Why yoga is good for the soul


Alex Hanks

Illustration by Alex Hanks

Ebony Purks, Staff Writer

Living amid a pandemic has been difficult to say the least. Among rising unemployment, indefinite uncertainty and health concerns, many people, myself included, are struggling with ways to positively maintain their mental health. There are only so many movies and TV shows to binge on streaming services, so one perfect way to cope with the stress of recent events is to start practicing yoga. Yoga not only increases flexibility but makes for good cardio and relieves body pain. Additionally, yoga emphasizes self-love and teaches the value of patience and acceptance. There is no “gymtimidation” attached to yoga. One of the beautiful aspects of yoga is that there are no expectations or strict rules except to breathe and have fun.
Moreover, the physical exercise of yoga is secondary to the spiritual experience of it. Yogis learn to appreciate the process of learning. When practicing, one learns to approach their mat as they are and appreciate the placement of their progress. As a result, yoga maintains a level of comfort for yogis because you learn to submit to each practice. Submitting to your practice means shedding perfectionistic expectations and abandoning an ego that would interfere with your practice, making yoga especially great for beginners.
I discovered yoga in the summer of 2019 while I was on a journey of self-discovery and healing. Yoga allowed me the space to ease my days with a healthy and non-intimidating exercise. Before 2019, I had an emotionally draining couple of years, and yoga replenished some of the energy I had lost. Every session, for 45 minutes to an hour, I would stop thinking about what was figuratively weighing me down and instead focus on becoming lighter. Yoga simply encourages you to heal through exercise.
For anyone who struggles with their mental health and is interested in yoga, I highly recommend starting, or if you have tried yoga before, but it has been a while, I encourage you to revisit it again. Normally, yoga is a community-based exercise, often having community classes in which everyone learns and sweats together. Since everyone is self-isolating due to the pandemic, local yoga studios like Black Swan Yoga still hold virtual sessions on Instagram live, so yogis can enjoy their practices from home. Again, I highly encourage trying yoga. With consistent practice, you will find yoga awakens and brightens your spirit.