Contributed by SYU Level 1 Student Natalie Forbush

It’s no secret that almost all of us experience stress on a daily basis. Stress has been proven to affect our health in so many negative ways, and it comes from our jobs, families, responsibilities, commitments, and so many other elements of life.

With everything we have to do, combined with limited time, we can be left feeling like we are being pulled or stretched like a piece of taffy on a stretching machine. If we don’t find ways to cope with stress, our body, mind, or behavior can be compromised, leading to problems ranging from depression, relationships, fear, anxiety, weight gain or inability to lose weight, sleeping disorders, and even substance abuse.

As the great Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once and awhile, you might miss it.” While going on a hiatus from the busyness and stresses of life might be refreshing once and a while, it’s not realistic in our everyday lives.

So, how do we stop and take a look around, so we don’t miss out on life? We need a pause, a breath, a mindfulness of the present moment. A daily practice of yoga and meditation can give us that.

Your Brain on Yoga

Yoga and meditation have both been found to relive stress and combat the negative effects that stress has on our bodies, minds, and behaviors. One study conducted by the MAYO CLINIC reported that yoga clearly reduces stress, improves fitness and even helps people manage chronic health conditions. When we stress out we tend to lose focus, we forget to live presently and see things for how they really are. Our blood pressure and heart rate can increase without us even knowing it.

Both yoga and meditation are deeply connected to our breathing. When we learn to become aware of our breath, we are more aware of what is happening in our bodies, and we are able relax both internally and externally.

Yoga teaches us to be present by connecting our bodies and our minds together in the moment. When we come to our mat, we are able to let go, and fill the movement of our body connect with our breath, teaching us to be present. Meditation helps us to achieve balance by allowing us to focus on our breath and let go of what is clouding our minds. Silence can be found anywhere as long as you are willing to let go of what’s going on around you and listen to your own breath. The beauty is found in the simplicity.

Keeping It Together: Body, Breath, and Mind

Yoga connects our body and breath together, while mediation connects are mind and breath together, bringing balance and harmony, cultivating a life full of mindfulness, presence, and peace.

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