"I'm not flexible enough," or "I'd get too bored," are common excuses in regard to taking up yoga. I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't guilty of them myself, but the truth is that flexibility is 100% NOT a requirement, and the classes surprisingly fly by.

Coming back to school this semester, there were two things I knew for sure: 1) I wanted to be less stressed, and 2) I wanted to have enough time to focus on my well-being. Completely eliminating stressors is obviously no mundane task. Realistically, I was seeking something that could make coping with stress easier and put my mental and physical health as a priority. The answer I found, yoga, has changed my life by bringing relaxation into my routine and giving myself a space to be unapologetically myself. Here's why:

Monday: A Fresh Start 

pizza, beer, coffee
Jocelyn Gordon

Monday can be a stress trigger for people depending on their schedule, especially because the rest of the week's plans pile up and the to-do lists lengthen. Just like breakfast is the most important meal of the day, Monday is the most essential day of the week to set the tone for what's to come. Besides sweating much more than I expected, I noticed that I was able to carry the energy from the vinyasa yoga class throughout the rest of my day.

Actions like reminding myself to breathe and saying that I had enough time to finish my responsibilities worked miracles for my stress. The best part is that classes on campus are meant for all levels, so first-timers are not only welcomed but also encouraged.

(P.S. Vinyasa yoga essentially means that every movement is either associated with an inhale or exhale.)

Tuesday: Self-Love   

Jocelyn Gordon

At the beginning of each yoga class, participants have the option to set an intention. It can be personal or to simply be present for the full hour. On my second day of class, this time outdoor yoga, my instructor Janke Mains suggested that we dedicate our practice to ourselves, specifically self-love. This reminded me about the importance of wholeheartedly accepting ourselves exactly as we are and where we are on our journey.

Setting aside an hour in the middle of a busy day to focus on something I often neglect did wonders. Janke incorporated the happy baby pose because it captures the essence of self-love and care-free spirit of an infant.

Wednesday: Own Your Strength

beer, coffee, pizza
Jocelyn Gordon

Friday is so close, yet so far. It was on this day that I dedicated my practice to strength to help push me through the rest of the week. It's crazy how far an intention can take you in just an hour.

My yoga instructor shown above is the same teacher I had on Monday, and her name is Lisa-Nicole Roberts. She believes that yoga is something everyone can find a benefit in, even if you don't like the spiritual aspect. When she first started yoga, she wanted to be as good as everyone else. She has since found the virtue of patience and encourages others to go at their own pace as well.

"If every pose was easy, we wouldn't come back to our mats," and "It's a practice, not a performance," are some of my favorite sayings of hers.

Thursday: Ground Yourself

beer, grass
Jocelyn Gordon

The best part about outdoor yoga is that you genuinely feel connected to the earth on your mat. By being grounded both literally and figuratively, yoga helped me let go of internal and external pressures to be perfect, especially while doing a restorative child's pose.

Grounding myself also meant letting go of technology and distractors to find silence in a place that is constantly filled with noise. The last pose in every yoga class, known as final relaxation or shavasana, releases control of the breath for a few minutes to simply be.

Friday: Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe 

espresso, beer, coffee
Jocelyn Gordon

After a long week, it's easy to say that enough is enough. With a little help from a friend and fellow Spoon writer, Sammi Sontag, I was able to make yoga a part of my weekend routine. It was our mutual desire to incorporate yoga into our lives that helped us become accountable to each other and consequently, ourselves.

You'll be surprised how many like-minded and open-minded people you'll meet in the yoga community. What you seek is seeking you; make sure it's good vibes for even better tribes.

Saturday: Make it YOUR Practice 

wine, pizza, tea, coffee, beer
Samantha Sontag

StudentRec offers power yoga on Saturday mornings. While it's definitely more of a workout, the practice is still yours. This means that you have the power to decide which pose is best for you, always.

Everyone is in a different place in his or her yoga journey which is why this class is a perfect time to be selfish and tune in to what your body needs. No class is finished without, "The light within me humbly honors and bows to the light within each and every one of you," aka "Namaste." Showing up to yoga means wholeheartedly respecting yourself and celebrating others on their path as well.  

Sunday: Well-Being Is A Time Commitment

coffee, beer, tea
Jocelyn Gordon

Although it was the final day, it was definitely just the beginning in my yoga journey. My favorite part about this vinyasa yoga class was ending with a unanimous Om to highlight our connection as beings.

#SpoonTip: Curia On The Drag also offers yoga every Sunday at 11 a.m. 

After seven days, I can honestly say that surrendering to the present moment through this practice has allowed me to take a step back from my problems and feel the virtue of gratitude. The greatest lesson that I learned throughout the week is that the real yoga happens once you leave the mat.

Bring the light you created in class out into the world and yourself; you'll be surprised at the magic that follows. It's not about being the best yogi in the room; it's about authentically showing up for yourself. Investing in your health, both mental and physical, has been and always will be an investment in yourself. 

(Did I mention that all of the classes I took have no additional charge from RecSports? #ItsGreatUF)