Lots of students who join their high school football teams may be a little surprised when they learn that part of practice is going to be Yoga. What? To them, Yoga is something those weird men who wear robes over in the Far East do, not big, tough football players. Their coach knows something they don’t. He knows that the mental and physical training that Yoga gives will make these kids more successful on the field and, later on, in their adult lives. Putting aside the physical stuff, like flexibility and weight control, here are 9 reasons why Yoga promotes success.
People Who Practice Yoga Regularly are More Positive
We all have these hormones in our brains called endorphins. They are often called the “feel good” hormones, because when they are released in pretty good quantities, they give us feelings of contentment, happiness, and also reduce pain. Research at the University of Maryland Medical Center has determined that Yoga, particularly the stretching and the breathing, causes the release of these great little hormones. And regular Yoga practice can keep them flowing on a regular basis. What this means for “Yoglers” (Gopi Kallayil, head of brand marketing at Google coined this term), is that they are more optimistic about everything in their personal and work lives. Others like being around positive people, so they tend to have more friends and move up in their careers faster than others.
“Yoglers” are More Focused
This is one of the reasons that coach has included Yoga in daily football practice. The breathing, the poses, and the meditation aspects of this activity require focus. Because our brains are constantly changing based upon what we feed them (neuroscience calls this neuroplasticity), practicing focus trains our brains to do this in other situations. Of course, the coach is interested in his players being able to remember and to focus on the plays, but these abilities become established brain activity for the long haul. So, when things must get done in the workplace, “Yoglers” get them done faster and better.
Regular Yoga Practice Means Better Responses to Stress
Our nervous system is divided into three separate parts – the peripheral, the somatic and the parasympathetic. Each one is activated by different human activity. When people practice Yoga, they activate the parasympathetic system which is the one that brings about relaxation, lowers blood pressure, etc. When stressful situations arise, and everyone else is in a panic, the “Yogler” resorts to deep breathing and meditation and activates that “rest and digest” system. This ability to get into a state of calm means that s/he can usually be objective, look at options, and devise a solution to the situation that has caused such stress in others. (They also sleep better at night, and that affects productivity during the day).
Yoglers are Healthier than their Non-Practicing Counterparts
The same University of Maryland study that was mentioned earlier also found that people who practice Yoga have a lower incidence of contracting illnesses. The researchers concluded that the immune systems of the Yoga exercisers were better. Some of this may be a result of the breathing and meditative aspects, because immune systems are built up by rest. On the job, Yoglers have lower absence rates due to illness than non-Yoga practicing peers. When a cold or the flu is rampaging around the office, the Yogler tends not to succumb.
Yoglers have More Energy
It’s all about those endorphins again. By keeping their levels higher, the Yogler just has more energy than others. It’s also happens due to ability of Yoga help you manage your time better. Yoga improves your creativity as well. The physical fitness figures into this a well. People who exercise, all research shows, have more energy overall than those who do not.
More Self-Confidence is a Great By-Product
People who practice Yoga regularly have a better looking body and better posture. This gives them self-confidence. They walk straighter and taller with an energetic step. Others perceive them as confident too. These physical benefits all contribute to feeling more able to “take on the world,” and they are in control of themselves and the situations in which they exist.
Greater Self-Awareness = Comfortable Realism
Because Yoga involves such focus on oneself as the exercises, breathing and meditation occur, the practitioner develops a much better sense of self. S/he can identify feelings, strengths, and weaknesses, and behaves with these things in mind. The stressed, always-in-a-hurry person will take on challenges s/he cannot meet and will often act impulsively. Not so the Yogler.
Yoglers are Present in the Now
While others are n a constant state of ruminating about the past or worrying about the future, the Yogler is living in the “now.” The meeting that is happening right now at work? Others are zoning out, thinking about other events and circumstances. The Yogler is focused, attentive, and operating within the current activity. Many major corporations have recognized the importance of this “mindfulness,” and the fact that Yoga fosters it. As a result, they have incorporated Yoga into any fitness program that they offer to their employees. Aetna Insurance, Proctor & Gamble, Nike, Target, and Google are just a few. These corporations know that Yoga has big benefits in the workplace. It promotes proactive rather than reactive behaviors, focus on the problems or tasks at hand right now, and a release of the past and the uncertainty of the future. Yoglers are good problem-solvers.
Patience – It Really is a Virtue
The wonderful thing about Yoga? Because it is an entire program built around patience, that behavior transfers into real world experiences. Thus the practitioner develops patience with his/her children, with co-workers, and with the seeking of solutions at work. The Yogler will not be impulsive, but instead will have the willingness to wait while all options are evaluated and considered.
A Way of Life
Yoga is a way of life. Its practice fosters health, focus, self-awareness, living in the now, productivity, and a total control of oneself. This is the prescription for success in life, and it is finally being recognized as an important fitness program. Guess those weird guys in those robes have been on to something all along.
Ethan Dunwill is young entrepreneur from Hong Kong, his main goal in life is to inspire and motivate others, so people can make themselves a little happier. Connect with Ethan at Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or visit his blog at Medium.