Can Yoga Make You Feel Better and Happier?

“Please grant me coffee to change the things I can. And yoga to accept the things I cannot.”
(Karen Salmansohn [1])

Alberto G. Guitron and I have at least three things in common:

  1. We both wrote our first book in 2016. Mine was The Belief Road Map (in English and Spanish) and Alberto’s was El Sueño de Unos (currently in Spanish only).
  2. Neither of us can touch the ground with our heels in Downward Dog.
  3. Both of us are committed to increasing the flexibility in our ankles and overcoming problem number two.

Alberto is also an author at the Yogamatters Blog, a contributing writer for a great site called BookYogaRetreats, and a happy yogi. Today, he is sharing with us all what he’s learned about the relationship between yoga and happiness.

It is my great pleasure to welcome Alberto Guitron to our Happy Living community.

Since the beginning of time, humankind has been driven by one simple yet complex motivation: To be happy. But what does happiness mean? The Oxford Dictionary defines it as feeling or showing pleasure or contentment. Nonetheless, we know that true happiness goes beyond one or two laughs every now and then. It’s a more sustainable state of satisfaction and gratefulness in our lives. It’s waking up every morning knowing there’s a meaning to starting a new day.

What Brings Us Happiness?

And what exactly makes us feel happy? Well, that’s when the broad concept of happiness gets ever more complicated. Even after thousands of studies, researchers are still trying to answer the question. Though we may never discover the perfect answer, a Harvard Study on Happiness in 2015 revealed some interesting findings about the generalities that fulfill the lives of most people:

  • Choose to be happy with whatever you do.
  • Strengthen your closest relationships.
  • Take care of yourself physically, financially and emotionally.

Does Yoga Make Us Happy?

At BookYogaRetreats, we decided to test the theory that yoga practice has positive effects on people’s happiness. We conducted a survey on over 650 people who had done yoga at least once to try to understand the impact that it has on their daily lives.

As it turns out, 88.4% of the people agree that at the very least, yoga has been responsible for a slight boost in their level of happiness. Furthermore, 59% are strongly convinced that yoga has considerably helped them to feel better and happier. And when we feel happy, everything around us changes too, as we can tell by the 61.5% of respondents who have no doubt that yoga has totally transformed their lives.

So, Why Does Yoga Increase Happiness?  

There is one relevant finding in the survey that explains some of it: Yogis from all levels, who practice more than once a month, claim that their main motivation to do it is to help heal an injury, to relax, to deepen spirituality and/or to improve physical health & fitness. This means that once people try yoga for the first time, they notice that it is more than just a fitness practice and see many other advantages in it. Let’s think about the three factors that the Harvard Study into happiness mentions and compare them with the benefits of yoga:

  • Choose to be happy with whatever you do.

Nearly every person in the survey agreed that yoga made him or her at least a bit happier, so it makes sense that they would be happy while doing yoga. Yoga also teaches us to be present and enjoy the moment; to be here and now. So when yogis take this philosophy into their daily lives, it becomes easier to enjoy other tasks too.

  • Strengthen your closest relationships.

Is there any closer relationship than the one you have with yourself? Yoga teaches acceptance towards ourselves, with no judgment, and unconditional love to our bodies and minds. Once we’re comfortable under our own skin, it becomes easier to develop close relationships with others. In addition, a yoga class is always a good place to socialize and build up new friendships.

  • Take care of yourself.

The benefits that yoga brings to the body are abundant. In the end, it is a physically demanding exercise that tones the muscles, increases flexibility and improves the circulatory and digestive systems. All of that is good for your body. Add the spiritual and relaxing part that releases stress and yoga is truly an activity that helps you take care of your entire self.

Thank you, Alberto. As I’ll be sharing in my next post, How I Intend To Become a Fat-Burning Beast, I have finally been persuaded to add yoga back into my exercise strategy after a ten-year absence. Your article certainly helped support my decision J

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[1] Follow Karen on Twitter: @Notsalmon

1st Image via Unsplash; 2nd Image via Flickr (Denise Chan) | This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click and then purchase we will receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for reading & supporting Happy Living!



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