Five Unexpected Benefits of Your Yoga Practice
As my practice has growned and shaped over the last decade, I’ve noticed some more unexpected benefits from the yoga practice
Maybe you do yoga for the physical benefits. You feel stronger, less ache-y, and just all around, well, better. If you’ve practiced awhile, maybe you’ve noticed some mental and emotional benefits. Less clutter, more clarity, and a general sense of well-being are common side effects of yoga. But if you really look deep, you may have noticed a few unexpected benefits of yoga as well.
As a yoga teacher and practitioner, yoga is a massive part of my life. As my practice has growned and shaped over the last decade, I’ve noticed some more unexpected benefits from the yoga practice. I shared some of mine below, and would love to hear some of yours as well!
1. You’ll Become a Better Dancer
One of the more tangible benefits of a consistent yoga practice is greater body awareness. You become more connected to the way your body moves, and you begin to prioritize moving in a way that feels good to you. In this sense, a consistent yoga practice can make you a “better” dancer.
It’s not about technicality here, we don’t teach you modern hip-hop or the hottest vogue-ing moves in yoga. It’s about feeling confident in your body. That’s what makes a great dancer! Plus, a greater range of motion and flexibility could help you whip out some new moves.
2. You’ll Become a Better Partner / Spouse
Communication and patience are at the epicenter of a supportive relationship. In our physical yoga practice, we work on stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. This is responsible for our rest and digest responses. A strong parasympathetic nervous system can lead to greater resilience in stressful situations, like when your partner leaves their dirty socks all over the house.
On a deeper level, a consistent and intentional yoga practice puts us in deep connection with our mental and emotional body. We’re more in-tune with how we’re feeling and we’re better equipped to work through challenging emotions. If you struggle with communicating your true feelings to your partner, a regular mindfulness practice like yoga could help you with articulating some of these feelings.
3. You’ll Get Less Injuries
Yoga strengthens the connective tissues in our body known as fascia. It also strengthens your joints (knees, shoulders and wrists) when practiced properly. There’s a reason why yoga is one of the most recommended exercises for older generations - it keeps your body limber.
When your body is limber, you can better recover from injuries or avoid them all together. Yoga also increases your balance abilities, so you’re less likely to fall. When it comes to our bodies, the euphamism stands: “if you don’t use it, you lose it.”
4. You’ll Be Able to Hold Your Breath Longer
Maybe it’s a bit shallow, but who doesn’t love winning little contests like “who can hold their breath the longest”? In yoga we work on intentionally deepening our breath. It’s what connects us to the parasympathetic nervous system I mentioned earlier.
As you practice more asana and pranayama (yoga breathing exercises) you’ll notice your capacity to breathe deeply increase.
5. You’ll Make New Friends Easier
Many people say it’s hard to make friends as adults. And in the still rolling pandemic era, it may seem nearly impossible. Though yoga is usually a solitary practice, just the act of getting out to a new yoga studio ups your chances of meeting new and exciting friends.
There isn’t much talking while you’re on the mat, but time before and after class can happily be spent getting to know your fellow classmates. You’ve already figured out that you have a least one thing in common. Maybe you could go out for a cup of adaptogenic coffee together next.
What’s an unexpected benefit you’ve found from your practice? Let me know in the comments.
Hey there 👋 I’m Sierra
I’m a writer, mindfulness coach, community builder, and traveling moonchild.
I’m here to help you release anxiety & self-doubt so that you can create a vibrant life of presence and abundance!
Follow me on Instagram @thelocalmystic