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Yoga: What is the Intention and How Can You Benefit from This Practice?

Yoga is a practice derived from the Hindu religion which combines coordinating the mindset, breathing and bodily postures to optimize mental, physical and spiritual health.

To make that more concise, yoga is a form of exercise which encourages the connection and communication between the brain and the body (or the self and the body).


While it is traditionally a spiritual practice, Yoga has been brought to Western culture because it is known to benefit people in a myriad of ways from pain management to weight loss. In light of this, I’m going to go over my top 3 reasons why yoga is beneficial to your fitness and health-not just the practice of it but also the intention of it.

In my elaboration, I will detail the significance of my reasoning and provide further examples of why this is beneficial to your overall health and fitness, so let’s hop to it!

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Benefit #1: Yoga Increases Your Mindfulness

  • Mindfulness of the body.

Yoga encourages (or requires, rather) that you be mindful of your body in several ways: breathing, balance, movement, positioning…A yoga class will often reveal to you parts of your body (small muscles) that you didn’t even know you could use or access. This connection with the body will help you intuitively build healthier habits.

  • Mindfulness of the self.

Another thing you become mindful of in a yoga class is your self, the way you talk to your self and even the tolerance you have of your self. It’s extremely common for a yoga instructor to say something like “Take what your body is giving you today” which will make you aware of how much you try to push your body instead of respecting it. This practice of healthy self-talk and respect will help maintain mental health.

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Benefit #2: Yoga Improves Your Mobility

  • Everyday mobility.

Yoga is known for facilitating increased flexibility in the muscles and connective tissue. This helps to improve your mobility during your everyday movements, and helps minimize your chronic pain and tension. Most people who do yoga notice an increased feeling of space within the body because as their mobility improves, so does their posture and feelings of being upright.

  • Athletic mobility.

Yoga is a lot of deep stretching but it is also a lot of strength training and the combination of the two are perfect for athletes. Implementing a “strengthen and lengthen” approach as yoga does helps the tissues stay stretched out, and build strength in that stretched state. This is ideal for athletes who move quickly and dynamically, and can play an essential role in injury prevention.

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Benefit #3: Yoga Enhances Your Stability

  • Static joint stability.

Yoga practices include many static poses in which you hold for an allocated duration of the time. These exercises are great for locking stabilization strength into all of the joints and especially the shoulders and hips.

  • Stability in motion.

Yoga tends to be performed in a flow: a series of choreographed movements meant to flow from one to the next. Because of the movement of the flow, the body also learns how to stabilize the joints while in motion when you’re doing yoga.

  • Mental stability.

Going back to that mind-body connection that yoga is popular for: a regular yoga practice has been proven to encourage mental and emotional stability. Yoga instructors tend to talk in a certain way that asserts self-love and self-acceptance-the more you absorb this, the more this mindset will stay with you outside of yoga and improve your overall mental health.

I want to take a moment for a little disclaimer:

It is a popular statement (in my world, at least) that “any Physical Therapist will tell you that the #1 source of the injuries they see are from yoga”. I don’t know how factual this is and I have never met a Physical Therapist who fully concurs with this statement. Personally, the only yoga-related injuries I’ve seen are caused by people trying to force their bodies into advanced movements during their first-ever yoga class.

This is against the adage of yoga that encourages self-awareness and respect of the body, and so in my opinion, these people aren’t doing yoga but are just attempting contortions with the same lack of regard for themselves that they bring to other types of exercise classes.

For those who are capable of embracing what yoga is truly meant to be, it can be life changing for your mental and physical health.

Yoga is a spiritual practice, meant to unite everything that is you-yoga is not meant to be used as a tool for weight loss or a way to torture yourself for eating French fries yesterday.

This article was written by Elexis Smolak CPT, CNC, founder of Adapted Fitness and Master Trainer. Learn more or schedule a virtual coffee at

Yoga is a spiritual practice, meant to unite everything that is you-yoga is not meant to be used as a tool for weight loss or a way to torture yourself for eating French fries yesterday.