More People Discovering The Benefits of Yoga

By NATHALIE PENA
OSWEGO – With yoga becoming more popular, small cities like Oswego are able to have access to classes and receive its benefits.

As stated in the American Addiction Centers, “…according to data published by U.S. News & World Report, around 21 million Americans practice yoga, a number that has doubled in the past 10 years.”

Mia Fasanella conducts a class last week.
Mia Fasanella conducts a class last week.

Yoga has even been labeled as a trend in the United States because of its exponential growth.

“I don’t think it’s a trend,” Oswego Bikram Yoga studio owner, Sandy Eby said. “It’s going to get bigger. It’s here to stay.”

The practice has been able to continuously sustain itself for many years.

Yoga has been around for thousands of years as a universal practice to make people feel good, Eby said.

“The beginnings of Yoga were developed by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India more than 5,000 years ago,” according to Yoga Basics.

Even with the countless types of yoga practices, Eby chose to teach Bikram, a 26-pose sequence in a room of more than 95 degrees Fahrenheit in her Oswego studio. She had taught it in her home for seven years, before selling her home.

Eby did not find any Bikram Yoga studios in the Syracuse and Oswego area. So she saw a need for it in the city she has lived in all her life.

“I saw how many people were receiving so many benefits from it,” Eby said. “I could see the benefits in myself. I believe it really works.”

The benefits Eby witnessed involved diverse groups of people and issues.

They range from college students that have experienced constipation to no longer having the issue after taking Bikram classes; to other yoga students sleeping better and having lower blood pressure.

“The practice of breathing more deeply and fully allows us to lower our heart rate and blood pressure,” according to mindbodygreen.

SUNY Oswego’s Kubra Akturk agrees.

“I don’t do it as much as I would like to,” Akturk said. “I feel like it’s relaxing especially for my mind. Breathing is so stress relieving. I love the music that’s associated with it. It’s like good vibes.”

Eby emphasizes that in her yoga classes, there are students who range from really fit to overweight, to students in their 60s and college aged.

“You want to be healthy,” Eby said. “That’s the most important thing.”

The students do not care what the person next to them looks like because they are all there for similar reasons, she added.

Not only can this be seen in Oswego, but also in SUNY Oswego.

Everyone goes to the gym for different reasons, but it’s all for good reasons, said SUNY Oswego fitness centers manager, Brian Wallace.

If you ask people why they go to yoga classes, it’s probably a 50 percent chance for the physical benefits and the other 50 percent for the psychological benefits, Wallace said.

But, there is more of a psychological benefit because of the stress relief and energizing outcome that can all be of value to college students.

A SUNY Oswego student that has participated in the campus’ yoga classes as a student and an instructor is senior Mia Fasanella.

As a person with Type 1 diabetes, Fasanella has noticed that yoga helps lower her blood sugar and helps her mind when she has to manage the many things that go into treating her diabetes.

A group of students follow Mia Fasanella's lead recently during class.
A group of students follow Mia Fasanella’s lead recently during class.

As a yoga student, “it helps me de-stress,” Fasanella said. As a yoga instructor, she noticed that “it also helped me with public speaking in class.”

Being a teaching assistant in one of her classes, Fasanella treated it as if she was teaching a yoga class which has given her more public speaking confidence.

Fasanella has also received feedback from her yoga students after her classes. A student said that “they felt really great,” she said.

She enjoys meeting students and answering their questions about what positive effects they can have on their body from the practice, such as improving their posture.

SUNY Oswego has expanded its yoga classes because more students were responding well to them.

People wanted more alternatives and “the campus community seems to be able to support a yoga class every day,” Wallace said.

Instead of just yoga, there are now different categories throughout the week, from Vinyasa, to Undo and Renew, and Mobility Yoga.

The classes serve a larger purpose to bring new faces to the gym, Wallace said. The goal is to empower students that go.

Yoga instructors also feel empowered.

“I’ve had a rewarding feeling,” Eby said. To teach, get the training and “that you’re helping people.”

Nathalie Pena is a Journalism major with a French minor at SUNY Oswego