Long nights, little sleep and high levels of stress are some of the ways that interior design student, Maria Jose Toro describes her major. How does Toro balance everything she faces in school? The answer is simple: yoga.
Toro first started yoga her freshman year of college, taking classes at the Southwest Recreation Center at the University of Florida. What she really connected with during her first class was the focus on self-awareness that is found in yoga.
She then started incorporating yoga into her life, especially whenever she was experiencing stress.
“I love yoga because it helps you focus in the moment,” Toro said. “When I get in that zone with yoga, I always feel better afterwards, I feel relieved and I feel that some of my stress has gone away.”
Whenever Toro finds herself in a situation where she can’t practice immediately, she focuses on her breath and reminds herself that everything will work itself out in the end as she’s learned to do so in yoga.
“I associate yoga and the practice with my stress reliever,” Toro said.
Toro continued her yoga practice while studying abroad in Germany. She has taken a series of photos practicing headstands, one of her favorite poses, while visiting important landmarks abroad. One of her personal favorites being the one she took in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Toro hopes to continue taking her practice across borders by taking courses in Aruba alongside her best friend with Rachel Brathen, a well-known yogi she looks up to. Toro states that both yoga and Brathen has brought her relationship with her best friend much closer.
“One of the most important things of yoga to me is that it’s your personal practice to be with yourself, to learn more about yourself and grow as a person,” Toro said. “Ultimately, it’s a very positive experience.”
Toro shows us one of her favorite poses, upward dog or Urdhva Mukha Svanasana. “What I like about upward dog is the motion of facing the sky, it gives a sense that you’re facing the world and opening your heart,” Toro said.