Exercise has many benefits — it can build muscle, increase endurance, help you lose weight, or relieve stress. While running, biking, swimming and lifting weights might be among the activities considered to be the “traditional” forms of exercise, they are not the only options available.
If you’re looking for something a little bit different — an exercise that is less competitive but challenges your mind and body while combining strength, stability, breathing and movement — you may want to consider trying yoga.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient practice that began in India in 3000 B.C.. Its main purpose was “to achieve harmony between the heart and soul on the path to divine enlightenment.” And this makes sense, since the Sanskrit word yoga has been translated to mean “to control”, “to unite”, “joining”, or “union.”
Today, yoga has been credited with both its spiritual and physical benefits.
Benefits of Yoga
Michele Hoppe is the yoga instructor at The Barn, and says the benefits of yoga are immense.
“Studies have shown that yoga can reduce chronic pain, promote sleep quality and address symptoms of many other chronic health conditions,” she says. “It also increases body awareness, relieves stress, sharpens concentration, reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression and leads to a healthier lifestyle overall.”
She says yoga is a good alternative to traditional cardio exercise because it’s easier on your joints. It increases flexibility, improves muscle tone and strengthens overall balance.
Yoga is an exercise that can be practiced at any age no matter your fitness or skill level. Since yoga prepares your mind to be quiet enough to meditate if you choose to, Michele says a quiet space is the most optimal to practice yoga. She builds a few minutes of rest into the end of her yoga classes for meditation.
“Yoga is not just a physical form of exercise,” she says. “It benefits the mind, body and spirit. It teaches you to look inward, build awareness and to really listen.”
Yoga at The Barn
There are many types of yoga, but Michele teaches a Vinyasa Flow Yoga class at The Barn on Monday nights from 6-7 p.m. Vinyasa Flow Yoga links a series of poses with breathing that flows smoothly into one another. It’s one of the most common types of yoga and is approachable for beginner and advanced practitioners.
Michele has been practicing yoga as a student since 2011. She completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training from Yoga on High in July of 2016, and is also an iRest Level 1 Teacher, Certified Stand Up Paddle Board Instructor and World Paddle Association Level 1 Certified.
With so many benefits and no pressure to be competitive or at a certain fitness level to start, yoga can be a great exercise option for many. We would love to have you join us for Michele’s Monday night yoga classes! You can stay up to date with The Barn’s yoga class schedule by visiting their website. You can also learn more about Michele, yoga, and its many poses, by following Michele on Instagram at @michelereneehoppe.