Out on the town
Yoga pants, inspirational quotes and zen gardens. That’s what generally comes to mind when you think of yoga.
Actually, the word “yoga” means the union of the mind, body and soul. In terms of a simple math equation, mind plus body and soul equals peace.
There are no specific steps one must take to achieve a healthy lifestyle, especially when stress is thrown into the equation, but yoga is one particular exercise that can help.
September is National Yoga Month to spread awareness of the benefits of practicing yoga and to promote healthy lifestyles.
A typical yoga class is built upon exercise, breathing and meditation. Students learn breathing exercises, meditation techniques and poses that help strengthen their muscles and focus their minds.
Yoga can increase flexibility and muscle strength, improve respiration and reduce insomnia, according to the American Osteopathic Association.
In addition to the physical benefits it provides, yoga is also a means of stress-management in that it teaches coping skills and emphasizes the power of the mind.
“After working with kids all day I like to unwind and not think about anything,” junior elemetary education major Kasey Hohlbein said. “I just focus on what my body needs for recovery.
There are many different variations of yoga classes, but one in particular incorporates styles from across the spectrum.
Hatha yoga focuses on movements and postures along with breathing techniques and is very popular across the United States, according to fitday.com.
Butler’s Health and Recreation Complex offers hatha yoga classes four times a week. Stress release yoga and yoga for athletes and fitness are also taught at the HRC.
Meghan Levy, a senior communication sciences and disorders major, began her fourth semester of teaching yoga at the HRC this fall.
“(The job) has made me more calm,” Levy said. “After my classes, I feel a different type of relaxation compared to if I was a student. It also helps me with my public speaking skills.”
The HRC isn’t the only place Butler students can take yoga classes, though.
Last Saturday morning, Butler’s health education and outreach programs coordinator Sarah Diaz went to a yoga session called Class on Mass, which was hosted by Keystone Mall’s Lululemon Athletic store.
Class on Mass shut down Massachusetts Avenue between Alabama Street and New Jersey Street.
Diaz braved the cold morning to enjoy the complimentary yoga class. Surrounded by a sea of blue and purple yoga mats, Diaz was one of more than 150 Indianapolis yogis to attend the class.
“Yoga is like a pause button for me,” Diaz said. “It’s a great opportunity to focus on myself.”
Prepared with ear warmers and jackets, community members performed sun salutations and downward-facing dogs with the city’s skyline as their gazing point.
Diaz said she loves yoga because there is no competition.
Yoga beginners and veterans alike listened to Enya and smooth jazz, watching their reflections in the Mass Ave Toys storefront window. Despite the varying skill levels, everyone had one thing in common: their faces radiated with smiles.
Another benefit of yoga is its portability. You can put your yoga mat on the grass, studio floor or, in this case, on the asphalt.
You might not own a yoga mat or, frankly, be able to picture yourself enjoying the poses you see on Instagram. But no matter the circumstance, there are resources on Butler’s campus and in the city of Indianapolis that provide yoga experiences for students of all skill levels.
While Class on Mass is not held every Saturday, Lululemon holds free yoga classes each Saturday morning in the store. To check out Butler’s yoga classes, visit butler.edu, keyword “yoga classes.”
National Yoga Month only comes around once a year.