Last year, an estimated one in ten adults reported being depressed. Can you guess the main culprit?
Stress. In an era of having, doing, and multitasking, stress and stimulation are everywhere.
Most people never relax enough to unpack and deliver real time. Even when we go on vacation, there is often little relief from the demands of daily life, be it work, family or friends. There is always a voice message, text or e-mail waiting to be answered. There is always more that you feel you need or want to do.
So how is it that in these days of non-stop information and stress that millions of people are not only finding relief from stress, but to report higher levels of peace, joy, and happiness in their lives?
They practice yoga, of course!
More and more studies are confirming what yogis have been claiming all along: Those who practice yoga consistently are consistently happier. Here’s why:
1. A good dose of hormones.
Like any exercise, asana practices actually increase our levels of “feel good” chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins, dopamine and serotonin. These are responsible for elevating your mood, blocking the pain by creating feelings of pleasure, amping their energy, and offering greater clarity.This is especially true for those with more movement styles such as vinyasa flows. So next time you’re thinking to yourself, I just can not make a greater flow of Vinyasa, know your brain is in the process of mixing cocktails seriously sweet for you!
2. Pain relief.
Chronic pain can dull the senses and cognitive functions and can lead to inactivity, passivity, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety and depression. As a result, you can also have a tremendous impact on relationships with family, friends and coworkers. Yoga can be an effective and even alleviate pain by targeting its root causes means: muscle tension and misalignment. There have been countless cases of people who have said yoga has given their lives for the reduction or elimination of chronic pain.
3. A greater sense of health and wellbeing.
Feeling good is more than the absence of pain, and yoga helps to build a healthy body inside and out. Yoga not only increases flexibility, balance, strength and range of motion, but also contributes to decreased blood pressure, increased immunity, and lower levels of glucose, sodium, cholesterol and LDL VLDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides. In addition, all the twists and subtle movements of yoga helps to stimulate the internal organs and eliminating toxins. When your body is strong, flexible, free of toxins, chemically balanced and appropriate regulation itself, it begins to emit a glow that shines in all aspects of your life.
4. focused attention (aka mindfulness).
Unlike some other forms of exercise, yoga requires a lot of focus – not only in the positioning of the bones and muscles in each pose, but also in the quality and flow of breathing. This approach draws you inward, away from the noise and chaos of the outside world. As one of my teachers said succinctly, yoga helps us transition from external stimulation to the inner sense. In essence, each asana practice becomes a moving meditation. It gives our brain a rest much on the need to perform multiple tasks and continuous information overload. Studies show that this kind of focus was on the table can actually lead to lasting effects of the mat, including improved memory, attention and concentration.
5. An injection of confidence and a greater sense of self-esteem.
Our confidence grows naturally as our minds and bodies are transformed through yoga. Improving physical dexterity, flexibility, strength and posture as well as the ability to manage stress, relax and get to a place of deep inner calm, all contribute to a more positive outlook, especially about us thereof. In addition, yoga encourages us to show more compassion for ourselves. In each pose, we are given the opportunity to work through any self-judgments that can arise.The more we are able to disconnect with the many pressures and expectations placed on us by the outside world, the more we are able to connect to the real essence and beauty of the inner world.
6. Relations strengthening.
Our interactions with others tend to reflect our mood. When you feel more calm, clear and focused, it creates a ripple effect that is felt by everyone around you, especially those closest to you. It has often been said that a smile is contagious, and this is also true for centering and invigorating effects of yoga. Beyond the ripple effects, yoga really does promote open-mindedness and self-reflection. Yoga helps us to be more patient, compassionate, and present ourselves – skills that are incredibly important in developing and strengthening relationships.
7. Lifestyle choices
A consistent yoga practice tends to lead to better decision-making in general. The food we eat, the projects we pursue, the people we spend time with, and the amount of sleep we get all contribute to our experience of life and level of happiness. Finally, yoga promotes a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation – for ourselves, our teachers, our friends, our family and our experiences, even the most difficult. When gratitude becomes the lens through which we see life – when we take the little things for granted – life gets much sweeter.
For all the happy yogis and yoginis out there, you can think of a reason why I might have missed? Please add your thoughts in the comments!
Greetings to your yoga practice and a lifetime of happiness!