The main reason I went deep into my yoga practice is because it made me feel better inside. Sure, my body changed and that contributed to this inner feeling. But it a powerful way, my yoga practice created a real re-alignment in my mental body and that affects how I feel.
Here are some of the benefits I've experienced and/or witnessed over the past 15 years of practicing and teaching yoga. Each one of these has a story. Each thing I list has one or many people who inspired me to write this "benefit." Because I've seen it happen.
Top 10 Benefits I've Witnessed in Yoga
- manages stress & anxiety by regulating the adrenal glands and balancing the nervous system
- aids in weight loss (to healthy body composition)
- inspires creative ideas (that launched major companies, ideas that came during/post practice)
- improves circulation — in one client, numbing/tingling sensations decreased significantly after 20 years of tingling from breaking his neck
- increases flexibility (at times people who couldn't touch their toes, later could... in extreme cases, I've seen people look completely different just based on how much freer they are in their body)
- improves balance — one client said he would have seriously injured himself skiing had he not been practicing yoga
- supports connection to emotion in cases where this is blocked — one client confided that he had been detached from emotion his entire life and everything was beginning to come up. Over time, he seemed to carry a much lighter load. Another client was able to process the loss of her husband in the space of a yoga room, doing her practice.
- improves intimacy in relationships
- inspires a developed sense of confidence and empowerment
- lowers blood pressure
As to the medical benefits, doctors and studies provide the science. But, what about the inner wisdom effects? The effects we feel and carry when we step off the mat? We are students of our body and mind in this practice. The yoga practice offers moments to connect to stillness and silence — often toward the end of a practice. There is information in the silence. As one of my mentors, Hector told me recently, “God speaks to us in the silence.”