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Yoga is a physical and mental health practice where breath is combined with movement. As yoga instructor myself, I can personally attest to the great benefits of yoga including: stress reduction, increase oxygen flow in the body, improved mental and physical balance, and more (Woodyard, 2011). The practice of yoga can be used to improve a person’s physical status, but also serves to decrease depression and anxiety levels in the body (Mangolini, Andrade, Lotufo-Neto, & Wang, 2019). A consistent yoga practice has the potential to improve a person’s depression or anxiety levels and provide steady results without negative side effects (such as a side effect medication might offer) (Woodyard, 2011). Yoga can even increase serotonin levels while decreasing monamine oxidase (the enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters and cortisol) (Woodyard, 2011). Considering all the benefits yoga has and the fact that it can be practiced anywhere, public health professionals should adapt their mindset to yoga and encourage everyone to try it.
Yoga has been gaining “momentum as a popular and evidence-based, integrative health care and self-care practice” in recent years (Brems, Justice, Sulenes, Girasa, Ray, Davis, Freitas, Shean, and Colgan, 2015). Some suggest that people are turning to yoga practices as an “accessible, acceptable, and cost effective” (compared to the cost of medicine) “practice for mind and body” (Rani, 2017). Furthermore, yoga has been deemed as not solely a practice for weight loss, but a practice for “healing” (Brems, Justice, Sulenes, Girasa, Ray, Davis, Freitas, Shean, & Colgan, 2015). Scientifically speaking, yoga has been found to “regulate adrenal gland[s] … boosts immune system functionality … release tension in limbs … and maintain [the] nervous system” (Rani, 2017).
On Baylor’s campus, the Wellness Department is dedicated to serving students, faculty, and staff on their individual wellness paths. The Wellness Department’s mission is to “provide health education programs and services that help Baylor students develop healthy lifestyles and cultivate a culture of wellness on campus through knowledge and behavior change” (Baylor Wellness Department, 2019). In order to live out their mission, the Wellness Department is broken up into three branches: the Beauchamp Addiction and Recovery Center (BARC), Education and Outreach, and FitWell program. Each of these three sectors within the Wellness department work both independently and cohesively to produce Wellness events and services for the entire Baylor population. The Wellness program offers the onsite FitWell program for students, faculty, and staff called. An opportunity to find a steady yoga practice on Baylor’s campus is present in the FitWell program through they many weekly yoga class offerings.
Even in the midst of a global pandemic, the FitWell department works hard to provide online yoga classes! You can follow FitWell on Instagram using @baylorfitwell or like the Facebook page “Baylor FitWell”. We are here for you.
Baylor University Wellness Department (2019). Retrieved from: https://www.baylor.edu/wellness/
Baylor University FitWell (2019). Retrieved from: https://www.baylor.edu/wellness/index.php?id=929285
Brems, C., Justice, L., Sulenes, K., Girasa, L., Ray, J., Davis, M., … Colgan, D. (2015). Improving access to yoga: barriers to and motivators for practice among health professions students. Advances In Mind Body Medicine, 29(3):6-13. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26026151.
Mangolini, Vitor Iglesias, Andrade, Laura Helena, Lotufo-Neto, Francisco, & Wang, Yuan-Pang. (2019). Treatment of anxiety disorders in clinical practice: a critical overview of recent systematic evidence. Clinics, 74. Retrieved from https://dx.doi.org/10.6061/clinics/2019/e1316.
Rani, Reena (2017). Yoga and meditation- benefits of yoga and meditation in healthy lifestyle. International Journal of Physical Education and Sports, 2(11): 42-44.
Woodyard, Catherine (2011). Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life. International Journal of Yoga, 4(2): 49-54.