5 Benefits of Practicing Yoga

For the bendy generalist. Namaste, JollyGens!

Yoga over the last decade has grown in popularity exponentially across North America. A 2016 survey conducted by Yoga Alliance and Yoga Journal (carried out by Ipsos Public Affairs) reports the yoga industry in the United States at $16B, up from $10B in 2012. Studios continue to pop up in neighbourhoods from coast to coast and it appears that there are no signs of slowing.

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So why is this practice so popular? Below are five benefits of practicing yoga:

1. Flexibility

As expected, yoga helps with flexibility and range of motion. By stretching and holding various poses the muscles loosen up and with regular practice, the body will begin to notice increased flexibility.

2. Strength

While many perceive yoga as a relaxing and restorative practice, depending on the type of practice and teacher, yoga can actually work up quite a sweat. Power yoga, in particular, is known to be a quicker, high-intensity practice that works on building muscle. Often the result is leaner, tones muscle rather than bulky muscle.

3. Mindfulness

As discussions around mental health develop, new and thoughtful methods for handling and improving mental wellness are gaining attention. Yoga is a safe outlet for feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression as the breathing practice helps to bring center and awareness to the body’s natural state. By focusing on one’s breathing, other thoughts gradually dissipate and one is left feeling calm and in control.

4. Connectedness

Whether or not you are a spiritual person, yoga offers a sense of connectedness with yourself and others. Both mentally and physically, your body connects to the mind as much as it connects to the floor and a sense of oneness is the result. You begin to gain greater respect and appreciation for those around you as you begin to understand that we are all in this together.

5. Confidence

Every yogi has to start from somewhere. Nerves and inferiority are often felt when first starting yoga as it opens the mind and body to a place of openness, trust, and vulnerability. By opening oneself up in that way though it not only allows for growth and development, it ultimately fosters a place for confidence to grow.

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Why Everyone Should Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

For the thoughtful generalist. Happy reading, JollyGens!

A few months ago I set out on a journey of self-improvement. While I am always looking for ways to grow and learn, I found myself at a point where I wanted to be my best version and that meant looking deep inside to figure out who that was. Courses, discussions, and exploration in a variety of situations opened my eyes to endless opportunity and potential but one thing, in particular, has always stuck out – Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Introduced to it by my dad, I looked forward to reading it as I knew it was a classic for all ages. My dad noted it as being one of, if not the most, influential book that he’d read in his life. Thinking “now that’s a big statement…” I had my expectations set high. As I started getting into it, I really began to understand why.

Stephen Covey so graceful and modestly takes simple concepts and interconnects them together in a way that makes so much sense. Written almost 30 years ago, it still applies to today as much as it did back then. By breaking it down into 7 habits that build upon one another, it’s easy to understand the incredible impact working on your character, rather than your personality, can have. The habits are by no means simple or quick fixes but rather well-constructed guidelines to follow as you put in the work towards self-improvement.

Even before finishing the book, I was raving about how influential it was to friends. After completing it, I wanted to make sure as many people knew about it as possible. If you want to learn more about the book and reasons to read it, check out some of the links below:

https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/habits-of-highly-effective-people-summary#sm.0000wl6ehlhcbeu8s0914p7ch8s63

http://www.deconstructingexcellence.com/the-7-habits-of-highly-effective-people-summary/

 

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Interview with a PhD Student

For the academic generalist. “Celebrate the little win(e)s”, JollyGens!

The great part of being a generalist is learning about what others find interesting. And what better type of person to speak to, who loves learning and is an expert in their field, than the Ph.D. student. We interviewed a Health Sciences student to tell us a bit about how they got into and became a specialist in their area of study.

1. What lead you to want to do your Ph.D.?

After graduating undergrad and doing research for a year I realized that I still had a lot of questions about my area of research. In order to explore those questions deeper, I decided to do my Masters and then pursue my Ph.D.

2. What did you do your undergrad and Masters in?

I completed my undergrad in Health Sciences and my Masters in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

3. Did you enjoy your Masters more than your undergrad?

I was more interested in what I was learning in my Masters because my undergrad was quite broad so I had to take courses that I wasn’t particularly interested in. My Masters, on the other hand, focused more specifically on my areas of interest.

4. Did you know you wanted to do your Ph.D. before started your Masters?

No, I decided to pursue my Ph.D. while completing my Masters.

5. What are you doing your Ph.D. in?

Speech Language Pathology.

5. How many years is your Ph.D. and how far along are you?

It is a five-year program and I’m about two years in.

5. Did the number of years of schooling ever intimidate you?

Yes. I still find it sometimes intimidating but for different reasons.

6. How so?

Now that I’ve begun exploring my subject, I no longer worry about how many years I still have to go. Instead, I have a hard time figuring out how to fit everything I want and need to do into the next three years.

7. How do you plan to use your Ph.D. after graduation?

I would like to do clinical research in my field. A lot of school boards are now starting to hire researchers since there is interest in initiating new programs that are more helpful for students. I’d like to be a part of creating and implementing programs that work.

8. Any words of advice for other students looking to pursue their Ph.D.?

It takes a lot of commitment but is really satisfying to study something that you love every day. Create a support network with other people in academia that understand what you are going through because it is very different from the working world.

9. Do you need to be passionate about what you study?

Yes. It would be hard to commit to something that requires so much time and energy if you weren’t passionate about it.

10. Any last words?

Celebrate the little wins… and find a good wine!

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