5 Reasons Why Yoga Will Make You Feel Better
Yoga is so much more accessible nowadays. You can practice yoga at home or take a class at a studio or a gym. You can find challenging flow classes, chill restorative classes, or technique-based beginner classes. And that’s great, because there are so many benefits to gain from a yoga practice! One big one? It just makes you feel good.
You know that post-yoga feeling? Where you’re calm but energized, and everything feels better in the world? It’s not a placebo effect — there are many ways yoga makes you feel better.
Here are five reasons why your yoga class puts you in a good mood when you’re feeling depressed or anxious.
1. It lets you release control.
Your yoga practice isn’t about controlling what comes next. It’s about being in the present moment.
In fact, you often don’t know what moves are coming up in a sequence, so you have to let go of expectations and just go with the (yoga) flow.
Since yoga combines physical movements with relaxation techniques, it can help silence the constant need to control your whole life.
“Yoga can train the body in moments of work and stress to cultivate the healing breaths that will bring the mind and body to a place of acceptance, no matter the obstacle,” says Laila Howard, E-RYT 200.
2. It allows you to concentrate on one goal.
Most yoga classes include a theme, which takes your practice from a workout to a lifestyle. In Theme Weaver, Michelle Berman Marchildon says, “while the poses can change your body, the theme can change your life.”
“The theme makes the class a more holistic experience,” says Howard. It’s about “bridging the physical work to the mental and emotional work.”
3. It can give you individualized attention.
Touch has the power to heal. Research suggests that touch is beneficial to human communication, bonding, and health. Humans require physical touch to thrive, but societal restrictions on physical contact (especially during the times of COVID-19!) mean we are missing human connection.
“Touch is a connection,” says Howard. “It shows the student that you are there to support them in their healing work.”
What if you’re sheltering in place (or not quite ready to be in a crowded studio)? Don’t overlook the power of making eye contact during virtual classes! Openfit Live has you covered, with convenient classes that let you connect with a real yoga teacher in real time.
4. It helps you work up a sweat.
Sweating happens in most workouts, including yoga. This is actually your body’s way of cooling down. Sweat allows the body to maintain an equilibrium. It gets your blood circulating and is good for your skin, freeing impurities like dirt.
While hot yoga is sure to make you sweat, it all depends on the yogi and the type of practice, says Howard. Water intake, your health, lifestyle, and genetics can affect how much a person sweats, she says.
Just because you aren’t sweating doesn’t mean you aren’t working hard! If you do yoga at home or in an air-conditioned studio, your sweat may evaporate before you notice it.
5. It helps you focus on your breath.
According to David Keil, author of Functional Anatomy of Yoga, “in yogic philosophy, we use breath control, or pranayama, to both cultivate and interact with the energy in our body.”
Breathwork helps us regulate brain wave patterns in tough times. (Um, like all of 2020?) Have you ever been in a stressful situation, taken a deep breath, and felt better? Balanced breathing gives us power over our nervous system, which can improve our mood. Yoga is awesome during stressful times.
There is no “right” way to breathe in a yoga class. “Different breaths serve different purposes,” says Howard. “There are breaths to heat the body; there is breath to cool the body down. There are breaths to balance the body and breath to calm the mind.”