Yoga benefits the mind, body and spirit | Progress

ENID, Okla. — Yoga. The word alone evokes the feelings of calm and peace.

According to Psychology Today’s Dr. Marlynn Wei, a psychiatrist and therapist in New York City, more than 90% of people who start yoga do so for physical exercise, improved health or stress management.

However, she cited studies that have found most yoga students have a change of heart regarding why they practice yoga, going from the mindset of exercise to enjoying the spirituality of self-reflection, an awareness of self 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, who owns 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

The quieting of the mind — meditation — is another perk 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 said.

American Osteopathic Association concurs: “Regular yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness; increases body awareness; relieves stress patterns; relaxes the mind; centers attention; and sharpens concentration.”

Aerial yoga has additional benefits including decompression of the spine, joint support, deep tissue massage, circulatory system detox and body awareness, said Roberts-Wahl.

And the great thing about yoga is anyone can do it. There are no limits based on age, current health conditions or fitness levels. 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 poses to begin practicing yoga.

“It’s a fun, full-body workout not to be taken too seriously,” she said.

Getting started

Roberts-Wahl began practicing yoga five years ago, getting certified as an instructor not long after, and opened Rosebuds, 4215 N. 4th, in 2018. She will host certification training this March for those interested in teaching aerial yoga.

Hisey encourages folks to try out yoga in 2022.

“Start the new year off making yourself a priority and start making healthy changes for your mind and body,” she said.

Hisey started her own journey into yoga 10 years ago, certifying as an instructor six years into it. 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 generally are limited to 10 or less people to allow for individual guidance.

For newcomers to yoga, the following is recommended when practicing:

• Wear comfortable clothing, a fitted shirt and leggings or stretch pants.

• Remove jewelry and shoes.

• Use a mat (most studios will provide one if you don’t have your own).

• Avoid eating a large meal prior to practice.

Have an open mind

Rosebuds also offers a free community class once a month for people to come and see if aerial yoga is for them. Those can watch its Facebook page for interested information.

The key to starting yoga is simple, Hisey said. “Pause and take a deep breath, focus on the things around you that bring you joy and then exhale.”