Yoga is so much more than just a physical workout. From improving the quality of your sleep to helping you manage stress, here are five benefits you reap long after class is over!
Yoga helps you relax, anchors your circadian rhythm, and stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system. It also promotes hormone balance and triggers a healthy production of melatonin, which is crucial to turn on your “rest and digest” mode.
Of course, not every yoga style will lull you to sleep, so it’s important to learn which will give you the best results. People usually practice restorative styles, like yin yoga, yoga Nidra, and slow flow sessions, in the evening when their bodies naturally tend to slow down and prepare for dreamland.
These styles focus on deeper breaths, longer passive holds, slowing the mind, and letting go of the day. Many people who practice these styles of yoga report sleeping longer, falling asleep faster, or just an overall improvement in the quality of their sleep. Some also return to sleep more quickly if they wake up and have more vivid dreams.
For many people, living in the “now” is a goal. No one wants to go through life constantly thinking about the next thing on the to-do list, yet we all do.
How often have you done something without thinking about it? Whether it’s taking your regular route to work, cooking a routine meal, or getting the kids ready for school, we’re often just going through the motions.
Yoga helps you focus on your breath and brings you into the present moment. It allows you to open all your senses and feel, observe, and experience everything that’s happening in that moment.
When you take this approach, it can help you remain present, whether you’re driving, having dinner with friends, or watching a TV show.
Building Up a Tolerance
Our modern-day attention spans tend to be very limited, and our tempers tend to be short. As a result, we might snap at the bartender when he gets our order wrong or honk at the person in the car in front of us because he’s driving under the speed limit.
Fortunately, if you find you have a short fuse, you can do something about it! Practicing yoga on the regular will help you declutter your mind. It will also teach you to breathe deeply and soundly, so you can more easily rest and relax.
Your body isn’t meant to be in constant fight-or-flight mode. Once you tap into a more Zen state of mind, it will be harder for you to return to the old stressful ways.
Yoga helps you build up a tolerance for stress. Literally seeing situations from different perspectives during yoga helps you do the same on a deeper level. As a result, you can develop more patience and deepen your understanding of others.
After you build up a tolerance to stress, yoga can also help you manage it easier. As your reactions to stressful situations improve, your mind works harder to rationalize why they cause your cortisol to rise. In turn, this causes you to analyze whether getting upset is worth it. Fight-or-flight mode exists for one reason, and that’s to help you deal with immediate danger. It shouldn’t be your standard mode.
The more you practice yoga and tune into yourself, the more you’ll be able to filter life situations and place them in the proper categories. And fight-or-flight will then be reserved for only immediate danger situations.
The more you think about your daily life, the more you’ll realize there aren’t many situations that fit that category. And soon, your cortisol won’t jump like crazy, and you’ll be able to deal with stress in a much calmer way.
Last, but not least, yoga can work wonders for your focus. Since all yoga moves are governed by inhales and exhales, focusing on breath becomes very natural. And you’ll continue doing it after class, too.
By eliminating all other factors, you omit multitasking from your routine and create a better environment for any task you’re tackling.
You’ll also gain more clarity, improve your productivity, boost your creativity, and so much more if you regularly get your namaste on.
Next time you’re in yoga class, think about how you can implement it into your daily life. Slowly but surely, you’ll realize why so many people rave about its overall wellness benefits.