Yoga Therapy

GCC professors tell Vaqueros about the benefits of the popular exercise

Yoga+Therapy

Annie Otsuka, Staff Writer

One of the activities that many people now are doing while stuck at home is yoga. It has risen in popularity due to the ease to get started. Yoga enthusiasts at an advanced level might utilize equipment such as mats, blocks, or balance balls. For those who just want to exercise a little to keep their body in shape, a little space and a heart that is eager for something to enjoy would be enough to try yoga. 

Yoga is known to release stress and anxiety. Many studies have proven that the relaxation you experience from yoga can help you to forget negative thoughts by reducing cortisol and stress hormones. There are other positives as well. Yoga has many benefits aside from stress relief. There are physical benefits like increased strength, flexibility, and balance, but yoga also has a spiritual aspect to it, Professor Chelsea Asman, one of GCC’s yoga instructors from the GCC dance department, said in an interview. 

Improving a body’s strength, flexibility, and balance makes the body function as it should, and promotes healthy eating habits and better sleep quality, which leads to the adjustment of life rhythm. And that eventually leads you to stay in shape and even lose weight. Continuing yoga practice also lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart health problems. ”Yoga provides us with the tools to bring ourselves back to the essential elements of being: the life force of breath, the power of our amazing bodies, and our connection to the universe,” Professor Arianne MacBean, also a GCC yoga instructor, told El Vaquero.

Meditating and practicing yoga postures (asanas) that have developed as second and third components are less important compared to focusing on breathing and staying in the moment of the present. Yoga is never supposed to be something that makes unnecessary stress for trying too hard to do perfect and the best moves. Taking breaths in the proper timing, which is very simple and easy, is the main part that you should keep in mind. “Inhaling deeply while you reach up to the sky and exhaling while you bring your arms down to your sides can be an effective way to get maximum benefits from yoga,” professor MacBean said. 

Also, the great thing about yoga is that you can forget all anxiety and worries about the future and the past. It gives you a moment to be free and focus on yourself, nature, and the universe. “Keeping our minds focused on what we are doing and how we are feeling. This is a way to bring the spirit of yoga and the feeling of calm into our daily lives,” Asman said. 

Like most courses this Spring semester, GCC yoga classes are now online. In MacBean’s class, students try yoga practice at home along with the videos recorded by professor MacBean, teaching and leading remotely, on Canvas. They also have a discussion on Canvas to learn more deeply about yoga. Asman’s class has come up with a unique idea that is trying small yoga movements on the couch, called couch yoga. The couch yoga is for students who are dealing with situations where they are busy, have families at home, and lack enough space to move to be comfortable to continue yoga practice. Among a lot of videos that lead you to the moment of yoga found on the internet, El Vaquero found the video from a streaming service that shows how couch yoga works. As MacBean said, “Doing even 5-15 minutes of yoga, deep breathing, stretching and mindfulness each day can deeply affect your state of mind, your brain function, and your physical well being,” this 13 minutes couch yoga video might affect you a lot. Here is the link: bit.ly/CouchYogaVideo

 

 Annie Otsuka can be reached at [email protected]