Discovering the Benefits of Yoga for College Women

By Megan O’Connell, Student at University of Wisconsin – Platteville

As college women who have a lot on our plates, Yoga is the perfect opportunity to take a break from the everyday chaos.

Between keeping up with schoolwork, sorority events, part-time jobs and who knows what else, it’s easy to forget to set aside "me time." Yoga can offer us the perfect "me time" to interact with our minds and bodies on a relaxed and spiritual level.

According to the recent documentary "Yogawoman," “Yoga was brought to the west from India by a lineage of male teachers. Now there’s generation of women who are leading the way. They’re strong, they’re inspiring and they’re radically changing people’s lives.”

What’s all the hype about? Yoga instructors and one of their yogi students were kind enough to offer some insight on the benefits of the tradition.

Married couple Jeff Wright and Tracey Roberts own People’s Yoga in Platteville, Wisc. Wright has been practicing for 35 years and teaching for 25. Roberts has been practicing for 10 years and teaching for seven.

When asked why they do and teach Yoga, they replied, “We both love to teach Yoga and help others learn a productive and non-competitive activity for mind and body.”

Wright is a very devoted yogi and practices about two hours a day. It keeps him fit and pain-free and allows him to stay calm and focused. Roberts finds it hard to practice every day around her full-time work schedule but does short Yoga practices several times a week. It may be sitting and focusing on deep breathing or it might be a half-hour vigorous asana practice.

“Committed Yoga practice done with joy and lack of competition brings a great feeling of freedom. It opens the heart to others and the quiet practice allows one to find their true center,” she said.

When asked what the noticeable health benefits were for Wright and Roberts, they had a lot to say.

“Focus on what really matters in life – love, health, joy. A body, that even as we age, feels bright and capable. Even in times of sickness, when the body does not feel well, a person who knows Yoga can practice beneficial breathing techniques and can stay in the present moment, dealing with the hardships in life with more grace.”

Jessica Weber, a University of Wisconsin-Platteville student, has been doing Yoga for four years now at People’s Yoga. Weber has taken classes with both Wright and Roberts.

She started doing Yoga as a stress reliever as well as a way to keep her muscles flexible and relaxed, as she is also a runner.

“Yoga has changed my life. I do some Yoga every day. It is not only a practice I set aside time to do, but there are so many little aspects of Yoga that I incorporate into my everyday routine," she said.

In addition to helping Weber with her knee pain, she says it also helps her to relax her muscles.

"As a future teacher, I know I am going to incorporate many Yoga practices into my classroom," she says. "I also hope to become a certified instructor in the near future.”

Weber uses Yoga as an escape from the everyday chaotic life of a busy college student.

“It's time for me, away from homework, lesson plans, my computer, my phone, etc. Sometimes I feel like my days are so jam-packed I don't even have time to simply be … with Yoga, I am allowed to focus on just myself without any distractions. “

Weber encourages other women to participate in Yoga because she says it is wonderful for the body and the soul.

"Not only does Yoga help my body, but also it helps me to connect with my body on a level that couldn't be done without Yoga. I feel better physically and emotionally after Yoga," she says. "It's 'me time' and too often we forget to allow that time. Sign up for a Yoga class and you'll be guaranteed some time to yourself for total relaxation!”

Image: Ambro /

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