The Science of Yoga

The ancient art of yoga is a practice many people incorporate into their workouts to increase muscle flexibility and endurance. The tangible physical benefits of yoga can create a stronger body and a calmer mind.  We checked in with Campus Recreation yoga instructor, Rachel Morochnik to learn more about the science behind this practice.

 “While yoga is a slow and steady exercise, it does great things for your body,” said Morochnik. “Traditional exercises like weight-lifting only contract your muscles, which can make them prone to tears. Yoga, however, by incorporating both contracting and elongating of muscles, helps to both strengthen muscles and prevent bone breaks.” Yoga also offers physical benefits. Yoga can lessen chronic pain, reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and reduce insomnia. One specific type of exercise, inversions, are especially beneficial. “Inversions, getting your hips above your heart for thirty seconds to a minute, can improve digestion and increase metabolism. They also help with blood and oxygen flow, which can boost cognitive functions,” said Morochnik.

Regular yoga is also one of the best ways to improve mental clarity and increase mindfulness. A study conducted by the National Institute of Health said yoga was proven to be more effective than relaxation in improving mental health.  A lot of these benefits are rooted in mindfulness. “It’s easy to constantly be checking the clock. But, by bringing yourself to be truly present on the mat, you learn to truly enjoy the moment— which translates into mindfulness off the mat.  It helps you be present in every aspect of your life,” said Morochnik. This mindfulness is also effective in reducing stress. Studies have shown that regular yoga participation resulted in significant improvements in perceived stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. “A big stressor, especially at Tech, is worrying about the future. We think about the future constantly,” said Morochnik.  “Yoga, by reminding people to be where they’re at and focus on the present, helps prevent spirals and stress.”

Just because you haven’t mastered the tree pose or handstand doesn’t mean you can’t reap the benefits of yoga. Yoga is for everyone, beginners and connoisseurs alike. The CRC offers a variety of classes and times to fit every level and schedule. Check out the schedule at crc.gatech.edu/drop-in.

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  • Racel Morochnik

    Racel Morochnik