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Yoga can help your body and mentality

I don’t know what I would do without yoga. Yoga is a spiritual Hindu practice. It involves meditation, breathing, and many poses. Poses can be as simple as laying on your back, arms and legs stretched out (Savasana), to as difficult as a one handed handstand (Eka Hasta Vrksasana).

Yoga has helped me become more aware and mindful of all aspects of my life. Before I began yoga at Marlborough with instructor Christine Burke, I didn’t accept myself. I hated the parts of me that were out of my control. I never went a day without frustration or dissatisfaction with myself. I felt constantly overwhelmed by school and people. I was simply in a bad place.

I began yoga on the first day of school. I already see a change and huge shift in my mentality. I have learned the five yamas of yoga, the first being Ahimsa, the yoga principal of compassion. It focuses on being non-harming to yourself and others. Though all of the principles have been important to my mental exploration, Ahimsa has helped me the most.   

I practice Ahimsa by asking myself a couple simple questions: What is the nicest thing I can do for myself right now? How can I be compassionate to myself? It can be as simple as eating, taking a sip of water, going to the bathroom, relaxing your shoulders or closing your eyes for a few minutes.  Especially as a teenage girl, I didn’t listen to my body when it told me it was hungry. I pushed it aside, harming myself and ultimately my health. It’s easy to forget that you are in control over your body and mind.

Through Ahimsa, I also began to practice being non-harming. I began to realize I should not beat myself up for the things that are out of my control. For example, if my bus came late, which made me late to school, that is out of my control. I cannot change the flow of traffic and certainly can’t blame myself. Why stress for the 20 minutes I am waiting in traffic when I do not have control over it? The most compassionate and non-harming thing you can do for yourself is take a few deep breaths and relax. Practicing how you treat yourself will reflect on how you treat others. Ahimsa can benefit you as well as those around you.

Everyone needs yoga in their life. Yoga teaches you how to be good to yourself and others. Yoga physically helps your blood flow, immunity and coordination. It stretches your muscles, enhances your flexibility and strengthens your core. Yoga opens up your joints. After starting yoga, I began to notice my posture becoming better, which affected my confidence. Physically opening my joints mentally opened my mind.

Yoga also makes you happier. It helps your self-care and self-esteem. It teaches you to be less distracted by thoughts about the past and future, but rather be more mindful towards the present. This creates a healthier and happier life. The deep breaths and mediation give your mind a break from all the worry and stress of all the things you have to do in a day. Yoga reminds you to release tension in both your body and mind and to take a step back. If you want to live a better life, I guarantee yoga will help.