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National Yoga Month

September 15, 2010

September is national yoga month, and around the country yoga studios and instructors are hosting free classes. National yoga month is a great time to try yoga if you’ve never done so before. Other than free classes happening daily, which you can find here, you can also get one week free at participating yoga studios which can be redeemed during September and October.

From talking to many people, I’ve found there are many misconceptions to yoga, especially in the African-American community. That yoga is for vegetarians. You have to be Buddhist or a monk. You have to be super flexible. I’ve even heard yoga referred to as a “cult”. The truth is, these are all false. Yoga is no “cult” in the culturally negative aspect of the word. In it’s very function and practice people come together and complete the same motions and rhythms, which is no different from a dance class or church service. Secondly, there are many different yoga styles and flow of the class depending on the instructor. I’ve been to a handful of different classes, and in the core, I’ve found that yoga is about having a greater awareness and connection of the ways in which you as an individual connect with the larger world. Because we all do connect to the larger world. Above all, there are a lot of people, include myself when I first started, who do not understand what Yoga is, what it entails and the benefits of regular practice. After taking my first class I could not explain what yoga was, besides the fact that we were stretching, and when people ask me what yoga is, that is what I tell them. That yoga is a form of exercise where you stretch your muscles and focus on building strength in your body. During a yoga class you also focus on breathing and stretching. I’ve found that since taking yoga, I have less pain in my body and I am able to push my endurance more when working out.

Anyone and everyone can take a yoga class and gain something from that experience. Like stated, yoga focuses on an awareness of your breath which helps your stretches push deeper. I am an early 20s, meat-eating, Christian, who started this summer and I am so grateful that I have begun taking yoga classes as a supplement to my exercise routine.

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If anyone is in Chicago throughout the month of September a Yogahouse teacher will lead a free class at Lululemon Athletica (930 N. Rush) from 9 to 10 AM. There is no need to have a mat, just stop by for some yoga!

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