9 Ways Yoga Makes You a Better Person

“Yoga is the ultimate practice. It simultaneously stimulates our inner light and quiets our overactive minds. It is both energy and rest. Yin and Yang. We feel the burn and find our bliss.”

— Elise Joan

For thousands of years, people have turned to yoga to quiet their minds, improve physical well-being, and rejuvenate their spirit. This ancient practice unlocks a more positive, more centered version of yourself and equips your body with what it needs to heal. 

Yoga is the union of mind, body, and spirit, and regular practice will transform your life for the better. Here’s how yoga makes you a better person:

Physical benefits of yoga

Nine ways yoga makes you a better person 

If you’ve been hesitant to try yoga, there is no time like the present. It improves physical well-being through gentle yet challenging postures and makes you a better person at the same time. 

Scientific studies have shown that yoga improves quality of life and can make you happier, more relaxed, and more empathetic. Embrace all that this incredible meditative practice has to offer.

Teaches you patience

“If you fall over, you fall over. If you have to stop, you stop. But you start again. Just like life itself, you start again.”

— Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa

The first time you grab your mat and attempt a yoga practice, you are likely to find a few things your body simply just can’t do. Complicated twists, split-like poses, and binds may be out of reach. And that’s okay! 

Yoga isn’t about pushing yourself to the point of injury or forcing yourself into positions. It is about listening to your body and asking rather than telling.

Yoga requires great patience, and as you grow in your practice, you will notice your patience with yourself and others growing as well — on and off the mat. 

Soon, with time, repetition, and perseverance, you’ll be achieving poses you never thought possible and accomplishing goals in your life that you thought were out of reach.

Allows you to connect with the natural world

“The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms.”

— Thich Nhat Hanh

Most yoga classes end with corpse pose (savasana), which is, as it sounds, lying on the ground in a supine position and letting your body melt into the earth, releasing stress from your muscles. 

When you take this pose, especially after practicing yoga outdoors with the sounds of the natural world around you, you allow your body to connect to the earth and release all of your tension into the ground. 

Many asanas (yoga poses), such as Tree, Eagle, and Cobra, take their names from animals and features in nature, and you channel this energy as you open your mind and heart. This allows for a deeper connection with your physical body and the natural world around you. 

Helps you become kinder 

Yoga does not just change the way we see things; it transforms the person who sees.”

― B.K.S Iyengar

Yoga is all about listening and paying attention to your instructor, your body, and the feelings generated by your flow. The more you practice this intentional listening, the more you start to look beyond the surface and get in touch with a different part of your personality — a kinder side with more empathy and understanding.

Gives you the courage to try new things

“Change only happens in the present moment. The past is already done. The future is just energy and intention.”

— Kino MacGregor

What has been does not always have to be. It is common to get stuck in a rut and routine in your mind. The beautiful thing is, you have the power to change that. And yoga can help you achieve that change.

Meditation through physical mindfulness and awareness encourages you to step out of your comfort zone, set an intention for the future you imagine, and do something new for yourself.

Makes you less stressed 

“True meditation is about being fully present with everything that is including discomfort and challenges. It is not an escape from life.”

― Craig Hamilton

It is so easy to slip into stress cycles, letting chronic stress destroy your mental and physical wellbeing and feeling powerless to stop it. Yoga, rather than being an escape from your stressors, is a means of being fully present with yourself and accepting what you cannot change. 

Once you start to pursue mindfulness and utilize the stress-reducing power of deep breathing and physical movement, you will get more in tune with your emotions and learn to react with peace and awareness. 

Yoga is scientifically linked to a reduction in stress, with many studies supporting the practice for treating and reducing chronic stress. Decreasing chronic stress improves cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure and reducing heart rate. 

Boosts your self-confidence 

Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.”

― The Bhagavad Gita

Yoga is deeply personal, enabling you to connect with your mental and physical self. It is a journey of growth, self-reflection, and self-love. Being still and centered on the mat forces you to strip away all of your barriers and open your heart.

Over time, this will become easier. You will start trusting your inner voice and will begin to recognize all of the things your incredible body is capable of. Improved self-confidence spreads into every area of your life, changing your work and personal relationships and even enhancing your sex drive!

This isn’t just anecdotal either; an extensive study of young adults found that those who practiced yoga had improved self-esteem and better body image. 

Helps fight depression and anxiety

“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.”

— Amit Ray

Yoga, like other exercises, boosts your mood by releasing endorphins, feel-good chemicals that fight off depression and anxiety. However, it may also increase Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels, a neurological chemical with anti-anxiety and anti-depressive benefits. 

One study of patients with clinical depression found that those who practiced yoga multiple times per week had elevated GABA levels after three months. Other studies support these results, making yoga an intriguing treatment for depression and anxiety symptoms. 

Teaches you to let go

“Yoga is a dance between control and surrender — between pushing and letting go — and when to push and when to let go becomes part of the creative process, part of the open-ended exploration of your being.”

— Joel Kramer

There is something so peaceful about relaxing into a yoga pose. Instead of forcing yourself into the stretch, you simply let go, overcoming your body’s natural inclination towards tension. 

This translates off the mat as well. When you train your body to let go of restrictions, you will cultivate a more peaceful mindset in your life, embracing change with new centeredness and awareness. 

Increases self-awareness

Through sustained focus and meditation on our patterns, habits, and conditioning, we gain knowledge and understanding of our past and how we can change the patterns that aren’t serving us to live more freely and fully.”

— Patañjali

High-intensity exercises are excellent for getting your heart rate up (certain yoga flows do as well) and boosting your stamina and cardio capabilities. However, balancing a fast-paced workout with slow, introspective yoga is critical for full-body wellness. 

Taking stock of your limbs, muscles, joints, and mindset with intentional, deliberate stretching will help you become more aware of your physical and emotional state. This allows you to identify when something is amiss and will help you communicate with your body. 

Yoga can also improve focus. Self-awareness and prioritizing the present moment can eradicate distracting thoughts that keep you from achieving your full potential. 

A celebration of life

Remember, yoga isn’t just rushing through a few poses; it is about cultivating a deep, mindful connection between your brain and body through breathing, mediation, and asanas. Many people discover a passion for living a healthier lifestyle through yoga and become more aware of their dietary habits, sleep patterns, and environmental impact. 

Next steps

Say yes to yoga! It can help you achieve your 100 Year Heart and live a fulfilled, vibrant life. Namaste.

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Medical Review: Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD 2022

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