The Benefits of Yoga and the Power of 100

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My friend is a Zen Master. For months he’s been telling me about the power of meditation, the importance of understanding your true inner self and the unreal benefits of yoga.

He’s started a new journey now – the Power of 100.

What is the power of 100? In his own words:

“It is a retreat. A 100 days Yoga retreat. Right here, right now. No need to fly to India or Tibet, right here in the middle of everything. Its also a cleansing journey, both body and mind. Exactly 100 days of Yoga, every single day. No break.”

Insane? Well, maybe. 100 days of yoga – same postures, same order, same studio, same teachers. No change. As my friend claims, “For the true self, absolute heaven. For the mind, absolute boredom…”

So why pursue such an immense task? To understand this, we need to take a deeper look. What are the true benefits of yoga? And what can the power of 100 do for your mind and body?

Originating more than 3,000 years ago in India, Yoga is an ancient practice that has helped millions establish a sense of union in mind, body and spirit. It helps bring balance to our unbalanced lives.

The benefits of yoga are two-fold. It makes us stronger physically and mentally.

Physical Benefits of Yoga

Your body is a temple. It needs to be valued and taken care of properly. Yoga is an excellent medium. The physical benefits of yoga are in abundance. Most notably, yoga is an effective way to increase your flexibility. As you fight through various postures, you lengthen your muscles and improve the range of motion of your muscles and joints. This is great for those who have tight hamstrings and lower back from over-sitting (i.e. your desk job). As such, yoga will help you alleviate any back pain you may have.

You also build strength in your muscles as you support your own bodyweight through difficult postures. Via isometric holds, your muscles will become stronger and more toned as you shed excess weight. Your endurance will increase as your cardiovascular and respiratory systems become more efficient. You will have more energy to get through your day as your sleeping improves. You will notice your hand-eye coordination improving along with your dexterity skills. Your balance and coordination will skyrocket as you learn to control your bodyweight.

On top of everything, your breathing will improve drastically. Most of us don’t put much thought into how we breathe as we do it subconsciously. Yoga is full of breathing exercises that teach us how to breathe properly by showing us how to better utilize our lungs.

Mental Benefits of Yoga

Our mind is a very powerful device but only if we know how to control it. Different postures require varying amounts of concentration that bring a sense of calmness to the mind. Yoga teaches you how to quiet the mind so you can focus your energy where it matters to you.

As you continue to improve your breathing, the simple attention to your breath is calming to the mind and it alleviates it from stress and anxiety. Yoga develops your memory and attention capabilities. Your learning efficiency improves and the overall well-being of your mind improves.

Overall, yoga is great for mental health because it does a great job of relaxing the mind. Considered a form of meditation, it provides you with a sense of inner peace and purpose. It will give you an increased awareness of your body and greater control of your mind.

“Is it possible? What will the mind be like during and after the retreat? How will the Ego enjoy the ride? Is one strong enough for something like that?”

If you’re looking for the path to your inner-self, yoga will help you find your way. It will help you become physically and mentally stronger. It will improve your physical and mental health in ways you can’t even imagine. It will guide you to a better you.

We’ll see how far my friend goes. Hopefully he does what he preaches because there’s nobody who better understands the benefits of yoga. So is one strong enough for something like that?

“I am going to find out…”

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Comments

  1. I did yoga for some time a couple of years ago and although I thought it would be easy it definitely was not.
    Yoga requires discipline so I can see how the idea for the 100 Days retreat happened.
    As with any type of workout or fitness plan, discipline will be your best friend. As with any plan it is not necessary to go on a long trip, or buy the most expensive piece of equipment. Simply use what you have and practice any workout in your own city or in your home.
    -Sam

  2. You can treat Yoga anyway you like cause it’s your own personal practice …some people do get carried away and think they are auditioning for Cirque Du Soleil!
    I like doing gentle Yoga just before bed it helps quietens my mind and relaxes me gives me a good nights sleep.
    Raymond

  3. Srdjan,

    I’ve never tried yoga, but it seems like a great way to reap both mental and physical benefits from one type of exercise. I’m sure I’ll give it a shot at some point.

    Alykhan

  4. @Sam
    I think a lot of people underestimate the power of yoga. They think it’s easy and don’t even give it a try. But it’s quite the opposite. You’re right, it does take great discipline and concentration but the benefits are more than worth the struggle. Thanks for the comment.

  5. @Raymond
    At the end of the day, Yoga can be as simple as you make it. It can be your hardest workout of the week or your relaxing series of stretches before bed. That’s the beauty of it – it truly caters to everyone. Have you noticed any changes in your flexibility since you’ve started doing it?

    @Alykhan
    I’m sure you’ll be quite surprised with the results once you decide to give it a shot. Let me know how it goes! Thanks for the comment.

  6. I’ve been trying to find time to implement yoga into my routine for a while now. Perhaps it’s just laziness, but I really think it’s a great way to increase flexibility and just relax and get a little stress relief.

  7. For me the greatest thing about practising yoga has been its effect on my mind. I sleep better, am calmer, more productive, and I seem to be getting much more out of my workouts.

    Good luck with the power of 100 and definitely do an update on the effect it has on you.

    Michael

  8. @Dave
    It’s definitely a great way to relax and reduce stress. Maybe one day when you have some spare time give hot yoga a try and let me know what you think.

  9. @Michael
    I’m glad you’ve found yoga to be a positive outlet. From the many people I’ve spoken to, I’ve found that it’s got some incredible benefits.

    But it’s not me that’s doing the power of 100. I’m not that crazy yet. My friend is so I’ll find out how it affects him and I’ll post the results. Thanks for the comment.

  10. I actually think Yoga would be hard, not easy. Like Raymond said, you can do it however you want. I am actually working on getting more flexible and Yoga has been something that I have kept in the back of my mind. Thanks for clarifying some things about it. I am going to try it at some point.

    -Kelly

    • @Kelly
      Youll be pleasantly surprised with your flexibility gains if you get into yoga (especially hot yoga). Let me know how you feel after your first class.

  11. I been into yoga for quit sometime now and I should it helps me in so many ways. Like my posture, the way I think and as a woman in whole. It helps gets a more positive vibes. Thanks a lot for sharing such an informative post like this.

  12. @Zutchelli
    I’m glad you’ve found yoga to be so beneficial for you. Many people don’t even give it a second look and they’re missing out big time. Thanks for commenting and I’m glad you’ve gotten something out of the article :)

  13. Great read !!! Hope you’ll head over to my blog and say Hi along with good to hear comments too !!

    My blog is: http://boundryless.wordpress.com

    Best to you in 2011 !!

  14. @Bill
    Thanks for the comment. I hope your 2011 is great as well!

  15. Srdjan-

    Great post on yoga.

    I try to do yoga daily, sometimes in the morning, sometimes after I workout in the afternoon.

    I enjoy it both as a way to gain flexibility and also as a way to become more present in my body and less caught up in the wild thoughts that are on constant display in my mind.

    As for a daily sitting meditation practice, I can’t recommend it enough. Just sitting there, present in your own body, feeling the sensations of breathing in and out. Getting distracted, then coming back, again and again.

    As your friend put it, “For the mind, absolute boredom…”, there’s no doubt about that.

    But honestly, this has enhanced my enjoyment and appreciation for every aspect of my life, without a doubt!

    Anyways, great post!

    -Ian

  16. @Ian
    There is a whole spiritual side of yoga that I haven’t really touched on in this post. We lead such hectic lives that it’s nice to get away some time. Yoga is a great way to sort and clear your thoughts.

    How long have you been practicing Yoga? Do you do it on your own or at a studio?

    As for the meditation, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve slowly started incorporating it into my life. I have troubles sleeping at times because my thoughts are racing and I want to learn how to control them.

    Thanks for the comment!

  17. I have been trying to find a type of yoga I will like and goes with my main goals. Nice post hope your friend makes the 100 days!

    Louis

  18. @Louis
    Try a few different types until you find the one that fits you best. I personally prefer Bikram yoga. Thanks for the comment!

  19. No Problem, I will have to look into that one thanks.

    Louis

  20. Hey Srdjan,

    I love this article about yoga. I know you’re an avid Bikram practitioner (or assume so from the comments), but have you given Ashtanga yoga a try? It’s not hot yoga, but we do naturally warm up the body prior to practice. Let me know if you’re interested. A new studio has opened up in Uptown Waterloo and we have a 30 Day Yoga Challenge starting soon! If you’re not yet ready for 100 days of yoga, maybe 30 will get you started.

    PS. We know each other from way back when ;) I’m Stefan Cvrkalj’s sister.

    • @Kristina
      Yea I remember you from back in the day. It’s been a while!

      I can’t say I’m an avid practitioner of yoga. I’m definitely an avid practitioner of various forms of exercise. I throw Yoga into the mix every now and then because it really helps me stretch out my muscles. I have tried Ashtanga a couple times in some Toronto studios before I ever tried hot yoga and I liked it.

      What’s the 30 day yoga challenge? Sounds enticing.

  21. Which Toronto studios? I’ve practiced at Downward Dog and I LOVE it.

    The 30 Day Challenge is essentially a commitment to a consistent yoga practice for 30 days. You may commit to 20 minutes per day, 3 classes per week, or a class every single day for 30 days. The Pranalife studio is offering a $30 pass for unlimited classes all month long starting on Feb. 14th to allow you to follow through with the commitment.

    Like any good yoga practice, this idea is linked to an “off the mat” component. Since Valentine’s Day is coming up, we’ve added a “Be Better Better Half” aspect to the challenge. All it means is that you’d get suggestions in your inbox on how to form and maintain good relationships, while evolving your relationship with yourself on the yoga mat.

    That’s the gist of it. Are you interested? Here’s the website: http://www.pranalife.ca/30daychallenge/

    • I can’t remember the names of the studios but they were near the Yonge and Sheppard area. The 30 day challenge sounds interesting and very enticing. Maybe it’s because I love challenges :)!

      I’ll check out the site and get back to you! Thanks

      • hmmmm, reading through your older posts and I am wondering if your friend made it 100 days? Did you try the 30 day challenge?

        • Yea he made it through the full 100 days!! He’s crazy like that. But it changed his life for the better. I haven’t tried the 30 day challenge yet but once my challenge is over I look forward to getting back to some yoga.

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