Monday, February 15, 2016

Yay or nay to Namaste?

So as promised, I have made some time for myself this past week to investigate a different stress reduction technique (though I have not abandoned my adult colouring book). This week I decided to focus my attention on yoga - one of the first practices that comes to my mind when talking about stress relief.

I've tried yoga in past years and to be honest, have never really been a fan. I'm not incredibly flexible or spiritual and so I think in my past yoga experiences I have approached the practice with a closed mind... and that was my first mistake.

I've heard so many people rave about the benefits of yoga and how great it makes others feel and so I attempted to open my mind and give it another try. I wasn't entirely sure where to start as I wasn't looking to spend any money. There are some gyms and yoga studios with free trial classes, but what if I ended up really liking it? With graduation around the corner I'm looking to save the little money I have rather than spending it on yoga classes. In addition, I've committed to this project for not only my own stress relief, but to share these strategies with other students, so I'm trying to keep everything I post about realistic and affordable. Rather than to scrap the idea, I decided I would give yoga a try at home. I was going to invest in a DVD when I decided to go to youtube instead... and I'm so thankful I did!

I found a youtube channel that I absolutely fell in love with, it's called Yoga with Adriene. Adriene offers free yoga videos from beginner level to advanced, for different moods, different locations, targeting different body parts and more - it's definitely a channel worth checking out. For me personally, I found these videos to be perfect for a few reasons. Firstly, Adriene is really down to earth. As I mentioned, I'm not the most spiritual person, and though she doesn't disregard the spiritual aspects of yoga, she cracks a joke every now and again, talks about her own experiences learning the practice and is really able to make you laugh and feel good about yourself. I also love her videos because you can pick a certain amount of time you want to commit to yoga (she has her videos organized on her channel by time). I have started with her 30 day yoga challenge, I'm only about 5 days in as I haven't done it everyday, but so far the videos vary in length and I know that if I set aside a half hour a day I'll be able to complete to video. Below is the day one video if you want to get started.

Though I have been in and out of the practice of yoga for just over a week, going into it with an open mind has definitely been a positive experience for myself. I find it most effective in the morning. If I get up, do a half hour of yoga and take a few minutes to sit, have a coffee and eat breakfast, it sets the tone for a less stressful and more productive day. 

Like colouring, yoga requires you to take some time away from your everyday stressors and focus on yourself. However, unlike colouring, yoga facilitates a strong connection between the mind and the body. Like I wrote about in my previous post, colouring is a great way to focus on your creativity and forget the world around you. Yoga is different in the sense that it doesn't necessarily cancel out your thoughts but gets you to become at ease with them. It allows you to focus on your mind, your breathing and leaves your body feeling stretched and refreshed throughout the day. 

That's the one benefit I have really enjoyed about yoga so far - not only my mind feels good, but also my body. In this next week I'm going to focus on more rigorous cardio and muscle toning exercises and see how those affect my stress levels in comparison to the peaceful practice of yoga. Be sure to look for my post later int the week. 

Until then I'll leave you with a good read by a fellow teacher candidate. Though yoga may or may not be a good stress reliever for you as a post-secondary student, it can be a great practice to use in the classroom. Check out the various benefits of implementing a yoga program in a primary classroom. 

YOGAtta try this in your class!

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