Did You Know September is National Yoga Month?

by Samantha Albala


Whether you are a full-time yoga lover or a heavy skeptic of the spiritual practice, this month you can experience some yoga studios in your area for F-R-E-E at over 1,600 participating studios all over the country! Thanks to the Department of Health and Human Services, for the last four years, September has been deemed a national yoga month! The Yoga Health Foundation is providing plenty of educational information and a way to link up to your local yoga studios for a week of free classes. Try Bikram Yoga NYC if you’re in the Big Apple, City Yoga if you’re in LA, or search your own location at TheYogaHealthFoundation.org.

Why yoga and not aerobics, spinning, or any of the other daunting exercises classes you see at the gym? Well, maybe because it is so spiritual, and helps people connect and be in-tune with themselves. You can find a number of studies on The Yoga Health Foundation’s websites that show yoga can help reduce, prevent, and sometimes eliminate symptoms of health problems such as obesity, hypertension, heart disease, breast cancer, menopause, chronic back pain, asthma, depression, carpal tunnel syndrome, and arthritis! That’s quite a lot of relief for a workout that is so relaxing. 

I know all exercise aids in reducing health problems, but there are so many forms of yoga that often people with injuries are able to make adjustments to take classes and improve their health and well being.

I would never say that anyone MUST try yoga, but I know when I am stressed out, a week of going into a studio or even following along with videos on YouTube makes me feel so much more clear headed and helps me to focus on the important things in my life. I don’t know if it is the very long Savasana that usually ends a class, or any brief period of meditation or intention setting, but the time given to reflect during a yoga practice, and to detach from the outside workday, is usually empowering (for me anyway). I remember the first time I felt comfortable in yoga was during a free college class. The student teacher said, “This isn’t a place to hold in your stomach or to look at whatever anyone else is doing. This time is for you. This is the time to learn about your self.” I never felt so freed from the self-conscious weirdness that sometimes comes with working out in front of other people.

I hope that if this month isn’t the month that you will explore yoga that you will somehow explore something else that is empowering. I hope someone tells you or shows for at least an hour everyday that you are entitled to focus on yourself, your health, your beauty, your mind, and to strengthen it everyday. Namaste. 

Some Yogis that you can check out before you decide to head out to a classroom include the lovely Tara Stiles, Sarah Beth, Robin Downes, and Zao who are all very unique and fun!  

Photos via Fuckyeahyoga.tumblr.com. and YogaJournal.com

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