Before I started yoga, I was always going a million miles a minute. I constantly looked ahead to the future, which took away from enjoying the present moment and made me tense and anxious… pretty much all the time.

Through regularly practicing yoga, I have gained a healthier mind and overall life. How can something as simple as yoga help so much? Let me tell you.

Yoga can help you slow down.

Health is not just about eating healthy and working out, but also about being happy, enjoying life, and having inner peace. Yoga encourages taking life day by day and positive thinking. It teaches us to set intentions and helps us deal with curveballs life throws at us. 

Yoga can help you sleep better.

Harvard Medical School conducted research to study the affects of yoga on people’s sleep patterns. There was a noticeable impact on those who had insomnia. Lack of sleep may make it difficult to make decisions, solve problems, deal with your emotions, and cope with change. Life is never steady and always changing, and a healthy mind can help you handle it. Stress can interfere with sleep patterns, but yoga relieves stress helping for longer and better quality sleep at night. 

Yoga poses can make you happy.

Life is rarely calm and steady. In college, there is the stress of working, building your resume, staying connected to your friends from home, building new friendships, getting good grades, finding internships, somehow squeezing in a workout between the 100 things on your to-do list, trying to find time to cook, and more. It is hard to balance everything, but luckily theres yoga to help put everything into perspective and create a healthy mindset! According to researchers, when you perform yoga, feel-good brain chemicals like serotonin are released, putting you in a better mood. Additionally, yoga helps quiet the mind which gives your body a break to release energy that has been blocked. Did you know that it is hard to feel stress while holding Child’s Pose? So, next time you are feeling overwhelmed, take a break and relax in Child’s Pose for a little bit. Yoga has the power to calm the nervous system, which relieves stress, anxiety, and depression. 

Yoga can give you new perspective on life.

Last, but not least, yoga improves the outlook on life.  We are encouraged to take each pose a little deeper and get a little stronger. When trying new poses, yogis find comfort in the discomfort. This sets a great mindset for life. When trying new things, it is often uncomfortable and intimidating. Through a yoga practice, you can find the good in change and learn to let the discomfort to lead us to new stages in life and experiences. You start to breathe (and maybe even smile) through the discomfort.

The slow movements and flows in yoga encourage taking life slowly. By holding each pose, you can learn to positively engage in each moment. Yoga introduces stability, strength, balance into life. Your yoga practice is unique to you, just like your life.

In a final savasana this week, my instructor compared life to an onion. To get to where we belong and where our heart is leading us, we must go through many stages and pathways. As we enter each stage of our life we peel a layer like an onion and get closer to the center of where we belong. Sometimes peeling off a layer may bring tears (as yoga poses often do), but those hardships are bringing us closer to where our heart is leading us.

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