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12 Unexpected Benefits Of Yoga

Yoga has changed my life in more ways than I can even begin to list here. To put it simply, this practice has been a powerful tool for my soul, body and mind all at once. 

I’ve been practicing yoga for over twenty years now, and I’ve been a yoga teacher for a decade already. So you could say that I have *quite* a few yoga classes under my belt. 

But the thing is, you don’t have to be a super serious dedicated yogi in order to reap the benefits of yoga. So, if you’re thinking:

That’ll never be me, I’ve barely taken more than a handful of classes.

Scratch that, okay? 

The health benefits- like increased flexibility, growing strength, and improved range of motion- you can get from just a few sessions can truly blow your mind. 

Plus, you’re probably going to notice that you can reduce stress levels, improve your patience, and lower your reactivity with just one class, leaving you kind of floating out of the class in that happy yoga high kind of way.

While most people start their yoga journey for physical reasons, like an injury or wanting to change a part of their body, they usually stick around for the mental and spiritual benefits. 

This is when choosing to create a consistent, long-term practice will come into play. And you might be surprised at the unexpected benefits that it brings. 

Today’s post is all about surprising benefits of yoga that you might experience as a brand newbie, or as a seasoned yogi. Don’t forget to chime in the comments about benefits you’ve received from this ancient practice, as well!

Try my yoga classes totally FREE on my app with hundreds of all level classes to jump start your yoga practice today!

Get started with yoga with my 21 Day Chakra Reset series

Check out this post on difficult yoga poses for beginners if you’re new to yoga.

Unexpected Benefits Of Yoga

12 Unexpected Benefits Of Yoga

I think the biggest misconception about yoga is that it’s “just stretching.” Who agrees?

I actually kind of love when people say that, because then I invite them to my classes just to show them that it’s a whole lot more than that. 

Of course yoga has a focus on the physical body, but it’s also about improving the health of your mind and spirit, as well. So, sure, you might have a few moments of “just stretching,” but I can promise you there’s a whole lot more going on than just that!

Read this post on how to start a yoga practice.

Builds Strength

Yoga is not only about stretching. In fact, opening the body without any activation or strength can be dangerous for the joints and ligaments. 

Every single posture that you see in yoga actually requires equal strength and flexibility. SOmetimes it might look like a preztely, flexy pose- but I promise you that person is activating a lot in order to get there. 

You can find strength focused classes in Vinyasa, Hatha, Ashtanga, Jivamukti, and Power yoga classes.

Check out my classes to build more strength in your body.

Increases Flexibility

Okay, so this one might not be so *surprising,* because most people think of flexibility when they think of yoga. But what might surprise you is how quickly it can be achieved with proper sequencing, drills, and a cueing. 

Just about any style of yoga you take will have an emphasis on flexibility. Just remember to seek out teachers who help you learn how to practice activity flexibility, rather than only passive.

Try my yoga classes to improve your overall flexibility through activation. 

Unexpected Benefits Of Yoga

Improves Mobility

There’s a difference between flexibility and mobility, in that flexibility is about stretching and opening. Whereas mobility is about your range of motion, and ability to move throughout your day with ease. 

Study shows that yoga improves functional mobility for students of all ages and capabilities, which can drastically improve your quality of life as your pain levels will decrease throughout your day-to-day activities. 

Try a mobility focused class, or sign up for a private session with your favorite teacher to learn about specific mobility drills that can best serve you.

Take advantage of the FREE trial of my app to build mobility in your day-today life.

Improves Metabolism

A regular yoga practice can help to improve your metabolism for a few reasons. 

Maybe it’s because you’re doing a vigorous Vinyasa class where you get your heart rate up. Or maybe it’s because you’re doing a mellow Yin class where you’re able to reduce your stress levels and lower your blood pressure.

Read this post on intuitive eating, or buy the book

Increases Chances For Fertility 

I’ve been on my fertility journey for a MINUTE now. And the number one thing doctor’s say is simple….but also, like, not.

“Reduce your stress levels.”

My yoga practice has been a saving grace through all of this fertility stuff, because it’s a pocket of time where I can turn my brain off and lower my stress levels with controlled breathing and mindful movement. 

Learn more about my own fertility journey here.

Unexpected Benefits Of Yoga

Improves Focus

Balancing postures are one of the best examples to use when we talk about yoga improving focus, because they’re obvious. Standing on one foot with your other leg wrapped up somewhere, and your arms doing god knows what is enough to make you focus, right?

Focus, however, can also show up simply by trying to stay present with your body and your breath. Or working to keep your intention in the forefront of your mind as you practice. 

Learn how to set an intention in yoga in this post.

Enhanced Memory

Yoga is less about physical gymnastics, and more about mental gymnastics….at least when you first start, then it gets a little easier in between the ears, I promise. 

There are so many things to concentrate on within your body as you’re practicing yoga, not to mention learning a whole new vocabulary of language as you get used to your teacher. 

You’ll also start to notice that you’re able to remember the names of poses, or how to do sequences all on your own at home. That’s all due to the improved memory, and muscle memory, from the practice.

Read this post on why you need to meditate.

Improves Balance  

Again, balancing postures are an obvious choice when you think about improving balance with yoga. But, the truth is, every single pose is one that encourages balance in the body and mind. 

Throughout any style of yoga, you’ll constantly be balancing your right and left side, your front and back side. You’ll be going through a sequence that’s complementary and alternative between all sides of your body with counter postures and peak postures.

Try my No Time For Yoga series to improve your balance.

Unexpected Benefits Of Yoga

Better Sleep

What else shows that yoga really works other than having a better sleep routine? I swear, reducing stress with yoga and meditation is one of the best ways to catch those zzz’s at night. 

Hot tip: try yoga nidra for an even better sleep experience!

Check out this post on how to get more restful sleep.

Deepens Self Awareness

Yoga and self awareness go hand and hand. That’s not to say that people who do yoga are levitating above the ground that mere mortals walk upon. Nope, we’re human af, too.

It just means that our yoga practice provides this pocket of time to be really self aware of every micro movement of sensation and breath in the body, which has ripple effects of deeper self awareness into the rest of your day, as well. 

Check out my 21 Day Chakra Reset bundle to deepen your self awareness within your yoga practice.

Improves Patience

My patience is….questionable, to say the least. What can I say, I was born with a short fuse.

Needless to say, practicing yoga for decades has certainly helped with my patience threshold. And I can see a difference in both my inner patience with myself, and my outer patience with others when I take a break from my practice. 

Sign up for my No Time For Yoga series in order to improve your patience with bite-size classes.

Reduced Reactivity

Yoga allows us time to respond to our body, rather than react to it. If we encounter a pose that’s hard, we have the opportunity to notice:

Is this the kind of hard that means I need to back off, or the kind of hard that I need to breathe through?

And it’s in that pause, that we’re able to reduce the tendency to react versus respond. Taking the time to ask the question makes a huge difference both on and off the mat, as well.

Try the guided meditations on my app to help reduce your reactivity.

Let me know which benefit surprised you the most in the comments below! 

And make sure to add your own for other yogis to check out. 

xx,

K

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