What comes to mind when you think of the benefits of yoga? How do you define this spiritual practice?
As a yoga instructor, I often describe yoga as an inward pursuit of aligning the body, mind and spirit – connecting with your inner being and surrendering to the moment. I also note the health and wellness benefits of yoga and how valuable it is to practice yoga daily.
There are times however, when I’m teaching and everyone becomes . . . way too serious. I often remind my students that it’s okay to smile, laugh and sing out loud – because yoga is also about joy.
You may have heard these same qualities of yoga described by your yoga teacher or friends, but there are other benefits of yoga that aren’t often discussed and that are actually really underrated . . .
Here Are the Top 10 Underrated Benefits of Yoga:
When you practice yoga, you get more than a clear focus and strong triceps. Read on for ten lesser-known but really important – and inspiring – benefits of yoga.
1. Anti-Aging Benefits
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.
If you’re feeling stressed, check out 10 Yoga Poses Proven to Reduce Stress to help keep you feeling and looking youthful and healthy.
2. Cultivate Self-Love
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.
Looking for ways to practice self-love beyond your yoga mat? Check out Start Practicing Self-Love Now! Here’s How . . .
3. Help With 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.
If you suffer from back pain, sciatica, headaches or insomnia, check out Practice These Yoga Poses to Relieve Common Ailments.
4. Experience 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.
If you’re looking for a great yoga sequence to practice before bed, practice this free Simple Bedtime Yoga Sequence for Restful Sleep.
5. Live Mindfully
Mindfulness is being present in the moment. 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.
You can begin practicing mindfulness on and off the mat, check out DIY 30-Day Mindfulness Challenge.
6. Find Your Purpose
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.
For more tips on finding your purpose, check out How to Listen to Your Dharma and Find Your True Purpose.
7. Yoga Taps You Into 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 does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the
person who sees.” – B.K.S Iyengar
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.
If you want to learn more about the chakra that connects to your intuition, read about The Third Eye Chakra and How It Connects Us to Our Intuition.
8. Establish Strong 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.
Are you interested in AcroYoga to strengthen your relationship? Check out 5 AcroYoga Poses for a Stronger Relationship.
9. Cultivate Compassion + 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.
Yoga helps open your heart so you can 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 from the Dalai Lama:
“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.”
Check out 5 Inspirational Quotes to Apply to Your Yoga Practice for more great quotes.
The Benefits of Yoga Reach Far Beyond the Physical Into All Aspects of Your Life
These underrated benefits of practicing yoga are just as important as the more commonly recognized physical and mental benefits. Yoga can change your entire outlook on life and open your mind to new possibilities.
To think of yoga as purely a means to staying physically fit is just the tip of the iceberg.
Have you experienced any of these underrated benefits while practicing yoga? Do you think yoga can completely change your life? We would love to hear from you, so please leave your feedback in the comments below.