Yoga

By Ashley South (Kent State University in Florence)

Yoga and anything to do with fitness is a huge reliever of stress, not only to me, but also to many college students in America. My mother is a personal trainer, and I have most definitely followed her footsteps in the sense that I, too, greatly enjoy demolishing a tough workout, researching the different ways to eat healthy, and learning about exotic healthy foods that are eaten around the world.

Pizza, pasta, bread, nutella, and gelato; a few foods that come to mind when I thought about what my diet would consist of while I lived in Florence for four months. I was also under the impression that being a “gym rat” was solely an American obsession and I would not have access to a gym while abroad. I have been practicing yoga very intensely for the past year at a new studio that opened up in the college town at Kent State University in Ohio. In my mind, leaving the states meant leaving my newfound love of yoga and, as far as I was concerned, any fitness practices in general.

I quickly discovered that all of the foods I imagined I would come across here are readily available at just about every street corner. As delicious and savory traditional Italian food is, I also enjoy healthier options. I was excited to learn that produce is much cheaper in Italy than in America, which easily solved my dilemma of what to include in my diet whilst abroad. While I discovered that making my own meals would be the best solution for my diet, I was still struggling to find a way to fit in physical activity other than walking around the city.

Lo and behold, within the first two weeks of being here, I discovered a quaint little yoga studio. Not only was this yoga studio a short walk from my apartment, but the instructors also taught the classes in English and were very inviting to Americans. The studio, Europa Power Yoga, offers several very reasonable deals for students. I first wanted to test out the studio and see if I enjoyed the classes. All new members are offered a free trial week in which they can attend as many classes as they want for seven days. I recently finished up my trial week and signed up for three months of unlimited yoga with this wonderful studio.

Although the Italian culture is much more relaxed and easy going than the American culture, traveling halfway across the world can be a bit stressful. I often find myself anxious or worried about my family and friends across the ocean. Even the thought that this will be the longest period of time that I have ever been away from home stresses me out. Yoga is the perfect solution to turn to when I am feeling anxious or stressed out. Just like back in the states, I turned to yoga to help me through stressful times such as work issues, major projects, and finals week. It greatly excited me that in the midst of falling in love with this beautiful city, I discovered that Florence offers the ability for me to continue with something that I am truly passionate about.

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