The Triple Life Benefits of Yoga

September 16, 2015 at 2:00 pm  •  0 Comments

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No matter where you are in life, the fall season rarely fails to provide a variety of avenues into new experiences. First days of school, getting back to work, moving in, growing up, moving on…

The condition of our physical body is a direct reflection of the ways in which we use them. So, amidst (what seems to be) the inevitable chaos of the fall season, how is anyone expected to achieve balance? Does it really have to be such a strain?

Popular science is (finally) beginning to recognize many of the various benefits of yoga, even though it’s a practice that has existed for thousands of years.

Physical

Yoga instructors are equipped with an anatomical knowledge that influences the ways in which they manipulate and move bodies through space. By engaging in a yoga practice, you are not simply working out: you are learning how to control, move, and exist within the confines of your body, and not just within walls of a yoga studio.

Yoga teaches us how to move and operate the controls of our physical self, helping to remind us to not only sit up straight, but also how to recognize when we are overworked. Yoga encourages us to take a moment to pause and rest in those times where we need it most.

Mental

But yoga is not only a physical practice—in fact, it is often considered primarily as a mental one. The practice of meditation and mindfulness allows for us to hone in on the smaller details that often go unnoticed: what are we doing, and what are its repercussions? Will the impact of these thoughts, actions, or ideas impact us in a positive or negative way?

When you allow yourself even just 60 minutes of time on your mat to work internally (within both your body and your mind) you are doing way more good than might be expected. By making the time for a yoga practice, we are helping to equip ourselves with time management skills; by filling up unused time, we add value to our time, especially when we begin to see that time as something which we can spend doing things for ourselves out of choice for self-betterment (as opposed to always spending it on our professors or work clients).

By allotting ourselves some downtime, we are more likely to increase our productivity during work time.

Spiritual

Physical exercise – especially in the form of yoga – helps to balance our mood, while sweating it out can help to clear toxins through our skin. Yoga encourages the working out of stress in whichever ways it may manifest itself in our bodies or in our minds. It is important to understand the ways in which mental strain can exhibit itself physically within our bodies. The two (mental and physical) aren’t so separate: as with everything, there is a grey area, and yoga helps to bridge the gaps. The limitations we see in ourselves in the yoga studio can often extend beyond that space, and are likely things we struggle with regularly. Patience. Stress. Fear. Yoga aids in the moving through classes, projects, and even an ordinary day with ease, not just by providing us with a break, but by proving the opportunity to think over and process the thoughts required for success in our various fields by physically working through them, and by linking ourselves to one another through what becomes a recognizably shared experience (of both a 60 minute yoga class, and our journey through life).

It is clear that we all have different needs, and the beauty of a yoga practice is that it is tailored to the individual. While it may take a class or two to catch on to the lingo, yoga is accessible to everyone, and is not something to be frightened of or intimidated by. Take the time to stretch; encourage calming and energizing breath; and strengthen your physical body to increase mobility through your daily practices.

By being informed in the logic of your body and mind through the practice of yoga, we can support that heavy book bag, prevent poor posture while working or driving, provide ourselves with rest and relief, and, ultimately, recognize one’s own personal symptoms of stress and discomfort in order to alleviate and overcome them through the recognition of a shared experience. The most important part to remember is that whenever you fall (which you will… again, and again), is that you maintain the courage to step back up. No matter what your reasons are for why you might need a yoga practice, it is a clear compliment to any lifestyle.

Simon Swanek
About the Author

Simon is a die-hard yogi. After nearly a decade of dedicated long-distance running, yoga has provided not only the perfect opportunity for rehabilitation of his sensitive knee and hip joints, but it has also been the perfect compliment to his sport allowing for physical, mental, and emotional support throughout races up to full marathons in length. Simon became an RYT 200 in the summer of 2014 after studying the various aspects of yoga practice at YogaSpace Toronto - but, even before then, he has represented the Moksha Yoga Halifax community as their ambassador, and presently is the instructor for Patagonia Halifax's free community classes. As a student from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia with a background in English literature, Simon utilizes his knowledge of language to provide articulate descriptions while entering and exiting different postures throughout his Vinyasa and Hatha sequences in order to protect his students from injury and maintain the integrity of the postures and their purpose. For Simon, success in his yoga practice is seeing success in his students.