Benefits of yoga with Marley Hawkey.

What started with years of migraines and myofascial therapy, ended in yoga, discoveries and self-love. Yoga instructor and Colorado State Universtiy student, Marley Hawkey talks about her personal experiences and benefits from years of yoga.

What first got you into yoga?

In high school I got bad migraines. My mom found me a myofascial therapist, which helps with the pain in your physical and mental states. After a year, my migraines were completely gone. My therapist suggested yoga as a self-therapy, and when I started doing that, everything changed. My thoughts changed, my life changed. I found meditation.

What are some of the personal health benefits that you received from doing yoga?

I am more at peace with things going on in my life. It brings me to a place of introspective to be more of a witness than a victim of things I am going through. When you are taught yoga, they tell you to envision a river. Envision your thoughts flowing through the river, but you don’t pick any of them up, you just let them flow. You witness them. And things that you had not realized before are revealed to you.

And I just want to say, whether you go into yoga with an intention of fighting things out or not, it is inevitable that you will find things that you didn’t know about before.

What kind of things do you find? Are there any health benefits that people would be surprised about?

For example, I used to feel judged. In social setting, in a crowd, or even just with a few people I always felt awkward and like people were thinking negative things about me. After doing yoga, I realized that it really wasn’t that way. You see, you gain this incredible piece of mind when you do yoga.

A social benefit is one that people don’t talk about much. But it’s there. You become more comfortable with yourself through yoga. So, I became more comfortable with myself and started connecting with people more comfortably. There was a huge difference.

I would also say that empathy is a huge health benefit that people don’t usually talk about. However, empathy is a process. Empathy comes only after self-love and caring for yourself, which you can receive through yoga. Once you care for yourself and open up to self-love, you can share that with people and have connections that you wouldn’t have been able to have before.

Do you think that some college kids do not realize what stress does to them? Why should they care about keeping their mind and body healthy?

I think that specifically for college students, the release of stress and anxiety is extremely important.

As college students, we don’t stop moving. We have jobs, school and a social life. And it’s crazy what giving yourself even just thirty minutes a day to do yoga and breath can do for you. It’s amazing what being present and breathing right does for you. You become more conscious. And the benefits of consciousness are amazing. You realize what happened in your day and why things went the way they went. You gain a sense of self and become more focused.

For me personally, after yoga I come home more focused. I focus better on homework, I have energy to clean the house, I feel happy, satisfied, aware and just in the moment. It’s a type of high you can’t find anywhere else. I think this is important for college students to think about.

What would you recommend to college students who are scared to go to a yoga class for the first time, or scared to transition out of the party lifestyle if they have to do it alone?

I would tell them that they have absolutely no reason to be scared. If you are going to a yoga class for the first time, you are probably going to go to a beginner’s class. So you will be in a room with more first timers than you had initially imagined! This is a place for giving yourself time to relax, breathe and gain a piece of mind while working with your body. It isn’t a competition by any means. Everybody is very nice and helpful; you just have to trust yourself enough to actually commit to going.

Also, Youtube videos are helpful!

You have to remember to be nice to yourself. If you want to start doing yoga and gradually get yourself out of that party lifestyle, don’t hold yourself back. Go to just one class, and I guarantee you will gain something from it.

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