There is always a positive in every situation if we look for it. This pandemic has taught us all how important social connections are and thanks to technology, it created opportunities for us to connect and stay in touch with others. Never before more so than now, has spending quality time with family, friends and community – and alone with ourselves, whilst staying open to new relationships – been more important. In fact, it is the secret to a happy, healthy life. One of the most powerful ways to forge more vital, lasting connections is through yoga!
How so, you may ask?
Yoga has a positive effect on our moods, psychological functioning and focus. This helps us feel better mentally and makes us more ready to go out into the world, reach out and connect with others and to make friends. When stress increases, by taking a moment to breathe and tune into what you are feeling, it can prevent irritability and conflict and promote harmony. This will enhance a feeling of calm and being in control of oneself during challenging times and will enhance our relationships with others.
Through yoga the body divulges wisdom which can help us create awareness in how we feel and how we respond to situations. It can help us ask questions what if I do this or react in a different way? This allows a bit of space when we are in a heated situation and it can help us navigate away from conflict and change the flow of a conversation.
Often when we exercise in a group, we feel safer and more supported, not so alone than when we do on our own. Researchers at Oxford University have found that group exercise helps us release higher quantities of endorphins and endocannabinoids, nature’s chemical pain relievers and mood enhancers. As a result, we feel better, which rewards our cooperation as a group and brings us closer together. Often in a yoga class there is a natural release when someone laughs at themselves and the whole group joins in.
Yoga also teaches us that there is a time to be alone and to replenish the self to be able to be with others in a more giving and supportive way.