Meditation and Mindfulness with Daisy Johnson

I talked to my good friend and University of Michigan sophomore Daisy Johnson about the benefits of yoga and meditation, and the process of becoming a certified yoga instructor. Daisy has been practicing yoga consistently for about a year and a half now. When she first started, her goal was to touch her toes, but she has found that the effects of yoga extend far beyond flexibility.

Her Campus: How does yoga affect your physical and mental health?

Daisy Johnson: “Besides improving core strength and flexibility, yoga teaches you to sync your breath with your movements. You can smash your ego and achieve a new level of self-awareness. Yoga makes me feel more present in my relationships, more grateful, and more loving. Our egos are our self-esteem, and the foundation of our identities. By stepping outside of your ego, you can  “get out of your own head” and appreciate moments in real-time. Similar mindfulness can be found through focusing on art, sports, or other in-the-moment experiences.”

 

HC: Why did you decide to become a certified yoga instructor?

DJ: “I first considered becoming certified during a yoga class with my brother. I knew I might not be the best teacher or even end up teaching her own classes right away, but I wanted to channel my energy into something positive and push myself.”

HC: What does certification require?

DJ: “Certification requires 200 hours of training, including eight and four hour sessions two times per week. My homework consists of daily meditation, yoga practice, keeping a gratitude journal, reading, and having a “mindfulness meal’”. A mindfulness meal requires that you savor your food and show appreciation for where it’s from and how it got there. Rather than add stress to our lives like our schoolwork, this homework is meant to guide trainees down a path of peaked self-awareness, inner peace, and gratitude.”

HC: What other factors should you consider in order to maximize your yoga experience?

DJ: “It’s most important to stay hydrated. Stretching releases toxins in your body that you have to flush out. I suggest eating fruit or something else light before class. You’ll be working hard and sweating, so it’s important to keep your mineral and hydration levels up.”

HC: What do you hope to achieve by becoming an instructor?

DJ: “I’m inspired by the philosophy behind yoga and meditation. I didn’t really know what mindfulness was before yoga. When I go to a class, I enjoy being surrounded by other people who share the desire to spread love and appreciate life. By becoming an instructor, I hope to create that same environment for my students and friends.”

We all have anxieties; so even if you don’t plan on taking up yoga, use yoga philosophy to embrace your spirituality and share love and gratitude with those in your life.

 

Images courtesy of: Sonja Niederhofer