Stretching for stress

After years of long-distance running, my muscles were inflexible. Adjusting to college life, I felt pulled tight from every direction like a rubber band.

Enter yoga.

Yoga isn't just for the stereotypical health nut, treehugger or hippie. Many people, from all walks of life, realize the potential and power of yoga.

Of course, it's not a cure-all, end-all answer to every personal problem. I'll guarentee one thing: yoga will help you deal with stress. And everyone could use that.

Now breathe

Breathing, meditation and yoga postures characterize yoga practice. Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means union. All postures involve the union of the mind and body. That is, you really have to concentrate and think positively to complete the postures.

Postures range from balancing on one foot with your arms in the air (the tree) to laying on your stomach and pushing your upper body into the air (the cobra).

Don't worry if either of those sounds scary. Those are very simple postures that beginning yoga classes typically practice.

It takes anywhere from a few weeks to a few years for your body to become flexible. But, the whole time, it's toning your muscles and developing your mind's patience and focus.

After a few beginners classes, you'll know if yoga is your key to destressing. It isn't for everyone. But if you enjoy a peaceful yet strenous exercise that pushes both your mind and body, yoga is for you.

Resources

Yoga history and philosophy is deep. My favorite Web sites to learn more are ABC-of-Yoga (basic guide), Yoga Journal and Yoga International (both magazines) and YREC (Yoga Research and Education Center).

UF offers free yoga classes for beginners and experienced practitioners with a Gator 1 id. Check out the schedule.

this web site was created by kristen landreville