5 Real Benefits Of Practicing Yoga

5 Real Benefits Of Practicing Yoga

Find your inner zen.

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I have always been an advocate for yoga. It's an escape from the everyday stresses of college, work, or just life in general. There are many benefits to practicing yoga, but here's a list of five of them!

1. Flexibility

The more you practice yoga, the more flexible you will become. Stretching your body in new ways will allow it to move in new ways. Watch out because you'll become the next human pretzel!

2. Strength

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Who would've known that the more you practice yoga, the stronger you will become? Building strength is one of the key elements of yoga. Yoga requires your arms, legs, and body as a whole to be pushed to the limit, which in turn makes you even stronger.

3. Mental health

Yoga requires you to create harmony between your body and your mind. Mental health improves tremendously after doing yoga because of this harmony. It helps to reduce stress and improve mental clarity, which all in all improves your mental health.

4. Posture

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Staying on a continuous schedule of yoga can help improve your posture tremendously. You won't have as much back pain, and you'll have more motivation to accomplish more tasks!

5. Abs and obliques

Yes, as crazy as it sounds, you can get abs from doing yoga. Some yoga positions make you work your abs and obliques, which help make your abs look more like the ones above!

To find a place to do yoga, check out gyms and rec centers near you. Also, you can do yoga in your own home! There are many Youtube channels and websites that have yoga tips and tricks, and some that have full-length classes online! Some of my favorites are "Yoga With Adrienne" and "PopSugar Fitness."

Happy yoga-ing!!

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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I Was Screamed At For Telling Someone To 'Take A Deep Breath' And The Next Day, I Become A Certified Yoga Instructor

Perhaps people will now take me more seriously when I suggest some deep breathing?

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Emotions are such interesting factors that can highly influence the way that we behave. When you take the time to become mindful of your emotions as they arise, it is actually a really insightful experience in that you are more aware of when your emotions are clouding your ability to make decisions. Strong emotions can easily take control of your entire body in ways that can either be a help or a hindrance. Regardless of the positive or negative outcome, it is still important that you are aware of your emotions.

Strong emotions on either end of the spectrum can prohibit you from thinking to the best of your ability. Can you recall a moment when you were so overcome with ecstatic joy or pure anger that when you tried to focus on something else, your thoughts were filtered by the way that you were feeling? This is completely normal and happens to everyone frequently, so that is nothing to worry about. However, an issue arises when you lack the ability to break away from those feelings.

You are not your emotions. The acknowledgment of how you are feeling is a necessary step in learning how to deal with whatever emotion is plaguing you at the moment; however, completely embodying the way you are feeling can be restricting as it closes your mind from remaining open to any outside perspective.

Once, I had a friend who was very upset and relaying those inner thoughts and feelings to me in a manner which was not considerate of how I would be receiving their current state. (That is not the point, however, it did put me in a difficult position as I let them continue to erratically expel their negativity.) Regardless, it was quite apparent how their emotions were inhibiting the effectiveness of their communication choices. This puts the person on the receiving end in a challenging position when attempting to figure out what to do. How long do you allow somebody to be a victim of their unmanaged emotions when you can clearly see that they are not only negatively impacting themselves but also sending that energy into the lives of others?

In my situation, I quickly and calmly said, "You need to calm down; just take a deep breath." Eyes flashing with hardly enough time to think about what I had said, they screamed, "No! Don't tell me what to do!"

Obviously, they heard that there were words coming out of my mouth, but did they truly hear what I was saying?

It was at this moment that I truly realized how important social-emotional learning skills are. We all get upset sometimes; the negative feelings of anger, frustration, and despair are inevitable and normal to endure. What is most important is how we learn to handle these negative feelings when they enter our minds. This scenario I experienced demonstrated an eye-opening experience for me; even in my calm manner, the suggestion of something as simple as taking a deep breath infuriated this upset person even more.

I was puzzled at the moment of their reaction and I must admit that I am still puzzled even to this day as I reflect on their response to me. Perhaps I would understand the attitude-filled retaliation if I had suggested something outrageous in a tone that was also filled with anger; however, that was not the case.

Consequently, I did not have a reply to their response. I understood that the negative emotions had completely taken over this person's body and mind and that they were merely trying to alleviate their own suffering by expelling this negativity into the universe; this is not an excuse, rather it is an interpretation in an attempt for me to explain this irrational behavior. I tried my best to not absorb that energy; although, it is super challenging and most certainly changed my perspective not only about that specific individual but also about the importance of emotional regulation and human beings in general.

I realized that there was nothing I could do or say to help them; it is an intimidating notion that we are responsible for our own emotions, yet while we are experiencing strong thoughts and feelings, it is sometimes not easy to combat them. This is where social-emotional learning skills coupled with mindfulness prove to be crucial skills to have. Merely knowing about these skills is ineffective unless they are implemented in your daily life; this is when they prove to be the most impactful.

Ironically, this experience occurred the night before I was already enrolled to complete a yoga teacher training program. I must say, spending 20 hours practicing yoga, learning how to build a sequence of flowing poses, and meeting other interested yogis was definitely invigorating especially after the last evening I just had. Throughout this training, it was brought to my attention how grounding the breath can be; we are always breathing regardless of our awareness of doing so. When moments of hysteria bubble up, turning your awareness inward to the ebb and flow of your breath is helpful in reminding you that you are alive and present.

Sometimes, it is useful to have this reminder as we experience moments of discomfort. Sometimes, it is useful to have this reminder as we experience moments of excitement. And sometimes it is useful to have this reminder as we experience moments of just ordinary day-to-day life.

Thus, cultivating a mindset that allows you to feel any type of emotion as it commences, but then having the ability to remain aware of what you are enduring is important for your personal wellbeing and also how others will perceive you. Please allow yourself to feel your emotions mindfully at the moment, reflect thoughtfully once the moment has passed, and then pursue any step that you believe is necessary in order to forgive the negative actions you may have taken during that emotional moment.

And, please, always return to following your breath. It truly is helpful in bringing your awareness back to the moment instead of allowing your mind to fall victim to other factors, whether those are external or internal.

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