I sit barefoot and cross-legged on the edge of my mat, scanning the class for cute mid-20 year old guys. The yoga teacher, with her blue tinted hair tied up in a top knot and colourful tattoos bared on display, welcomes people who came to attend a free yoga session hosted under the green trees and the blue sky.
Earlier this week I attended my first outdoor yoga class hosted by Queen Street Yoga in Kitchener, Ontario. This free one-hour class is offered on Sunday & Wednesday in Victoria Park. In addition to the free one hour class, Queen Street Yoga offers a variety of classes for different levels at various times all throughout the week at their studio that are definitely worthwhile checking out on their website.
Why Do I Practice Yoga?
I really enjoy yoga for the sheer fact that it is a one-hour session where you can let-go and be present in the moment. The continuous focus on your breathing reminds me to stay in the here-and-now instead of allowing my mind to trail off into the forest of my own thoughts.
Yoga is both relaxing and challenging for me. It is a spiritual practice and a workout. The original purpose of yoga is “to cultivate discernment, awareness, self-regulation and higher consciousness in the individual.” During the yoga session I do exactly that. I try my best to focus on the present, and be self-aware.
Although I am not a regular member to any specific yoga studio, I try to make the effort to go every so often, especially during the times when I am feeling uneasy or unsettled. After the yoga class I often continue with the rest of my day feeling rejuvenated, refreshed and relaxed.
Yoga helps me to stay mindful and bring a sense of peace and calmness into my life.
Benefits of Regular Attendance
Yoga helps to reduce stress, anxiety and bring positive mood states. Research also suggests that yoga has similar benefits as exercise does in both healthy and diseased populations including heart disease, respiratory disease, breast cancer, and diabetes (Ross & Thomas, 2010).
Yoga studio vs. Yoga at the gym
Something important to mention is that yoga classes offered at gyms are often performed to promote strength, flexibility and balance. However, traditional yoga practiced in a yoga studio emphasises the self-awareness and that the yoga practice goes beyond the physical.
The psychological and spiritual components of yoga are fundamental to the class and a component that you do not want to miss out on in order to reap the benefits beyond the one-hour session.
I challenge you to attend one-yoga class this month, and see how it changed your soul that day. Regular yoga practice can definitely help you live your life to the fullest every day.