6 Things Yogis Do Every Day

The benefits of yoga extend beyond the mat. Here are 6 valuable lessons that you can practice to live like a yogi

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The benefits of yoga

Serious yogis show strength and agility on the mat, but the benefits of yoga also extend to their everyday lives. How does yoga influence what practitioners do day-to-day? Here, yoga instructor Amber Joliat, owner of Misfit Studio in Toronto, shares how her yoga practice guides her through her day.

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Wake up with movement

Joliat does a short practice every morning before she heads to her studio. "I do it right beside the bed - I wake up, stretch out, get the fascia moving and then start the day," she says. The brief sequence helps her prepare for her day. "If we have a little internal light switch, stretching turns it on. I can feel my body wake up with movement."

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Live mindfully

As a business owner with a bustling studio, Joliat is as time-strapped as the rest of us. But her ongoing yoga practice has taught her to be more mindful of her emotions and actions. "To embody the word 'mindfulness' is to be slow enough and quiet enough to observe each moment so that there's a general sense of connection to everything," she says. "I bring the elements of mindfulness into everyday activities, so I feel like I live in a much clearer and more present way, whether it's brushing my teeth or walking down the street."

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Maintain discipline

Though Joliat was a dancer for much of her early life, her strong sense of self-control didn't take hold until after she started studying yoga in her early 20s. "With yoga, as you feel the body fatigue, you know there is an eventual end and this deep satisfaction of lying in the stillness of savasana [corpse pose]." Understanding that difficult tasks come to an end fosters discipline to help Joliat to do everything from staying hydrated throughout the day to sitting down and finishing a frustrating project.

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Take a deep breath

Joliat uses yogic breathing practices to help calm down when she's feeling anxious or stressed. "Breathing can sometimes be taken for granted but there's power in a deep breath. It gives us the power to quiet the mind physiologically," she says. "It's a super-powerful tool, if you're in a heated argument or if something shows up that stirs frustration, to remember, 'I can breathe here. This is going to be okay.'"

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Find the deeper lesson

The mindfulness that Joliat cultivates in her yoga practice helps her search for meaning in troubling situations. "Right now I have this little conflict in my life and I think what my yoga practice has done is allowed me to see that even in the conflict, there can be a moment of lesson," she says. Rather than let difficulties colour her day-to-day life with anger and frustration, Joliat isolates the struggle and looks for the deeper reason behind it.

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Eat nutritious foods

Joliat attributes her daily healthy eating choices to the positive affect yoga has on her body. "When you move your body and feel better, you don't gravitate toward eating unhealthy food; you eat healthy food because you want to continue to feel good," she explains. Also, because she knows she'll be doing a rigorous practice, Joliat makes sure to stay hydrated and nourished throughout the day. "Yoga perpetuates this healthy cycle of positive choices," she says.

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