Hey guys! Did you know that #StressLessWeek is coming on the UNSW campus?! Term 1 has been quite pushy, and it is an understatement to say that we all need a bit of time to breathe. Besides, isn’t it the perfect time to give yoga a try?
To begin, don’t make the same mistake as me by judging the spiritual discipline on stereotypes. I am going to give you the reasons why I think yoga is terrific, and it might just convince you to give a try (or a second try) to the practice of this ancient Indian art, for a healthier body and mind.
A Single Motto on Stress Less Week – Forget BUSY, be HAPPY!
To help us release negative energy and get back on our feet, Arc – our student organisation at UNSW – is going to run lots of lovely events next week. Because “stress can get the better of all of us,” come on campus from April 9 to 11 (Week 8) and get your batteries recharged!
See what’s on the schedule and take advantage of this great opportunity. Learn better techniques to deal with stress, share free food and chilling moments with your mates! Relax while you’re getting the tools you need to finish the first quarter of 2019 on a solid note.
To join some of the activities, like sports or cooking workshops, you’ll have to register. No worries though, as always with Arc, these events are either free or inexpensive for us students.
The Yoga Boom – “Be the ENERGY you want to ATTRACT”
The two yoga workshops of Stress Less Week are already sold out! Decidedly, the lotus-position discipline continues to grow in popularity. According to Roy Morgan Research Institute, the yogic practices would have recorded a significant increase in the number of their participants in Australia.
If you are not one of the lucky guys who are going to discover yoga at Stress Less Week, don’t panic! There are still plenty of ways to give it a try. For instance, you could start from home with online videos. Even though it may help to get an idea about yoga, I would instead recommend you join a studio. The experience there is entirely different.
Indeed, practicing in a yoga studio is much more fun, energizing and challenging. In addition, and like for other gyms, you can easily take a free trial. On campus, you might be interested in joining the UNSW YMCA and its daily yoga classes, or the UNSW Yoga Club.
To explore the different types of yoga and find your fit, you should have a look at this beginner’s guide from The Guardian. While some styles are quite slow, others are somewhat dynamic. That’s notably the case of Vinyasa yoga – I am going to say more on that in a moment.
Excellent Reasons to Get on The Mat – The BENEFITS of the HINDU PHILOSOPHY
Modern science has proven that the practice of yoga brings physical and emotional well-being. The Medical School of Harvard has published several articles to inform the public about yoga advantages. On the school’s website, they provide “trusted advice for a healthier life.”
Therefore, among its numerous benefits, yoga will bring you a better body image and self-esteem, transform you in a mindful eater (increasing your mindfulness), help you to lose weight and maintain it, reduce your anxiety, increase your exercise capacity (muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility), as well as enhance your cardiovascular health – “Yoga – Benefits Beyond the Mat.” Yoga is also very helpful for the joints’ flexibility, as well as to release from back pain – “The physical benefits of yoga” (Harvard Health Publishing).
How Did It Start for Me?
I love sports and nature, and I am a person quite interested in everything related to wellness and fitness. But for some obscure reasons, my vision of yoga was kind of negative. Yoga seemed boring and slow as a sloth to me!
In France, I had a friend who were trying sooo hard to get me into yoga! That was super annoying by the way, we all know someone who bothered us with yoga, don’t we? So, I used to laugh when she invited me to join her weekly yoga classes. No way! Eeew!
Besides, I had found my balance through other sports including outdoor running and body workouts at the gym. One day though, I followed her in a class and gave yoga a try. Finally, that wasn’t so bad... But I wasn’t a big fan either – I had not yet found the right style and teacher for me.
Then, when I moved from France to Sydney to pursue a Masters in Journalism and Communication, I started to feel the need to find a new activity. I needed to relax from the busy city life, and the Uni assessments. That is how, a few months ago, I gave yoga a second chance.
One of My FAVOURITE Things in Sydney – Empowering TRANSFORMATION Through VINYASA Yoga!
I fell in love with Bodymindlife studios! A good starting point was that it is close to my place. And this time I chose a studio offering heated Vinyasa yoga.
I purchased the 28-day Intropass, a cost-effective entry pass with no lock-in.
After a few Yoga Essentials classes to learn the fundamentals, I joined the Open Yoga classes: “An energetic yoga flow with strong poses and creative sequencing, designed to challenge and inspire both physically and mentally.” That was perfect for my Yang energy! I’ve been in love with the Open classes ever since.
Did I mention that mint soap that smells wonderful in Bodymindlife showers? That's INSANE! I highly suspect the presence of a love-potion in its composition...
At Bodymindlife, you can also find Yin Yoga (gentler), Yoga Mind (meditative), Prenatal Yoga, Yoga Progressive (for advanced students) and Pilates classes. Heated yoga (Hot Yoga) increases the effects of the practice. The room temperature is usually of 28°/30°C.
Classes differ according to the teacher. My three favourites are:
▪ Christian Ralston: Yoga teacher and DJ. His classes are great body workouts, and it’s in music (Yoga Jam style).
▪ Ari Levanael: Yoga teacher and aerial acrobat. With Ari, we hold strong postures (Forrest Yoga style) and practice creative mandala flow sequences.
▪ Bevan Pfeiffer: I like his dance teacher style. With Bevan, we go deeper into yoga poses to improve our flexibility. That’s better!
NB: Ari and Bevan don’t always play music in their classes, but when they do it adds other great vibes to the exercise!
Yoga Is for Both MALE And FEMALE. And Remember That ANY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY Is GOOD for You.
Yoga is not reserved for girls or flexible individuals. Besides, you will improve flexibility over time.
My boyfriend is always seeking sensation in sport. He loves high-performance sport, kayaking, surfing, snowboarding, as well as CrossFit Training. Yet he loved yoga at Bodymindlife (and I think he didn’t even use the mint soap!). His favourite teachers were Christian and Ari.
Gina Pinget, my Australian friend, is studying a Masters of Environmental Management at UNSW. Gina also shares the love of sports. She goes to the gym and does a range of classes including yoga, HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and other bodyweight-based exercises. Gina even does circus aerials:
“I like the variety as I feel as though I'm working every part of my body and it keeps life interesting. Otherwise, I'm sitting at my desk all day, not feeling very good about myself. Circus aerials is a fun challenge in both flexibility and strength. I love being active!”
Her experience in yoga is more Hatha-based at the gym. “Which I like,” she says “because it keeps me flexible and it teaches you patience as you have to work slowly and breathe through exercises, whereas I usually tend to rush things and be more high energy! Slowing down is something I like to work on!”
I believe that many sports can bring us well-being and healthy living, by helping to release pressure and feel good in our bodies. Those bodies have indeed the capacity of making us feel better if we know how to use them. Do not neglect then the benefits of proper stretching! It will also prevent you from hurting yourselves in other sports or daily movements.
One last advice: The more you do physical activity, the more you get used to it and learn to appreciate it. It doesn’t need to be cardio. But it must be done progressively, and you should always remain kind, grateful, and patient with yourself. Be nice to others too; the little acts of kindness can make a difference in people’s lives.
Personally, I need to have my balance back between my running at Centennial Park and the yoga classes. I completely lost it a few weeks ago, choked by the flow of work. Like what I still have a lot to improve!
Wishing you all the best!
Ancient Sanskrit greeting meaning “I bow to the divine in you.”