Recent research credits a regular yoga practice with more than blissful zen and a buff bod— but it turns out that getting downward dog also makes us better human beings! A study published in the Journal of Holistic Nursing found that just 2 hours of yoga, per week makes us kinder, more patient, and just happier people to be around.
Here are eight ways that yoga makes us nicer, kinder, and more self-aware…
If you’ve participated in a yoga class after a stressful day at work, you can certainly attest to how the urge to bite someone’s head off gradually dissipates along with every lunge and forward fold. The study published in the Journal of Holistic Nursing showed that a mere 60-minute yoga practice had the power to banish a bad mood, soothe stress, and transform negative thoughts into a positive outlook on life.
Not only will yoga make you much less prone to snap at your partner or spouse—new research from the International Society For Sexual Medicine suggests that a few hours of yoga each week will boost more than your mood; it will actually put you in the mood and improve your prowess in the bedroom. And let’s face it; a better sex life usually creates a big smile!
If communication really is the key to a solid relationship then doing partner yoga (yoga poses that require the support of a partner) will help you build on both verbal and non verbal communication with your special someone. How? Partner yoga stresses interaction through guided breath, supported movements, and eye contact that solidifies a deeply intimate bond.
Usually one of the first cues a yoga teacher gives us in class is, “Listen to your body and tune into what you’re feeling.” This time we set aside is devoted to helping us tune into exactly how we are feeling, what’s bothering us, where we feel stress or tension, and creates a healthy sense of self-awareness so that we can fix all of these small issues before they build up and cause a larger health issue.
Teaches Giving and Receiving
Be it partner yoga (yoga done with the support of a partner) or just you and your mat, yoga teaches a healthy relationship with giving and receiving. The connection you have as your hands and feet connect with the mat—or as you sit connected back-to-back with a supportive partner—helps us understand the importance and reward that comes with both giving and receiving in our daily lives.
The gratitude, love, and self-kindness embedded in each yoga practice is meant to help us live more mindfully—meaning it creates an understanding of how our interactions with others and our actions towards ourselves have impact.
Helps Us Deal with Stress
Sometimes all it takes is a snide comment from the boss or a sigh our child to stress us out. However, thanks to yoga guided breathing exercises, suddenly we can shake the small stuff a little easier. Not only does yoga help us realize our emotions—it also provides the tools to stay calm in the face of anxiety in everyday life.
Encourages Responsibility and Forgiveness
Yoga not only teaches self-love by creating gratitude; the inward teachings of yoga help us better understand our effect on those around us (in both action and word). It’s difficult to admit when our words and actions come from a selfish, guilty, or judgmental place, but yoga teaches us to step back, reassess, and admit responsibility, which can open the door to a deeper awareness and peaceful resolution.