraged if you’re unsure which style best suits you. Yoga creates a rush of vitality regardless of the difficulty level and there will always be new ways to challenge yourself and expand your limits.
“There are so many different classes, says Allvin. “It’s very important that the class fits you and where you are. It is intimidating when one who is novice to yoga participates in a class that is very athletic.”
Whatever your reason for an aversion towards yoga, remember it is a practice. It will never outweigh the benefits you will experience on your quest for self-improvement. Get yourself out of your comfort zone and check out a class soon! For more information on the classes offered here at Oakland University, go to http://wwwp.oakland.edu/campusrec/top-links/exercise-schedule/ and realize your inner AND outer strength!
Feature photo courtesy of thespiritscience.net