Yogis know: Yoga is so much more than a physical exercise. While practice certainly does the body a world of good, it's also incredible for our energy, mind, soul, and spirit. Yoga leaves you with a certain sparkle, a glow that yogis earn. Below are 10 ways that yoga makes you glow—inside and out.
You've probably heard the saying, “The cure for anything is saltwater... sweat, tears, or the sea.” No tears here, but the sea part is optional—SUP yoga, anyone? While it might not look so good—your ponytail clinging to the sweat on your back—sweating is good for you. It's your body's way of saying, “Hey, I'm working over here!” Liken sweat to your body's central air, it's keeping you cool. Not only that, sweating is good for your skin and helps rid your body of toxins. So head to that Bikram class and get glistening.
Get your shine on at work! There's a reason companies have been embracing wellness programs for their employees. Meditation or yoga during your lunch break? Sign up. It may help you manage your stress when tackling the daunting piles of work on your desk, or allow you to find emotional stability during those anxiety-inducing meetings with your boss. Yoga can help reduce stress levels, and according to Yoga Journal, it may even help you to have “healthier stress responses.” Go on, get that gold star!
Ah, those elusive eight hours of sleep. They're hard to come by, but important for our health and wellbeing. Take up a regular yoga practice and you may get closer to those recommended hours of snooze time, or at the very least count less sheep. According to Huffington Post, “A study published in Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback found yoga helped relieve chronic insomnia.”
If you can't find time in your schedule to head to a yoga class, try "bedtime yoga" for relaxing poses to help you drift off into dreamland and wake up feeling refreshed.
Nothing looks better than a face beaming with an all-natural glow. While a healthy diet and hydration help, you should also thank your yoga practice for that healthy skin. Yoga helps improve circulation throughout the body. Just as you flow from pose to pose, your blood is flowing as well, offering a stimulating effect on your skin.
You could also give "face yoga" a try. According to Marie Claire, these facial exercises can help “lift, firm, tone, and reduce wrinkles.” It's a bit little silly-looking, sure, but every bit helps (and you can give it a whirl in the privacy of your home).
Relationships are good for the soul. We're not just talking intimate relationships here... Friendships, the relationship you develop with your yoga instructor, and your yoga tribe—all of those connections are so good for you. According to Harvard Health Publications, these relationships have feel-good benefits much like a healthy diet and exercise regimen would:
Dozens of studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends, and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer.
Reach out and make those connections. Strengthen the ones you already have. Enjoy time with your tribe at yoga class, or head out together to a yoga festival for a soul-shining weekend-long celebration of friendship.
Yoga is as much a spiritual practice as it is physical and mental. Getting in touch with your spiritual side through yoga can allow for some exceptional benefits—including balancing your chakras.
Quick rundown: Chakras are energy centers throughout the body, and there are seven of them. Associated with things like consciousness, staying grounded, confidence, love, and communication—tuning into, and maintaining balance with, our chakra system is important for our wellbeing.
There are many ways to channel your chakras, and yoga is one of them. Some yoga practices and poses are even specifically designed to help you balance your chakras. Let your love shine bright with a heart-opening pose that will help balance Anahata (your heart chakra).
Kicking bad habits is no easy feat, but what a victory it is! These habits become a crutch to us: When we're anxious we bite our nails, or when we're bored we sit on our phones for hours instead of being productive. Bad habits manifest in so many different ways, but yoga may be able to help you kick them—for good.
Yoga helps us cultivate power over our emotions, and nurtures mindfulness—which in turn allows us to become more self-aware. By using the tools that yoga gives us, we are better able to break bad habits. As Daily Cup of Yoga puts it:
With yoga, we learn new, healthy patterns that override harmful habits. Through yoga, we learn discipline and commitment to our own health. Letting go of the unhealthy habits allows us to see the possibilities more clearly.
You don't have to be a creative, open-minded person in order to practice yoga, but that may be a (healthy) side effect of practice. You'll literally (hello, handstands), and figuratively start to see things from a different angle. Your focus will be on your breath, the pose, and your posture, leaving your mind open for new, creative, and imaginative ideas.
Quoted by Yoga Journal, yogi Justin Michael Williams said: “Headstand instantly opens a new realm of perspective and possibility and unlocks my creativity in the most magical ways.”
They don't call it “Warrior” Pose for nothin'! Yoga helps us to find strength, both physically and mentally, through poses that leave us feeling empowered. Do You Yoga reports on the power and strength we cultivate through specific poses:
For instance, in Downward Facing Dog, your hands are as important as your feet. This is because the foundation is about growing your heart and feeling your strength. All the while, your breath nurtures you and makes you feel stronger. Self-doubt and insecurity melt away.
Through commitment to our practice we find in ourselves the ability to endure... Tough poses, and tough times.
Fear is a difficult emotion to control. When it becomes all-consuming it can dull your sparkle and zest for life. While yoga can't eliminate your fears altogether, it may be able to help you to take note of them, and move through them with a greater sense of awareness and confidence. As Mind Body Green notes: “Once you recognize fear as an energy feeling in the body, you have the power to convert it into a more positive feeling.”
Photo by Kylie Turley