Updated: Dec 21, 2020
From Miami to Mumbai, yoga is practiced differently around the world. Still, anyone who engages in the ancient practice will agree: yoga cleanses the mind and body.
Whether it's a few minutes of yin or an hour of hot vinyasa, a daily yoga practice amplifies these cleansing benefits to build a resilient sense of self. Here’s how that strong foundation clears toxic energy, wards off negativity, and creates more space for positivity and love.
Yoga Boosts Confidence and Self-Worth
One of the greatest benefits of a daily yoga practice is that it builds confidence both on and off the mat. From nailing a new arm balance in class to manifesting a career goal in meditation, yoga provides endless opportunities to succeed.
This isn’t because yoga is instantly easy for everyone. Rather, yoga boosts confidence because it teaches us the power of baby steps. It shows that when we dedicate ourselves to a healthy daily habit, we can achieve so much more than we ever expected.
Yoga instructor Dana Falsetti explains how practicing yoga helped her confront her inner struggles and cleanse the negativity she’d been harboring all her life. In turn, this enabled Dana to build self-respect and discover true confidence for the first time in her life.
“Yoga allowed me to experience my body in a whole new way, to see that with practice, patience and dedication, so much is possible — more than most of us ever imagine. My practice allowed me to see my body, my relationships, the world, through a different lens.”
Yoga Cultivates Grace and Empathy for Others
While yoga can be a very intimate practice, it also has the power to connect us to others. In fact, many yogis are surprised when their daily yoga practice changes their perspective on humanity and the world beyond.
So how exactly does yoga teach us to see other people differently?
The power of new perspective is outlined in The Four Agreements, written by spiritual master Don Miguel Ruiz. His second agreement, don’t take things personally, shows how a strong sense of self is mirrored by a strong understanding of other people.
“When we really see people as they are without taking it personally, we can never be hurt by what they say or do.”
Yoga is the basis for creating a strong, well-defined sense of self. It also grows empathy and grace towards others, which helps us understand that each human experience is separate and unique from our own. And when we can move through the world unaffected by the negativity of others, we become invincible.
Yoga Reduces Stress and Increases Resiliency
One reason why yoga feels so good is because is helps melt away stress and anxiety. This isn’t just something teachers tout in class — it’s a fact proven by science.
According to Edi Pasalis at the Kripalu Center for Health and Wellness, yogic breathing has the ability to enhance positivity in two key ways. For one, yoga can boost your vagal tone (controlled by the vagus nerve) in the parasympathetic nervous system. This increases one’s ability to unwind from stress in a healthy way. Increased heart rate variability (HRV), the variation in time between each heartbeat, is another benefit of mindful breathing and yoga.
“People who have a high HRV may have greater cardiovascular fitness and be more resilient to stress,” explains Dr. Marcelo Campos, a primary care doctor at Harvard Vanguard.
Taking time to slow down and tune into your needs reduces the toxic effects of stress on the mind and body. And when you’re consistently engaging with yogic practices like asanas, mudras or meditation, the long-term benefits of these resiliency-boosting, stress-reducing exercises are amplified.
Yoga Creates an Endless Well of Positivity
Have you ever noticed that when you’re in a bad mood, things continue to go wrong? This is in part because you’re focusing on the negative things while ignoring the positive.
But it’s also because we attract what we are.
Negativity attracts negativity; positivity attracts positivity. No one expects you to feel like a ray of sunshine every single day — that simply isn’t realistic. Instead, yoga provides a safe space for working through all the mental blockages, deep-rooted traumas and toxic ideas that bombard us both internally and externally.
As Dr. Judith Orloff puts it, “Consistently chipping away at the negative makes room for more positivity in yourself.”
By practicing yoga and meditation daily, we can cleanse ourselves of toxic energies and shift our daily mood towards a more enlightened state that radiates and attracts positivity.