I have taken a lot of influential classes at college, but one class that I have become passionate about as a college student is one not taught at Tulane. I have found a love and appreciation for yoga classes while living in New Orleans. Yoga can be beneficial to everyone, especially college students who are constantly stressed and need an escape from the routine of college life.
Yoga is an activity that has numerous benefits for both our physical and mental health, and New Orleans has a variety of studios all around the city that offer unique experiences. I did my downward facing dog all around the city before finding a studio that I felt connected to and enjoyed the most. Many studios even offer student discounts, so take advantage of those too!
While savasana (laying down pose) is a favorite pose of many, yoga involves a lot of strength, balance, and challenging body maneuvers. It is a full body workout that increases strength, flexibility, balance, and motility. Whether you are looking to get toned, or just add some physical activity into your routine, yoga is a great choice.
I personally prefer hot yoga because sweating makes my practice more physically intense and also helps my body detoxify. Talk about a great hangover cure! But, if a room around 90 degrees doesn’t sound like your thing, regular yoga still provides plenty of physical benefits. Staying active in college is extremely important. We spend so much time sitting at desks and our bodies need some movement in order to function their best; physical activity like yoga is a healthy study break.
Buddha once said something along the lines of, “Let that shit go.” The physical components of yoga are just part of what makes it so beneficial. But the mental advantages are what makes it so powerful to me. I think the wise words of Buddha are ones college students really need to hear. School, relationships, and life in general can be extremely stressful and it is hard to not let the small stuff consume you. Yoga forces you to focus on breathing, which helps calm the mind and distress. Learning to focus on breathing helps bring awareness to your thoughts and clear your head, which is something that can be practiced in yoga, but can be applied off the mat too.
Stuck on a test question? Panicking can worsen the situation, but breathing can clear your mind and help you focus and possibly find the answer. During yoga class, it is just me and my mat with no other distractions. It is a meditative time to be present in the moment and reflect.
It is really important to take time to slow down and acknowledge the moment, because this practice often gets pushed to the side during our busy college lives. The calmness, concentration, and stress relief that is achieved during yoga are essential to our mental well-being. Eliminating stress boosts mood and even benefits us physically, since stress creates many adverse effects on the body. Mind and body are deeply connected and are equally as important when considering our health.
The last part of yoga that attracted me is how it builds gratitude. Gratitude can either come from dedicating your practice to someone or something, or it can involve being grateful for the way your body is able to move and flow into so many poses and directions. It is empowering to acknowledge our body’s capabilities and motivates us to continue challenging ourselves.
You can find your passion for yoga on your own or you can make it something for you and your friends to enjoy together. There are plenty of studios to try around our campus, so find your own place to say Namaste in New Orleans!
COVER PHOTO: Healthy Way