Opinion: Yoga – the perfect time to think about yourself

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by Rachel Peterson, Perspectives Editor

I enjoy rising before the sun and focusing on my body’s movement and breath for an extended period of time. I wear yoga pants not for leisure, but to actually practice yoga. I find contorting my body and stretching every part of me is relaxing and helps me find focus.

I am in no way a master yogi. My tree pose is still wobbly. Inversions still scare me, but I am not a yoga virgin.

Living in Boulder, Colorado led me to practicing hot yoga. A room heated to 110 degrees and sweat soaked bodies completing sun salutations was my idea of a good time. Living in Iowa, regular yoga is part of my weekly routine.

The yoga class offered at Simpson College is an excellent way to refresh your mind, find your breath and stretch out muscles. It is a great class to start your yoga practice and learn the basics.

The class is geared toward beginner yogis. The instructor took time to explain how to form each intricate pose and what parts of the body it was benefitting.

Athletes, I would highly recommend this class. Your body will thank you after 75 minutes of controlled breathing and focused stretching.

For the more advanced yoga practitioners, this is a great refresher course. If going back to the basics seems like a bore, I would suggest looking elsewhere.

The yoga instructor focuses on breathing. For the yoga virgins, this means four counts of a deep inhale, a two count pause and a deep exhale through the nose. Breathing is the core of yoga. It strengthens every move. Too often the poses take precedence over breathing in advanced yoga classes.

With every breath, I could fold deeper into my poses. It was not rushed. I could focus on bending, twisting, contorting into the pose and stretching deeper with each breath.

If you have been curious about starting yoga, go to Simpson’s classes. They are free, informative and teach you the foundations of yoga.

The most important thing to remember about yoga is it is only about your own practice. When I walk into a yoga studio, I let go of every stress, worry and insecurity I have.

Do not compare yourself to the others in the studio. Own your wobbly tree pose. Take a rest in child’s pose without judgment.

Yoga is your time. Namaste.