Photo by Andrew Grant

Yoga is everywhere you look. Driving through my town of Naperville, I pass ten yoga studios on my way to the store. For many years I dismissed yoga because I thought it would make me (get this) too flexible. However, recently I’ve found yoga in my life and its turned out to balance my Pilates and ballet training. I started practicing as a cross training method for marathon training, but soon realized how much strength I was gaining in body and mind. In the past few weeks my legs have reached new heights in développé, I can balance longer, and I’ve been able to let go of stress easily. Although there are some aspects of yoga I struggle with, I do appreciate the strength of Om.

Ever wonder what yoga is all about? Here’s some basic information for your education:

  • It was created in India and has been practiced for over 5,000 years.
  • The word Yoga is derived from the word yugam which means “unite” or “to join.”
  • Yoga aspires to liberation and self-knowledge through meditation.
  • Yoga is a series of specific poses with controlled breathing, that start by standing, then sitting, and finish laying down. In some forms of Yoga meditation and chanting are involved.
  • Breath in Yoga is used to center the body in meditation while performing “asanas,” postures.
  • Yoga at times requires tools such as towels, blocks, or straps to help attain positions or increase a stretch.
  • The full body and mind are used throughout each Yoga pose to make the position complete.
  • Benefits of Yoga are strengthening your cardiovascular system, toning and stretching your muscles, and improving your mental fitness.