Yoga at The Main Place
The following is a guest post by Jeanine Cerney of BodyAndMindByJ9.com
If you have ever tried yoga or witnessed it in action, the physical benefits are pretty obvious. Strength and flexibility are key components of yoga and it is one of the best work-outs to tone your body as you hold your muscles in various positions for extended periods of time. As an example, I could hardly do a plank before starting yoga this semester. Today, I was alternating between plank and downward dog like it was nothing. My arms have grown tremendously stronger from yoga. I don’t want to write too much about the physical aspects, you can probably google that and find it pretty easily. I am going to focus on what I believe are the psychological, emotional, and spiritual benefits of yoga.
Today, I was running late to class, as I always am (I am infamously known for being late to EVERYTHING.) In fact, I was supposed to do my behavior modification project on time management and procrastination but ended up having to change it to this weight-loss goal because I waited too long to start working on the other one. Go figure! Anyways, that’s neither here nor there.
I was rushing to get to The Main Place at the same time as everyone else- and I made it. I walked in and helped set-up with everyone and was chatting and everything seemed good. It wasn’t until we began yoga that I became aware of my body and what was going on inside. For some reason, I was experiencing incredible anxiety. My heart was racing and I had a feeling of doom for no apparent reason. I was curious as to why this happened because I couldn’t really explain it. Then about five minutes in, I realized it was because I had been rushing to get to the center and while I was accustomed to running late and didn’t realize my anxiety in the moment, I had actually caused great stress to myself from being at such a fast pace.
Self and body awareness is one of the greatest things about yoga, meditation, and constructive rest. I have become highly aware of my own self this semester since three days of the week, my classes require me to pause life and lay on the floor or do yoga for at least twenty minute increments. Awareness is very important because you can’t change a behavior effectively if you don’t know what it is that is going on inside of you and why or what is causing it.
Here’s a list of some of the other cognitive benefits of yoga I have come up with:
Forces you to challenge your self, your beliefs, your negative attitude.
When you’re holding a position and you feel like you are going to collapse and can’t do it any longer, you see your friends and instructor around you struggling as well and you sternly yell at yourself, “COME ON, TWO MORE BREATHS.” And guess what, you do it. And you feel awesome. You feel so accomplished. And the next time you do yoga, you are doing that move as if you never even had trouble before and you feel proud. Congratulations, you did it.
Forces you to work through the pain rather than avoid it, look for an easy way out, or pretend it’s not there.
Unlike some other coping strategies for stress, including therapy-based practices, such as guided imagery, yoga requires you to recognize the pain and find beauty and strength in the struggle. Just like anything in life, when you overcome the hardships, you come out stronger, more rejuvenated, motivated, and proud.
This world, especially America, is so wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and productivity that it’s hard to just take a step back and relax. You feel guilty relaxing when you have a list of things you think you should be doing. Yoga puts all that on pause, allowing you to clear your head but still contributes to your health and fitness goals. Check work-out off the list and you got to relax and take a five minute nap at the end. SUCCESS.
Breathe in the positive, exhale the negative.
If there is one thing I have learned from experience and from others through research and personal responses, it’s that the #1 most effective treatment for depression and anxiety is learning to properly breathe and meditate. How hard could breathing be? Welp, there is entire course on it called Alexander Technique which I am currently in. Do your research on this one. It’s well worth educating yourself on.
While I started the yoga session highly anxious, after about fifteen minutes, my mind calmed down. By the end of the session, during shavasana, I began to meditate and I reached a level of peace that I haven’t felt in a long time. Namaste!
Hola! My name’s Jeanine Cerney (some call me “J9”) and I’m a senior psychology major and member of Tridelta at Denison University. In just two weeks, I will have completed my B.A. in psychology with a certification in organizational studies. As I pursue my education in the mental health and wellness field, I will also be launching my holistic health coaching business. I believe health and wellness is a life-long journey for everyone, and I am happy to share my personal experiences with you on my site: BodyAndMindByJ9.com
My approach to health counseling is holistic, meaning I want to help others find health, happiness, and fulfillment in all areas of their lives, rather than just one area such as fitness or nutrition. My mission is to help others understand the empowering aspect of the mind-body connection. I believe a healthy mind is critical to reach one’s fitness goals and in response, a healthy body will facilitate greater outcomes and goal achievement in every area of life.