Exercises linked to stress relief and relaxation

Originally published in the December 16, 2016 edition of The Chronicle.

Yoga is more than trees and sun salutations.

A study done at the Ohio State University and later published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology said that yoga reduces inflammation and fatigue, as well as the risk of diseases such as heart disease and arthritis.

Senior and Yoga Club founder Nealofar Madani said that yoga has been beneficial to her in multiple ways.

“I’m noticing more flexibility (and) more balance,” Madani said. “I feel like (I have) more control and more awareness of my body, mind, and thoughts.”

Senior and former Drishtiq Yoga employee Maddy Walouke said taking up yoga can help students practice concentrating their focus on a single task.

“It’s getting harder and harder for teenagers to focus on one thing mindfully,” Walouke said. “I feel like yoga is a really good way to practice and to exercise your mind to only focus on one thing. In doing that, it can help you be more mindful in the future in other things you’re doing.”

Madani said students can use yoga to counteract daily chaos and stresses.

“Especially for students, I know that there’s so much stress because of school and AP classes and standardized tests, as well as life in general,” Madani said. “It’s a great way to release stress in a healthy way and stay positive.”

Walouke said physical contact athletes participate in yoga to safely recover from an injury.

“In my experience, a lot of people start coming to yoga because they have some sort of pain,” Walouke said. “They’re athletes, they have some sort of injury that is not allowing them to do what they need to do, and yoga is a really good tool for healing and exercising those injuries in a really safe and healthy way instead of getting back on their feet and continuing because that would make the injury worse.”

Senior football player Josh Stewart said the football team uses yoga to properly recover after games.

“With the football team, we use yoga to our advantage for recovery after games,” Stewart said. “After games, we get in there Saturday mornings and we do our lift and we do yoga. It’s just to stretch us out and get all the lactic acid out of our muscles so that way we can recover faster.”

There has been a significant reduction in muscle soreness after starting yoga, Stewart said.

“I definitely see benefits just with the amount of soreness after games,” Stewart said. “We didn’t do yoga last season and I was sore all the time. This season we started doing it Saturdays and it’s made a big difference in my level of soreness.”

Bethesda Certified Athletic Trainer Kim Joest said that yoga is beneficial to athletes because it creates more flexible muscles that can easily remove lactic acid.

“Lactic acid builds up in the muscle,” Joest said. “We always describe it as dirty water–we want to get it out. By stretching and gaining flexibility helps get that back into the system so then it can be flushed out from your body.”

Madani said it’s advantageous for beginners to start simple.

“I would definitely say to start with beginner classes and move up,” Madani said. “There are so many opportunities for yoga. Start easy; don’t push yourself. It’s really cool to build–you’ll eventually be able to do poses you never thought you could do.”

Students should make their health more of a priority and take action to maintain it, Walouke said.

“A lot of students put their health as secondary, when your health is so important,” Walkouke said. “Students should be investing more time than they already are in things like yoga. That is going to make your mind work more efficiently as well.”

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