ENID, Okla. —Yoga. The word alone evokes feelings of calm and peace.
According to Dr. Marlynn Wei of Psychology Today, a psychiatrist and therapist in New York, more than 90% of people who start yoga do so for physical exercise, improving their health or managing stress.
However, she cited studies that found that most yoga students change their minds about why they practice yoga, shifting from the mindset of exercise to the spirituality of being. self-reflection, self-awareness, or a sense of fulfilling their potential.
“I love yoga because of all the benefits it brings,” said yoga instructor Meg Hisey of Fly Fitness, an Enid fitness studio.
Yoga instructor Kristina Roberts-Wahl, owner of Rosebuds, an aerial yoga studio in North Enid, agreed.
They both cited the following health benefits of traditional yoga:
- • Reduces stress and anxiety
- • Boosts confidence and self-esteem
- • Strengthens muscles, including the heart
- • Tones the body
- • Improves flexibility
- • Promotes better sleep, better posture and better circulation
- • Balances hormones
- • Connects mind, body and spirit
Powers of Yoga
Stilling the mind – meditation – is another benefit of yoga.
“While all types of movement are healthy for your body, the practice of being still and focusing your attention is so beneficial for your mind,” Hisey says.
The American Osteopathic Association agrees: “Regular yoga practice creates mental clarity and calm; increases body awareness; relieves chronic stress patterns; relaxes the mind; center the attention; and sharpens concentration.
Aerial yoga has additional benefits, including spinal decompression, joint support, deep tissue massage, circulatory system detoxification and body awareness, Roberts-Wahl said.
And the great thing about yoga is that anyone can do it. There are no limits based on age, current health or fitness level. Whether you are young or old, overweight or fit, yoga has the power to calm the mind and strengthen the body.
Roberts-Wahl added that you don’t have to be a seasoned yogi familiar with the terminology or the poses to start practicing yoga.
“It’s a fun, full-body workout that’s not to be taken too seriously,” she said.
Roberts-Wahl started practicing yoga five years ago, earned her instructor certification soon after, and opened Rosebuds, 4215 N. 4th, in 2018. She will host certification training in March for those who wish to teach aerial yoga.
Hisey encourages people to try yoga in 2022.
“Start the new year making yourself a priority and start making healthy changes for your mind and body,” she said.
Hisey began his own yoga journey 10 years ago, certifying as an instructor six years later. She owned Balance Yoga + Barre in Enid; the physical studio closed at the end of last year. Hisey now teaches public and private classes at Fly Fitness Studio, 315 W. Cherokee, and hosts yoga retreats.
Yoga can be done in the comfort of home with free videos on YouTube or at one of the local studios, either privately with an instructor or with others in a class setting. Classes are generally limited to 10 people or less to allow for individual coaching.
For yoga beginners, the following is recommended when practicing:
• Wear comfortable clothes, a fitted shirt and leggings or stretchy pants.
• Remove jewelry and shoes.
• Use a mat (most studios will provide one if you don’t have one).
• Avoid having a heavy meal before training.
Have an open mind
Rosebuds also offers a free community class once a month for people to come see if aerial yoga is right for them. Interested people can watch his Facebook page for information.
The key to getting started in yoga is simple, Hisey said. “Pause and breathe deeply, focus on the things around you that bring you joy, then exhale.”