The dictionary definition of yoga is, "A Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation." But, after practicing yoga this summer, it has become more to me than that. In the past two months, I have noticed positive changes in me all around, both physically and mentally. Here are five benefits of yoga, in all aspects of life:

1. Increases flexibility

Most people, if not every person, cannot do a perfect shoulder stand or head stand during their first yoga class. Not every person can do a perfect forward fold, either. But after completing several classes, you may notice that your palms can rest flat on the floor and your forehead touches your knees when you bend over. Overall, your flexibility will increase over time.

2. Improves focus

Almost all yoga classes include a part where the instructor has students do standing balancing poses. They advise you to pick one spot in the room at a certain level to keep your eyes on. This one point helps you to hold this balancing pose for a longer amount of time. Besides focusing on balancing, yoga helps you focus on your breathing. Lengthening your breath, and more importantly, when you should inhale and exhale. Your focus is also better outside of yoga class, too.

3. Helps you fall asleep or wake up

If you take a yoga class in the morning, it is a good way to get ready for the day. It makes you feel strong and prepared for your day. If you take a yoga class at night, you will feel well rested and sleep well.

4. Increases strength

Yoga focuses on all muscles in the body. There is core work, and the poses and moves strengthen your arms and legs.

5. Manages stress

This is the most important benefit to me. During school and even when I'm working during the semester, I find that I get stressed easily and that I never take much time to relax. Yoga is a great way to manage this stress because it only takes an hour out of your day, and it focuses solely on you.