We all know yoga is good for us, but have you ever wondered what all those Downward Dogs are actually doing for you? We asked Cameron Shayne, yoga teacher to the stars (including Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston), to give us the lowdown on how those moves can be of benefit to us beyond bedroom flexibility.
1. OK, so it can improve your sex life.
“Sex takes energy. When your body is uncomfortable, tight, stressed or injured due to soft tissue health, your sex drive can suffer. Often the loss of sexual appetite is due to our low energy levels and physical injuries. When your body is free from the distraction of discomfort, you are simply more inclined to have a higher sex drive.”
2. You’ll also sleep better.
“A good yoga asana practice or meditation leads to a good night of sleep. Sleep enables the body to rest and recharge and is also needed for important physiological processes such as hormone regulation, which affects immune function and overall health. Individuals who are sleep-deprived may experience drowsiness, irritability, lack of concentration, and impaired performance. Furthermore, sleep deprivation compromises the immune system, making it more difficult to fight off infection. Persistent sleep deprivation can result in mood swings, erratic behavior and an unpleasant you.”
3. You’ll remember more stuff, like where you left your car keys.
“Researchers found that people who had been for a 20 minute jog were less able to focus mentally on tasks than they were following a yoga session. A single session of Hatha yoga significantly improved a person’s speed and accuracy when tested on their working memory and concentration. So in a nut shell, yoga asana or meditation practice was found to be more effective at boosting brain power than conventional aerobic exercise.”
4. You’re more likely to stick to your word.
“Yoga teaches us that real communication is standing by what you said or communicated to someone. Real communication does not give you any right to change it afterwards, no matter what. Yoga teaches us to be our word—and that our value in society is based on us saying what we mean, meaning what we say, and following this with our actions.”
5. Your relationship with your mat can guide you through relationships IRL.
“When you step onto your mat, you are entering a relationship. One that requires concentration, sensitivity, and fairness. A knowing when to push, and when to pull. When to move through discomfort, and when to surrender. We learn when to constrict, and when to create space. This lesson should be taken off the mat and right into our relationships.”
6. It can make you more honest.
“Yoga and truth aren’t always comfortable. In yoga we learn that being honest over being comfortable is what develops our character and integrity. Out of the most valuable qualities that people look for in other people, truthfulness is always at the top of the list.”
7. It can make you smarter.
“Low levels of oxygen can actually deteriorate your brain function. Your brain, and all vital organs, need rich supplies of oxygen. Yogic breathing techniques (Pranayama), especially deep breathing techniques, increase the supply of oxygen to the brain. This helps ameliorate your concentration, memory, and in turn improve your intelligence.”
8. You can’t actually do it, it’s more about just being.
“You can’t really do yoga, as yoga is all that is. It’s like saying you’re going to do peace, when peace is the foundation of life. Simply put, peace is always there, it is us that disturbs the peace. So to do peace, is to do nothing, as it is to do yoga, is to stop all the doing.”
Now we have more reasons to be grateful for yoga. Namaste.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com.au. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.