How I find balance — May 2015

How Joshua Jackson uses yoga to maintain a balanced lifestyle.

Joshua Jackson, 33, CPA, CA, administrator, corporate financial recovery services, BDO Canada Ltd.

I first tried Bikram [a type of hot] yoga when I was in university — I got dragged along by my girlfriend at the time. Even as someone who’d played football and rugby and done some mixed martial arts training, I found it extremely challenging — that’s what hooked me on it initially. Then I began noticing the physical benefits — do it for a week and you can already feel the difference. When you’ve got a lot of scar tissue from sports injuries, you can really tell that yoga opens up this range of motion and improves balance. If you’ve torn a ligament in your knee, it’s really hard to stabilize; there are a lot of yoga postures that you do on one leg, which help improve that.

Mentally, there’s an element of meditation to yoga — it’s very relaxing and de-stressing. It slows down the mind and forces you to focus; as a result, I’ve developed some soft skills in terms of concentration, patience and letting things go. Coping with the heat and strain (classes are typically at least 40 C with 40% humidity) physically and mentally teaches you how to handle stress. You get hot, it’s hard to breathe, you’re sweating, you’re tired — and you can either focus on that or you can just breathe and understand that it’s a temporary thing and you’re going to get through it. Unfortunately, I haven’t been to classes for the past few months; I’ve been so busy that it’s hard to commit to two-plus hours (classes are 90 minutes, and you have to shower afterwards, because you’re covered in sweat). I’ve just switched to a new role and my schedule has changed, so I’m hoping to find that balance of going to yoga maybe twice a week, to be reminded of the things it teaches you, [as well as having] a work-out regime of cardio and weights. It’s tough to put a price on something that has such a positive effect, both mentally and physically.

As told to Wendy Haaf