What are some of the benefits that instantly come to mind when you think about the practice of yoga? Obviously you can get great toned, lean muscle all over, improve your flexibility, and use it as a tool to decompress and unwind at the end of a stressful day. But there are some other lesser-known benefits of yoga that you may not be so aware of.
By practicing yoga daily, you can not only reap those well-known benefits, but also the more underrated physical and emotional benefits. Check out the top 10 below!
Is yoga really anti-aging? Yes! A consistent yoga practice keeps the circulatory, endocrine, digestive and lymphatic systems healthy and functioning properly. Just a few minutes of yoga a day will enhance your overall wellness. You will attain a natural glow on the outside and see your body transform on the inside.
Another anti-aging benefit of yoga is stress reduction. Stress can cause an influx of harmful symptoms to our body and emotional health. Yoga helps to restore the parasympathetic system when the body goes into stress mode by slowing down our heart rate.
The most important relationship students – and everyone – can have is with themselves. You are absolutely worth the extra time and effort it may take to feed your soul and be happy. Never forget you are a gift just by being you.
Your time on your yoga mat is your opportunity to connect and learn to love yourself. Taking the time out of your day to attend a yoga class is a wonderful way to value your spirit, focus on your own needs and take care of yourself. This is a big part of practicing self-love.
3. Pain Tolerance
Are you among the many who have experienced pain in your back, shoulders or neck? Constant pain in your body can have a huge impact on your mindset and quality of life.
I experienced a nerve impingement in my low back that was quite painful. Yoga not only helped ease my physical pain, but also taught me how to connect with and learn from the pain.
Yoga teaches you to move gently and lovingly to keep your body safe. Yoga also helps you understand the pain is there to serve you in a greater way – possibly as a guide to help you break down emotional grievances you are facing.
4. Better Sleep
Having trouble sleeping? Yoga can help with that!
If you practice restorative yoga close to bedtime, you will help calm the nervous system and prepare the mind and body for sleep. Forward folds and resting yoga poses like Legs Up the Wall are great for promoting better sleep.
An energizing yoga practice such as vinyasa or Ashtanga Yoga can also help you sleep better at night. Having a consistent yoga practice will also help your body remain free of aches and pains that can cause sleeplessness.
Mindfulness is being present and paying attention to your daily activities. For example, we can practice mindfulness while we are walking just by listening to nature and feeling the wind on our face, or being mindful while eating by focusing on the texture and taste of our food.
Yoga also provides a wonderful opportunity to practice mindfulness. With each transition and yoga pose we practice, we are essentially unaware of anything else at that given moment. We are completely absorbed in the practice of breath and the connection to our body. Yoga allows us to be mindful of what is going on in our mind and soul.
Yoga is life changing, and some of us may have already experienced the shift in our thoughts and desires. What yoga also gives us is a sense of purpose – the desire to be the best version of ourselves and to make a difference in the world.
Yoga opens our eyes to many things, like the world around us and the connection we have to each individual being. Yoga gives us the opportunity to take this newly discovered purpose for our lives, do amazing things, and help make the world a better place.
7. Intuition and Synchronicity
Our bodies hold seven energy centers called chakras that run from the base of our spine to the top of our head. Practicing yoga helps the chakra energy flow with ease and allows us to clear any blockages in our body. Opening this energy flow allows you to feel subtle changes or shifts in your life.
Yoga can make your intuitive voice become more clear and prominent, allowing you to see life in a new way. You’ll be better able to recognize synchronicities as you become more connected to yourself and others. This is why yoga is a gift to your soul as much as it is to your mind and body.
8. Community and Relationships
Everyone who practices yoga has a story to share and wisdom to be heard. We all congregate as a community with no judgment, ego or competition and love every individual for being who they are. Yoga classes are where friendships are made and mentors are found. Yoga is a wonderful opportunity to meet new and like-minded individuals who share your keen interest in yoga and a positive lifestyle.
Yoga is a community that thrives on love and acceptance.
You can even branch out and explore the AcroYoga community and practice partner yoga. What a fun way to create a new bond with someone or strengthen your current relationships . . . AcroYoga makes for a great date night too.
9. Compassion and an Open Heart
Placing your hands in prayer near your heart emotes feelings of oneness and connection during your yoga practice. Heart-centered yoga comes from your soul, where gratitude and compassion can be felt on an intense level.
Your heart literally expands during yoga, and a vibration of love is felt instantaneously. The heart is one of the strongest organs in our body, and when you practice yoga, you share your light and love with the world and open yourself up to give and receive love more freely.
10. Inspiration and Motivation
There are many opportunities to find inspiration from yoga. Finding inspiration to live better, help others and be a better person are bonus byproducts of practicing yoga.
If you’re a yoga teacher, you become motivated to inspire your students to find their inner strength and reach their full potential. Below is one of my favorite inspirational quotes:
“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” -Dalai Lama