The incredible health benefits of regularly enjoying yoga are widely publicised in the widespread media: yoga helps to improve your flexibility, builds your core and your muscle strength, increases your blood flow and improves your heart health, meaning that it can help to prevent heart disease.  What receives much less media attention though are the emotional and social benefits of joining your local yoga class or yoga studio, yet these are just as abundant and important as the physical health benefits it offers. Here are just some of the emotional and social benefits of yoga:
The Emotional Benefits of Yoga
As any devoted yogi will tell you, yoga can help to improve your mood. This is because yoga forges a strong connection between body and mind, and having a healthy body really can improve your mood. A side note about the effect yoga can have on your mood is that if you have depression, yoga has been shown to lead to a reduction in depressive symptoms and help to process and release your negative energy. Yoga promotes the concept of bringing balance to your life and having a positive outlook: no matter how negative something is, it is possible to look at it in a positive way and process the behaviour of yourself and others in a stable and positive way.
Yoga After Addiction
Many modern drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs now include yoga as part of their holistic therapy approach. Addictions can ruin lives: not only the life of the addict but also the lives of their friends, family members and other loved ones. However yoga can help to reverse the negative effects of addiction: this is because yoga can be used to help break addictive patterns.  Yoga cultivates a desire to be aware of your body in a way that is as kind and nurturing as possible: this is something that is impossible if you are under the negative influences of either drugs or alcohol. It can also help an individual to build compassion towards themselves and to learn how to deal with stressful situations in positive ways: rather than resort to taking drugs or ingesting alcohol when the pressures of life become too much, you can instead practice your yogic breathing skills and learn how to self calm and self sooth in an addictive substance free environment.
The Social Benefits of Yoga
Another wonderful benefit of enjoying yoga is the social aspects that joining a yoga group or a yoga studio can have. One of the unexpected benefits of sobriety is that you have much more time to meet new people and forge new friendships.  A recent study has revealed that regularly enjoying yoga classes can actually help to alleviate social anxiety and make your perception of society more positive.  Socially anxiety is a problem often experienced by former addicts, particularly by former alcoholics who may well not feel comfortable making friends or introducing themselves to new people without the comforting crutch of a drink in their hand. Putting yourself out of your comfort zone and in a situation where you are learning a new skill is a wonderful way to meet new people. Yoga helps you to relax, and increases your endorphin level: something which has been shown to alter the perception so that you view the environment and the people around you in a less threatening and less negative way.
There are so many incredible benefits of taking up yoga and no matter how old you are or what stage of your life you are it, it’s never too later to bring the positive effects of yoga into your life. Why not give it a try and discover what incredible benefits yoga can have for you?
This is a freelance article written by Helen Clotty
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