September is All About National Yoga Month

by Samantha Bitterman

A lot of people think yoga is just about getting fit and working out to break a sweat, but yoga is so much more than that, it’s not always about what you are doing on the mat.

Central Michigan University’s physical education and sports professor, Andrew Criswell, who teaches several yoga classes, knows yoga is all about peace of mind.

“The fact that the effects that yoga has on your body are significant, but there are so many things you can do to take care of your body, but nothing will give you the peace of mind that yoga does, and that’s what is really unique to yoga,” said Criswell.

Yoga has several benefits like increasing your flexibility and muscle strength, and it also improves your energy and health.

But yoga can also take a lot out of you, so you need to know how to properly prepare for yoga. Some of the basic steps to prepare for yoga are to take care of yourself, eat right, get enough sleep, and try not to stress. 

Criswell mentions what he does himself to prepare for yoga, “What prepares me, is my daily meditation practice every morning, I meditate. In fact, between classes I meditate, it’s the most important part of yoga, by far.”

Yoga can be hard to get into, so here are some tips for beginners: find a good yoga teacher, breathe, know when you have done enough, wear loose and comfortable clothes, don’t compare yourself with others, and the most important one is to relax. Don’t forget your yoga mat too!

Criswell explains the top five things to know about yoga: “Starting at number five, yoga is not a workout, but it can be. Number four, yoga is a personal practice, and you can do it any way you want. Number three, anybody can do yoga, as long as you have a mind and a body. Number two, in order for it to be yoga, you have to become more self-aware. And number one, never do anything that hurts.”

Yoga teaches you about self-care, enhances your breathing ability, decreases depression, anxiety, and stress, and you gain better focus.

Take some special time and enjoy some relaxing meditation and yoga for National Yoga Month.