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The Mindful Practice Of Yoga

Breath In. Breath Out. If you have ever taken a yoga class or done any sort of meditation, you’ve probably heard these words. Recently, yoga has gained popularity as a method for physical and mental exercise. Christian Brothers supports the practice of yoga by offering a Mind & Body fitness class that is open to […]

Breath In. Breath Out. If you have ever taken a yoga class or done any sort of meditation, you’ve probably heard these words. Recently, yoga has gained popularity as a method for physical and mental exercise. Christian Brothers supports the practice of yoga by offering a Mind & Body fitness class that is open to all students. Many teachers in the CB community practice yoga regularly and have insight into how yoga can have positive benefits for students and teachers.

Assistant Director of Admissions Ms. Jana Morris ‘99 and Spanish instructor Ms. Anna Fernandez take yoga classes frequently and often go together. Ms. Morris started going to yoga first and soon was able to convince Ms. Fernandez to join her. Now they both love the practice.

“I joined and it was life changing,” said Ms. Fernandez with a smile.

The peaceful environment is one of the reasons why Ms. Morris was initially drawn to yoga. She didn’t like going to the gym and wanted a different, more calming experience while still getting all the benefits from a hard workout.

“One of the main focuses is affirmations, so it’s a very positive place. If you can’t do a pose they are very encouraging, if you need a modification, [the instructor] gives you one,” Ms. Morris said about her yoga class.

Ms. Morris and Ms. Fernandez practice Hot Yoga, which means they are doing yoga while in a room where the instructors turn the temperature to 95 degrees and above.

“You’re constantly moving. With each breath, you are doing a different pose,” Ms. Morris added about the workout. “It’s a really good workout, I burnt almost 700 calories in an hour and 15 minutes.”

For these two, it is not just about the physical benefits that keep them going back to the class. They also really like the mental aspect of yoga and the meditation that comes along with the practice.

Ms. Fernandez said that yoga is about “letting go of thoughts or whatever is happening in your life, putting that on pause, and focusing on yoga” and a time to “de-stress, relax, and breath.”

When people think of yoga, usually the first thing that comes to mind are the poses and the physical workout. However, there are many types of yoga that focus on connecting the mind, body, and spirit through meditation. With the increasing amount of pressure and stress that students in 2018 have to deal with, the physical and mental practice of yoga can not only improve health, but also provide mental relief and peace.

Social Studies Instructor Mr. Michael Hood is well-informed on the practice of mediation and speaks out about the benefits that students can receive while meditating.  

Mr. Hood was introduced to meditation in high school by his father and he was “very curious about it” from then on. Now he has implemented meditation into his everyday life and knows that his physical and mental health benefit.

“If I practice in the morning, I feel much more calm, less anxious, and clear-headed. If I don’t, the difference is a lot more noticeable, I’m a lot more jittery and I don’t think as clearly,” he said.

There are physical benefits that a person can receive while taking a few minutes each day to sit and focus on breathing and connecting the body and mind.

“It helps you physically. In the short term, it can make you calmer, more peaceful, and increases compassion. In the long term, it can reduce rate of heart attack, stroke, depression, and anxiety,” Mr. Hood continued.

Since students’ stress and anxiety levels increase throughout the school year, Mr. Hood discovered that he can help these overwhelmed students by introducing them to meditation in his classes.

“I have a group of people in the room that are bringing all their baggage, all their emotional stuff [to class],” Mr. Hood said. “Based on my own positive experience with it, I realized that I have this ability to affect everyone in a really good way.”

The students meditate at the beginning of each class for about two minutes, and while this is a very short amount of time, it is still a good time for everyone to relax and focus on being present for the class. Mr. Hood believes that people can really benefit from meditating, whether it be for spiritual purposes or just to improve one’s mental health.

The same can be said for the physical practice of yoga as well. Yoga can have different religious, physical, mental, and spiritual benefits/meanings for each person. Everyone can have their own experience because yoga is tailored to the individual and each person is in charge of their own physical and mental state.

“There is an opportunity for everyone,” said Ms. Morris. Ms. Fernandez agreed saying that “anyone should give it a try.”

Resources for Meditation: The Calm App can be downloaded to an iPad or phone and has multiple different meditations for different purposes.

Resources for Yoga: Mind and Body fitness class is offered at CB and multiple yoga studios around Sacramento

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