We are always told about the physical benefits of yoga. Yoga helps with stress, and keeps anxiety and depression at bay. Yoga also helps you at work, at sports and a variety of other things. But you usually don’t think of yoga when it comes to your relationships, do you?

During this time of the year, many of us are reconnecting with family and friends that we haven’t seen in years. We are facing high expectations and serious amounts of stress. Often in all the preparations of the decorations, meals, shopping and hosting we forget the most important reason for doing this in the first place. Connection.

We crave connection with our loved ones and we want to enjoy ourselves with our family and friends. We want to see children’s faces light up with joy! Often at this time, we drop our yoga practice due to guests at home or traveling.

Don’t do it. Keeping up your yoga exercises will keep you grounded and sane in this crazy, joyous, busy time.

Here are 3 ways that yoga will help you connect with your family, friends and loved ones this season.

Yoga Develops Mindfulness

I’ve often found that at the end of a good yoga session I’m feeling more alive and aware of my surroundings. This is because during yoga class, you focus on what’s happening with your body now. This brings your mind into the present moment instead of focusing on the past or worrying about the future. Shavasana is excellent for this.

Mindfulness is an excellent ability to have in relationships as you can listen and be fully present when someone else is speaking. You are laser focused on them. This is a rare and precious gift to give someone.

Yoga increases Confidence

Any kind of exercise boosts your confidence and yoga is no exception. Confidence from achievement, feeling good about your body and the boost of energy that exercise gives you makes you feel more confident. You can muster up the courage to walk into that room where extended relatives await to pounce on you! (I’ve got heaps of relatives, so believe me, I know that feeling). The confidence boost you get when doing yoga regularly helps you to speak up, tell a joke or story and even disagree with Uncle Ed about whether animals have feelings or not in a nice way of course.

Standing in Warrior pose II will help you feel more confidence.

Yoga Helps you stay Calm and Relaxed

Most conflicts arise during family arguments based on emotions that are trapped in the past. From my experience with my family, we revert back to our childhood roles when we come together. Doing yoga will help you stay calm instead of being emotionally triggered by something that wasn’t resolved when you were younger and staying calm and relaxed makes people around you calm and relaxed as well.  Child’s Pose is great for letting all tension go and feeling calm and relaxed. In a group setting, focusing on your breath is another great way to release tension.

So there you have it, the 3 ways that yoga helps you connect in a meaningful way with other people. Did I miss one? Have you used yoga in your relationships? Leave me a message below and be sure to share this post with your family and friends!

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Lakshmi Gosyne is an author, illustrator, web designer and teacher. She worked as a preschool and primary school teacher for 16 years and a Graphic Designer for 4 years before writing two yoga story books: Jungle Walk: A Yoga Story for Kids and Waiting for Dad: A Yoga Story for Kids. You can find out more at www.lakshmigosyne.com