For thousands of years, yoga has helped humans control their thoughts and senses. Now, it has evolved into an accessible tool for stress management and physical well-being. Just a few poses a day can help get you back into your body, paying attention to your senses and releasing tension throughout the body. 

Angie Nisley is a former yoga instructor at Spacious Heart Yoga, a studio in Goshen that was sold to new owners in 2020 and has since lost its presence in the community. Nisley said that yoga is a “wonderful way to develop focus and attention on the physical sensations, including breath, that arise.”  

“Focusing on physical sensations can be an oasis to someone caught in rumination, worry or anxiety,” Nisley said. 

Although there are benefits to practicing yoga both privately and with an instructor, Jaelyn Amhdar, a junior exercise science major, appreciates practicing privately and in her own space using a device. 

“[In a secluded space,] you are able to focus on yourself… you don’t have any other distractions,” Amhdar said. 

Over time, Amhdar has created a personal connection with her yoga practice and turns to it in times of stress for a “mental reset.”

“[It] helps me retap into myself and understand what I’m feeling and feel that thought but also let it go as I’m going through the practice,” Amhdar said. 

To get started, try these five poses throughout the day for a boost or to wind down in the evening. 

Pose 1: Waking up: Morning Stretch is a full body stretch to awaken the mind and muscles.

Reach arms and legs in opposite directions.

Pose 2: Energy pose: Dancer pose is a slightly challenging pose to improve balance, posture and focus.

Grab hold of one leg, tip forward and reach back while the opposite arm reaches forward.

Pose 3: Power pose: Tree pose strengthens legs and improves hip flexibility.

Press one foot into the opposite thigh, bring palms above head or at center and focus on the spot ahead of you for balance.

Pose 4: Winding down: Waterfall pose improves circulation and brings the body into a relaxation state.

Reach both legs perpendicular to the mat with hands by your sides. Legs can also go up against a wall. 

Pose 5: To sleep: Thread the Needle pose releases tension in the upper back, shoulders and neck which are common areas for holding stress.

With hips over knees, draw one arm under your chest with opposite arm reaching high. 

Communal yoga classes in Goshen are offered at Pathways Retreat for $12 on Mondays from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Classes are also held at The Warehouse Climbing Co. on Tuesday, April 16 and 30 and at GoDance studio in downtown Goshen from 2-3:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 14 and 28 by instructor Tiffany Neilson, with a suggested donation of $15. 

For yoga on devices, the DownDog app offers free access for college students and professors.