Opinion: ASU students should do yoga

The impacts of yoga extend beyond what students may think

Many people steer away from yoga because of the belief that yoga has no measurable effects.

However, recent research in psychology and neuroscience through Texas State University has shown that yoga improves working memory and attentive mindfulness. 

For some people, improvements in memory is not enough of a reason to get into yoga, nor is it one of the main reasons people continue practicing yoga.

Yoga has many benefits that are commonly overlooked, with takeaways that are vast including targeting stress and increasing strength and perspective.

According to a 2016 annual report from the Center for Collegiate Mental Health, 61 percent of college students reported seeking counseling services to treat anxiety, including 45 percent of who reported dealing with stress.

Along with the enriching aspects of yoga, it can be a means for students to target their stress. The Mayo Clinic lists yoga as a form of stress management, stating the yoga is an integrative approach to mental and physical disciplines.

Sarah Murray, president of the ASU Bhakti Yoga Club and a senior studying biological sciences, has been practicing yoga for about six years and is teaching yoga for her second year at the Sun Devil Fitness Complex.

Murray described her practicing of yoga as both a mind and body experience. She touched on aspects of her emotions, mentality and athleticism. 

“It’s my responsibility to choose my own happiness, and to choose my own experience on the mat and off the mat,” Murray stated. 

The way yoga seems to allow people, such as Murray, to immerse themselves in the practice is greatly similar to the way people regard working out as creating a positive mood or a confident attitude. Yet, when the same claims are made towards yoga, people seem to have qualms about the credibility of those claims.

“It’s not about your ability, it’s about the experience and the feelings, and the sensations that you create on the mat,” Murray said. 

These types of claims that are made about yoga may be anecdotal, but they’re also real experiences that shouldn''t be overlooked.

“There’s a saying that you never do yoga, you practice it," Murray said. "I think when people have the mentality that yoga isn’t for them, those are the people that I say, ‘Maybe not, but you should really try it and see, because you might be making assumptions about yourself that aren’t helpful for you.’”

Reach the columnist at msharm28@asu.edu and follow @MarkSharma96 on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the authors’ and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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