Yoga practice has enjoyed a major boost over the past twenty years, and it’s no wonder: the health benefits are enormous. Increased flexibility, strength, stamina and endurance are just a few of the perks practitioners enjoy. Improved dexterity, spatial awareness, hand-eye coordination and many more follow suit. Maintaining a consistent practice yields benefits far beyond the physical realm, however. Here are 14 surprising emotional benefits of a regular yoga practice:
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Practicing yoga incorporates breathing exercises which have been shown to help reduce and manage anxiety.
The increased attention required for focus on breathing exercises and asana development helps regular practitioners gain sharper focus.
Yoga requires intense focus on precise movements and controlled breathing, which help a practitioner maintain calm. Meditation techniques often utilized during practice also help to intensify calmness.
Scientific research has shown that practitioners develop better concentration skills within 8 weeks of beginning their practice.
Yoga helps to alleviate depression in a number of ways, from allowing traumas to surface through the therapeutic alignment of certain postures to the increased mindfulness that aids in decreasing negative self-talk and obsessive, unhelpful ruminations.
Yoga is recommended by doctors the world over for mediating hostility and anger. It’s commonly thought that the increased mindfulness and positive self-awareness prevalent in a consistent practice helps yogis defuse hostility and anger.
Practicing yoga increases blood circulation, which improves memory.
Yoga practice emphasizes a mind-body connection that few, if any, other exercises can develop. Yogis with consistent practices reap the benefits of this connection with increased calm and serenity, greater peace and more expansive awareness.
The development of a healthy body, improvement of the mind-body connection and increased self-awareness all help yoga practitioners stabilise and improve moods.
A consistent, regular yoga practice helps bring into balance many bodily hormones and processes, helping yogis achieve a more positive outlook on life.
By turning one’s focus inward and striving for progress, not perfection, yogis are better able to enjoy self-acceptance.
Yoga emphasizes the importance of control in maintaining deeply fluid, ever-evolving asanas. This focus on control is easily conducted into a yogi’s daily life. This recent study in particular demonstrates the importance of yoga in achieving effective self-control.
How does a practice that involves such deep introspection help with one’s social skills? Glad you asked. Yoga’s teachings of the interconnectedness of life compels yogis to deepen their connectivity with all life forms, especially those already close such as friends, family and colleagues. This can be especially helpful in working with populations with developmental disabilities, such as autism.
Yoga requires intense focus to practice successfully, so yoigs are used to concentrating on matters in the here and now and not allowing outside issues or problems they cannot resolve immediately upset them. This helps reduce stress substantially and translates into life in myriad ways. Check out this group of teens using yoga for stress management.