Besides working up a sweat and discovering how to twist your body into pretzel-like shapes, yoga offers a plethora of additional benefits. Yoga also offers us tangible lessons that can be directly integrated into our everyday lives. Eastern and Western medical experts agree that dedicating yourself to a regular yoga practice can support you on a physical, emotional and spiritual level.
Here are 5 lesser-known benefits of yoga that will transform your life in positive ways:
Dedicating time to practice yoga is an offering to yourself and a clear statement that says ‘I am worthy.’ Your yoga practice isn’t selfish, and it isn’t any less important that the other dozen things on your to-do list. In fact, taking time to nurture and nourish yourself ensures you have the energy and mindset to tackle whatever may show up in your world. Yoga reminds us that no matter what we have going on in our life, the need to take care of ourselves is non-negotiable.
We tend to move through our days on autopilot, always one step ahead in the future or looking back into the past, instead of really being firmly grounded in the here and now. Yoga is one of the most powerful ways to literally pull yourself into the present moment. Here, you find your breath, you find stillness, you find clarity and you find yourself. Stepping onto your mat is almost like stepping into the eye of the storm- a place where no matter what may be whirling about outside of you, you find a place of peace and gratitude for the simplicity of the present moment. This time on the mat enables you to step back into the ‘storm’ (so to speak!) with clarity and calmness.
A Yoga ‘High’
On a physical level, yoga does indeed offer a plethora of benefits for the body. From assisting digestion, increasing strength and flexibility, toning muscles, creating limber joints, supporting spinal health and alleviating pain, yoga has been proven to be a tremendous tool both for healing and prevention. Yoga can also help to boost endorphins and uplift our mood. The post-yoga feeling of euphoria we experience is often called a ‘yoga high’ and is certainly an inspiring reason to jump on your mat! Need a quick boost? Try an inversion like handstand or a simple inversion like laying on your back with your legs up the wall.
Yoga has the magical ability to lift us up, and also ground us down. Yoga reconnects us to the earth and to our bodies in a unique and empowering way. When we feel grounded, we can move through life with strength and purpose. We can make decisions with ease, and we can easily connect with our ‘gut feeling’ or our intuition. When we are too ‘airy’ or ungrounded, we are easily swayed and easily distracted. A daily practice maintains this connection and enables us to stay in control and dedicated to what truly matters in life. Feeling indecisive or scattered? Break out a warrior pose for 5 deep breaths!
There is an inherent beauty in the practice of yoga. It has a softness and grace and offers a journey through which we discover new things about ourselves and the world around us. Yoga inspires us to be better people, to follow the things that set our hearts on fire, and to be the change we wish to see in the world. Yoga reminds us that we are all connected and the power of the practice helps to create a community and help us to feel supported. Yoga reminds us of our infinite potential and encourages us to keep showing up, no matter what life serves us. Need a little extra inspiration? Close your eyes, bring your hands to your heart, and find three things you are grateful for in life right now.