Alternative Ways to Exercise: Yoga Edition

For people looking for a soothing activity that strengthens muscles and increases flexibility, yoga is the suitable exercise. Yoga controls the mind and body through traditional physical and mental exercises that originated in India.

Yoga has been practiced for centuries and is a foundation of Hindu philosophy. However, its practices have been adopted by people all over the world and are quite popular among adults as well as teens today. Yoga is also more than a spiritual ritual. It is a physically stimulating workout that releases stress as well as improves qualities such as patience and control.

“I would describe yoga as a mental and physical exercise that helps you gain control and awareness of your body as well as discipline of the mind,” avid yogini (female participant) senior Mandeep Chahal said.

Yoga is a Sanskrit word meaning union. It consists of both physical positions and breathing exercises that work together to create a stronger mind-body relationship. The art of yoga is designed to help one feel more in sync with one’s body and life.

“I think yoga is a wonderful way to relax and the breathing techniques you learn really to help discipline your mind,” senior Neha Shah said. “It makes you believe in the power of the mind over the body.”

If practiced consistently, yoga can increase strength. Regular stretching permits people to utilize muscles past their original potentials. So long as yoga is practiced on a regular basis, one’s muscles and ligaments will continue to stretch and strengthen.

“It works a majority of the joints and muscles in the body in a healthy way,” Yoga of Los Altos owner Andi Bruno said.

Yoga of Los Altos is a popular yoga studio in downtown Los Altos. Located on 343 Second Street, classes are available here every day with droop-ins welcome at any time. Bruno says that athletes often drop in to practice yoga, as it’s very helpful for cross training.

It is a misconception that yoga requires extreme flexibility and endurance. Anyone can participate in yoga, as there are no restrictions based on abilities. The pace and the schedule are completely up to the individual, but it truly takes commitment of yoga to have an impact.

“For people who don’t regularly work out, they should take up yoga because it’s gentle and it provides them with the exercise that is easy to incorporate into their lives,” Overtime Fitness trainer senior Julie Tran said.

Overtime Fitness, like Yoga of Los Altos, offers yoga sessions regularly to both its members and those who wish to drop in. Every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, those who wish to participate in yoga classes can stop by Overtime Fitness, located at 1625 North Shoreline Boulevard in Mountain View. Fees are $10 for teens and $15 for adults.

The art of yoga is just as satisfying as any other sport. If taken seriously, yoga can better one’s physical fitness and health in a relaxing way.

“[Yoga is much more than] being able to touch your toes and stand on your head and all of the other preconceptions people have of it,” Mandeep said. “It’s more than just being able to hold a pose; it’s being able to concentrate and focus your energy and learning how to control your body.”