Mental and physical benefits of yoga can help reduce stress

Story by Stacie Gaetz


Photos by iStock

There is no doubt about it, the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past three months is taking its toll on all of us.

Uncertainty in the job market, new family dynamics with working from home, distance learning for the kids, cancelled vacations and plans, and the ongoing fear of catching the virus – it’s taking a toll on our mental health.

These are just some of the reasons many people are turning to alternative methods of relaxation and mindfulness that they may not have tried otherwise.

One of these methods is yoga.

“From my perspective, yoga allows an individual to come into stillness, allowing them to connect with their inner self and thoughts,” said Michelle Wagner, founder of Om’ies Yoga.

“When you connect with that inner self, you slow down and recognize thoughts, feelings and how those things are impacting you.”

She added if people took more time to connect with their breath and just notice how they are feeling, we all would be happier and healthier.

“The slowness of yoga prompts you to get into this zone every time you practice.”

Wagner has been a yoga instructor since 2016 and has been practicing since the mid-1990s.

She started her practice because she was overweight and struggling with back pain. After practicing yoga as a way to manage her pain through stretching, she was able to build up strength, allowing her to run, go to the gym and eventually lose 60 pounds.

“Yoga changed my world and if I could help someone else, even with the first step of making a life change, I wanted to be able to help,” she said.

She now provides private yoga classes through Om’ies Yoga. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, she has switched her practice from in-person to virtual classes.

“Yoga is an amazing activity and something that can benefit everyone throughout their lifetime,” she said.

“Virtual yoga is great and there are some wonderful instructors online. I do recommend going to an in-person class or having private sessions every once in a while, if you’re doing virtual classes.  An in-person professional can point out your form or tips for your practice that you wouldn’t get virtually.”

Wagner said yoga is beneficial for people of all ages.

“There has been a lot of research over the years to speak to the benefits of yoga and disease management, mental and physical wellness,” she said.

“People quite often come to yoga for the physical practice and stay due to the profound impact it has on their overall well-being. It’s life-changing.”

For more information on Om’ies Yoga, click here.