Opinion: Try yoga to get results and find mindfulness

Over the past several years, I have developed a belief in practicing balance on a daily basis.

I am both indecisive and a people pleaser, so, if I could avoid picking sides in any circumstance, I would. I have tried and succeeded in gaining distance from both of those habits, and become more self-aware in the process.

Adriene Mishler leads yoga practices on her YouTube channel

More recently, I began regularly practicing yoga at home via YouTube videos from the channel “Yoga with Adriene,” hosted by Adriene Mishler.

After many frustrating attempts to maintain a traditional gym workout, I surprised myself with how quickly I settled into a yoga practice. When I saw how much balance and self-awareness are integrated into yoga, I knew I wasn’t turning back.

I think people who do not feel motivated to consistently go to the gym do so because a traditional workout simply does not work for everyone. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be a recognized or accepted idea.

The belief marketed to us is that doing long intense workouts is the only or best way to get healthy and see results. The “be better, faster, stronger” mindset in combination with a desire for instant results has at least increased the potential for people to convert into workout robots. Mishler often points out the flaws in this ideology as well.

“These days we are still so conditioned to think that if we are not ‘dying,’ we are not creating powerful transformation in the body. This type of effort often leads to frustration, disappointment, struggle, and inability to stay disciplined or stick with a practice,” Mishler said in a recent Instagram post.

This simple change in attitude and learning to disregard expectations and standards of what exercise is supposed to look like has kept me motivated for longer than ever before. Additionally, as a college student, at-home yoga checks a lot of boxes: I don’t have to go anywhere to do it, I don’t pay for it, and I can do it when and how it fits my schedule.

Almost 4.5 million people subscribe to Mishler’s channel, but still perhaps the most commonly held misconception about yoga is that you have to be born in the shape of a pretzel in order to do it. However, the reality differs greatly from this stereotype.

During videos, Mishler reminds you to “find what feels good” to build strength and awareness in both body and mind instead of rushing through the motions. 

I think yoga can benefit anyone because it’s completely individualized. It can be a supplement for someone doing more intense workouts, a regular practice or anything in between. The focus in yoga is to do what works for you, and you cannot know what you do not know. At the gym I just did what seemed best because I was not in sync enough with my body (or mind) to know how to care for my body.

I advocate for yoga because no matter how you exercise the need to be mindful of how you move does not change, not to look down on people who do different types of workouts.

I feel like I tend to my mind’s needs as well as my body’s when I do yoga. It has shown me that I do not necessarily need to run marathons and do massive deadlifts in order to be and feel healthier.

So, being the time of the year where people strive to keep resolutions and especially in an era where new health trends are around every corner, I think it is that much more important to have balance in this and all areas of daily life. A yoga practice is whatever you want and need it to be, so without further ado, go find it.

 

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