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Workout of the Month: 20-Minute Yoga

by Riley Sugarman

photography courtesy of Amanda Willis

Now that the semester is officially in full swing and midterms are about to begin, exercise becomes ever more important in daily life.

According to researchers at North Carolina State University, introducing exercise to students’ daily routines leads to an increase in GPA and graduation rate. Even just an extra hour of physical activity per week can make a difference.

Unfortunately, busy schedules and lack of energy can make regular exercise difficult to squeeze in during the week, and many students decide to omit physical activity all together. For those looking for a relaxing workout that can be done practically anytime, anywhere, try 20-minute yoga.

“Yoga is so good for students to disconnect and do some self-care,” said Jess Silva (CAS ’19). “It’s also easy on joints and low-impact, so those with need for low-impact activities will thrive.”

Results of a study conducted by Harvard Medical School found that yoga can regulate stress response, which can ease stress, depression and anxiety. While it is always important to seek professional help, trying yoga can be a natural and effective form of relief.

Belle Ferro (CAS ’20) recommends yoga to all students who want to add something new to their routines, whether they have a workout routine in place or not.

“Yoga is great to add to your day because it balances your body out and relaxes your brain, which has so many benefits for you, physically and mentally,” Ferro said.

Sylvia Baeyens (ENG ’20) suggests starting the day with Sun Salutations.

Sun Salutations consist of 12 poses and include the chanting of 12 mantras, if desired. According to Yogapedia, this is one of the most important yoga sequences, which also, “awakens the body’s intelligence to create energy directly from the sun.”

Starting the day off with Sun Salutations can bring relaxation, energy and strength to your morning and set the pace for the rest of the day. Waking up just 20 minutes earlier each day to complete a set is simple and effective, and you don’t even need to leave your dorm.

Try a calming sequence in the evening, or before bed, to relax the mind and body. Yoga Basics gives an example routine for anyone looking for a simple and calming exercise, consisting of 16 steps. This sequence can also be coupled with Basic Standing One or Two for a longer workout., a website dedicated to home workouts, has an essential flow sequence for beginners consisting of 16 basic poses, and even provides a “Cool Down & Yoga” playlist.

There is a type of yoga practice out there for anyone interested, ranging from beginner to advanced, and you don’t need any equipment to get started (yoga mats are optional, but recommended, especially on uncarpeted floors).

Looking to try a yoga class instead? Check out FitRec’s Mind/Body fitness classes to find one that works with your schedule and yoga level.

“If you’re busy with a workout routine already in place, do yoga, and if you don’t have one, still do yoga,” said Ferro.

Use Yogapedia to look up any terms or poses you are unfamiliar with.

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