Four Ways Yoga can Help Improve your Happiness
We live in a world where a heck of a lot of people are trying to find out how to be more happy. Whether it's looking for an inspirational book, tackling the quarter or mid-life crisis, or just desperately trying to get out of a funk, it's something that many of us have experienced. It's just not something that we always like to talk about.
But, hey. Here's the truth. Life isn't always rainbows and butterflies. And that's okay.
There are a lot of coping mechanisms out there, but here are four ways yoga can help improve your happiness.
1) Yoga Makes You Present
Conner Waterman and Jessica Epps in Domingo Zapata - Panda
Many of us face the hardship of learning how to live in the present. Anxious thoughts might surface from dwelling in the past or trying to predict the future. But, guess what? No matter how much you worry or think about what happened yesterday, it won't make it go away. No matter how much you try to control tomorrow, you can't. All you have is right now.
When practicing yoga, you are encouraged to focus on the now. How is your breath? How do your feet feel on the ground? How can you stretch deeper? How can you become greater? During your yoga class, you are 100 percent focused on your body and yourself. You are living in the present.
2) Yoga Reduces Muscle Tension
Conner Waterman in Domingo Zapata - Abstract Floral
If you pay attention to your body, you can learn a lot about your mind. Often times, your feelings and emotions actually affect how you physically feel. For example, when you are anxious, your chest might get tight or your stomach may bunch up. When you are feeling "off" and like all of your conversations are forced, your head may feel cloudy and really heavy.
Your mind and body are related.
Yoga can help relieve muscle tension by strengthening, lengthening, and relaxing your body. So by practicing yoga, you can feel better both physically and mentally.
3) Yoga Is An Accomplishment
Domingo Zapata Collection
Remember when we were kids and got gold stars in class for doing a good job? It was such a great feeling!
Sometimes, as adults, we don't give ourselves nearly enough credit. We don't take a minute to stop, give ourselves a pat on the back, and say, "Hey, awesome job! You're a star."
With yoga, you are encouraged to stop and slooooow down. With every pose that you hold, with every stretch that you lengthen, and with every moment that you become more centered, you have time to mentally give yourself a big hug and two thumbs up. For every improvement - yoga or non-yoga related - you make, give yourself the love and appreciation that you deserve.
4) Yoga Helps With Your Breathing
Domingo Zapata - Abstract Floral
If you have anxiety or panic attacks, then you may have experienced troubles with breathing and lightheadedness. That is never a situation that anyone wants to be in - we know how horrible that can feel.
Luckily, one of the most important aspects of yoga is focusing on your breath. And when you have mastered your breathing techniques in class, you can also apply that same skillset to when you are feeling anxious or panicky. Inhale slowly. Breathe in all of that positivity. Exhale slowly. Rid yourself of that negativity. Take slow and deep breaths until you once again feel grounded.
Hey, That's A Wrap!
Hopefully after reading this post, you can see that there are more ways than one that yoga can help with happiness; and we only scratched the surface!
So, for those that practice yoga, next time, pay close attention to how you feel before and after. And to those that don't practice, give it a try! You might just be pleasantly surprised with how great you feel after your class. Have a great Thursday everyone and catch you next week!
Until then, namaste