Why Do I Feel So Good After Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient practice that connects the mind, body and spirit. After finishing a yoga session, many practitioners report feeling peaceful, relaxed, and happy. But why exactly does yoga make you feel so good? Here are the main reasons:
- Endorphins Are Released
- Stress Hormones Decrease
- Blood Flow Increases
- Breathing Slows Down
- Mental Chatter Is Reduced
- You Become More Mindful
- You Build Body Awareness
- You Gain A Sense Of Accomplishment
- Your Outlook Improves
- You Sleep Better
- Your Nervous System Is Balanced
- Pain Decreases
- Your Mood Is Balanced
- You Gain Perspective
- You Build Spiritual Connection
- Your Confidence Grows
- Your Relationships Improve
- You're In A Supportive Community
- You Find Stillness Within
- Your Self-Awareness Expands
- You Find Healthy Escape
- You Learn To Let Go
- You Develop Discipline
- You Break Free Of Judgment
- Incorporating CBD oil Into Your Yoga Practice
- CBD Massage Oil
- CBD Edibles
- CBD Vape Pen
- CBD Beverages
- CBD Topicals
- What is the "yoga high" and what causes it?
- How long do the positive effects of yoga last after class ends?
- Is hot yoga more likely to cause a "yoga high?"
- Why do some people report feeling worse after yoga?
- Why might yoga make someone emotional?
- How soon after eating is it okay to practice yoga?
- Does the type of yoga matter for mood benefits?
- How can I prolong the positive effects after class ends?
Endorphins Are Released
One of the biggest reasons yoga makes you feel good is that it causes your brain to release endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that act as natural pain relievers in the body. They produce a feeling of euphoria and well-being.
Endorphins are released during certain activities like exercise, laughter, sex, and eating chocolate. Since yoga is a physical exercise, it triggers the release of endorphins. The more intense the yoga practice, the bigger the endorphin rush you will experience.
So next time you're feeling down, try a vigorous vinyasa flow class. The endorphins will boost your mood and leave you feeling great.
Stress Hormones Decrease
In addition to increasing feel-good endorphins, yoga helps reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands in response to stressful situations.
While cortisol helps give you an energy boost and sharpen focus in the short-term, chronically high levels can increase anxiety, depression, and weight gain. Practicing yoga regularly can help keep cortisol levels balanced.
Specific poses that are particularly effective for lowering cortisol include forward folds, fish pose, and legs-up-the-wall pose. Take time to hold these restorative poses and feel your stress melt away.
Blood Flow Increases
As you flow through the various yoga postures, fresh oxygenated blood circulates throughout your body. This boosted blood flow nourishes your cells and tissues.
More blood reaches the brain, which may explain why you feel more clear-headed after practicing yoga. Increased blood flow also carries away metabolic waste products, including lactic acid, that build up in muscles during exercise.
This helps prevent soreness or that heavy feeling you sometimes get after an intense workout. So by stretching and engaging all parts of the body, yoga improves circulation so you feel energized and rejuvenated.
Breathing Slows Down
Most types of yoga emphasize deep, conscious breathing. This activates the parasympathetic nervous system, sometimes referred to as the "rest and digest" system.
When you stimulate the parasympathetic system through slow, steady breaths, your heart rate slows down and blood pressure decreases. Deep breathing also increases oxygenation and helps induce the "relaxation response."
By calming the nervous system and quieting mental chatter, yoga's focus on breathing leaves you feeling centred and at peace. Try incorporating breathwork into your daily life, not just your yoga practice. Take 5 deep breaths when you wake up, before a meeting, or during a stressful moment to restore inner calm.
Mental Chatter Is Reduced
While practicing yoga, you are encouraged to clear your mind, stay present, and focus on the sensations in your body. This trains your brain to spend less time lost in distracting thoughts about the past or future.
Letting go of mental clutter makes space to become more aware of the present. Paying closer attention to your physical feelings helps get you out of your head and into the moment.
A "monkey mind" constantly replaying thoughts can drain your energy and make you feel depressed. Yoga helps create mental clarity so you can experience life more fully right now.
You Become More Mindful
In addition to reducing unhelpful mind chatter, yoga boosts mindfulness. Moving through the postures with awareness makes you more conscious of your body.
Tuning into the present helps develop greater mind-body connection. You learn to listen to physical and emotional signals from your body so you can address issues before they build up and cause health problems.
Practicing mindfulness through yoga makes activities like walking, eating, and talking more enjoyable. You appreciate the little moments in life instead of just rushing through them. Becoming more mindful through yoga allows you to feel calmer and more content.
You Build Body Awareness
Ever notice how you slouch in front of the computer or don't realize you're holding tension in your shoulders until a yoga teacher corrects your posture? When you practice yoga regularly, you become much more aware of your body.
You learn how to engage your core, relax tense muscles, and move in proper alignment. This body awareness helps prevent pain and injury both on and off the mat.
Tuning into physical sensations also provides insight into your emotional state. By noticing where you hold stress in your body, you can address the root cause. Reconnecting to your body through yoga leads to greater health and well-being.
You Gain A Sense Of Accomplishment
Pushing your yoga practice to the next level provides a sense of achievement. When you finally nail a challenging pose or hold a stance for longer, you feel proud of yourself.
Even just showing up for class and moving your body is an accomplishment that deserves a pat on the back. Focusing on small victories helps build confidence to take on bigger goals outside the yoga studio.
Yoga sequences are designed to include poses of varying difficulty. This allows you to experience success during each practice. Check your ego at the door, go at your own pace, and celebrate the simple fact that you practiced.
Your Outlook Improves
When you feel good physically, it’s easier to have a positive mental outlook as well. Yoga helps manage cortisol so you don't get as stressed about life's petty annoyances. Deep breathing techniques provide an instant mood boost when you're feeling low.
Practicing poses designed to stimulate underactive chakras can also improve your mindset. For example, backbends and heart openers are energizing and encourage confidence. Inversions get energy flowing to the brain and can alleviate depression.
Finally, the spiritual elements of yoga inspire gratitude, compassion, and self-acceptance. Maintaining a regular yoga routine makes it easier to move through life with optimism and grace.
You Sleep Better
Do you ever feel too wired to sleep well after an intense gym session? That’s much less likely after yoga. Instead of amping you up, yoga prepares the body for rest.
The meditative nature promotes relaxation so you transition from wake to sleep more easily. Yoga also helps reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can interfere with deep sleep.
Practicing relaxing poses like forward folds and savasana before bed signals to your brain it's time to wind down. Even basic breathing techniques you learn in yoga can help quiet your mind when you're tossing and turning.
Poor sleep negatively affects your mood, focus, energy levels, and immune function. By improving sleep quality, yoga allows you to feel more restored and energized the next day.
Your Nervous System Is Balanced
The nervous system is divided into the sympathetic (“fight or flight”) side and parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) side. Chronic stress overactivates the sympathetic nervous system. This can make you feel wired and overwhelmed.
Through mindfulness, deep breathing, and relaxation techniques, yoga balances the nervous system. Activating the parasympathetic response brings you into a state of calm.
In addition to helping you find inner peace, this has extensive health benefits. A balanced nervous system lowers heart rate, digestion improves, and immunity is strengthened. Practicing yoga provides lasting effects to help you cope with daily stressors.
Do you deal with ongoing aches and pains, especially in the back, neck, and joints? Practicing yoga enhances flexibility and range of motion, which can significantly decrease pain.
Gentle, therapeutic styles of yoga are ideal for reducing pain. Poses are held for longer durations with props like blankets and yoga blocks to provide extra support. Yoga also improves body awareness so you can correct postural habits contributing to pain.
In addition to soothing sore muscles, studies show yoga is effective at relieving more serious pain disorders like arthritis, migraines, and fibromyalgia. The combination of gentle movement and mindfulness may even reduce reliance on pain medication.
Your Mood Is Balanced
The deep breathing, meditation, and rhythmic sequences of movement make yoga an excellent way to balance mood. Studies have found yoga can decrease symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
By lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, yoga helps stabilize emotions and prevent mood swings. Releasing endorphins also provides a natural mood lift to counteract sadness or irritability.
In addition to boosting mood temporarily, regular yoga practice causes lasting changes in brain structure and function to prevent future emotional turbulence. The mental clarity you gain carries over off the mat as well.
You Gain Perspective
The mental and physical stillness you achieve during yoga is liberating. It provides space for you to detach from repetitive thought patterns so you can gain a fresh perspective.
When you slow down on the mat, solutions to problems often arise more organically. Letting go of what no longer serves you becomes easier. You realize struggling just breeds more suffering.
By focusing inward, yoga helps strip away external distractions and pressures. This allows you to get re-centred so you can approach challenges from a place of inner calm. With greater clarity and perspective, you live more purposefully.
You Build Spiritual Connection
While yoga classes at your local studio probably focus mostly on physical poses and stretches, yoga is traditionally very spiritually oriented. Practiced regularly, yoga awakens you to forces larger than yourself.
Whether you actively practice meditation during yoga or not, the experience cultivates greater spiritual awareness. Feeling connected to something beyond the physical brings profound meaning and inner peace.
Even if you wouldn't consider yourself a spiritual person normally, an amazing sense of awe and inspiration can surface during yoga. This promotes gratitude, compassion, and faith in the basic goodness of the world.
Your Confidence Grows
As you learn new poses and grow stronger in your yoga practice, it builds confidence that extends to other parts of your life. You carry yourself with greater ease and self-assurance.
Setting goals like being able to hold a challenging pose for a minute without shaking gives you something positive to work towards. Achieving small wins breeds confidence to tackle bigger challenges.
The non-judgmental setting of a yoga class also helps you become more comfortable in your own skin. As your body changes through practice, you celebrate its capabilities instead of criticizing. This self-acceptance transfers off the mat.
Your Relationships Improve
The mental clarity, empathy, and sense of inner peace you cultivate on the yoga mat positively impacts your relationships with others as well. You communicate more skillfully and let go of grievances easier.
Regular yoga practice teaches you to live in the present moment. Instead of rehashing the past or worrying about the future, you're fully engaged in your interactions with people. Practicing mindfulness makes you a better friend, partner, and colleague.
Yoga also connects you with a sense of humanity. This promotes understanding, patience, and compassion towards loved ones when inevitable conflicts arise.
You're In A Supportive Community
For many dedicated yogis, the yoga studio becomes like a second home. Fellow students cheer each other on and celebrate milestones together. This sense of community provides valuable social support.
Having a social circle of people who prioritize health motivates you to stay on track with your own goals. You can share tips on everything from eating well to dealing with stress.
Yoga teachers also play an important role in cultivating community. Their guidance keeps you progressing in your practice week after week. Regular interaction makes the teachers feel like friends, which enhances feelings of security and support.
You Find Stillness Within
The hectic pace of modern life pulls us in a million different directions at once. We're bombarded with distractions from the moment we wake up until we close our eyes at night. All this sensory stimulation and information overload tires out the brain.
For many, yoga provides their only chance to disconnect from digital devices and quiet the chatter of the mind. The stillness you find during yoga brings you back to your center. For that hour on the mat, the endless to-do list stands still.
By carving out periods of quiet within your day or week, you give your nervous system a much-needed break. This stillness is profoundly rejuvenating. It strengthens your patience, focus, and sense of inner peace.
Your Self-Awareness Expands
Yoga provides space to turn inward and explore your inner landscape. With decreased sensory input and distractions, you tune into subtle signals from your body. Physical sensations, emotions, and thought patterns become crystal clear.
This heightened self-awareness gives you deeper insight into your needs and boundaries. You learn where you still hold stress so it can be released. Bad habits that sabotage your health stand out.
Strengthening your mind-body connection through yoga makes you feel whole. When your actions align with your true needs instead of outside pressures, you gain wisdom.
You Find Healthy Escape
For many people today, life feels like an endless to-do list. We frantically run from one task to the next, never feeling caught up or at peace. This state of chronic stress takes a real toll on both physical and mental health.
Yoga provides a healthy escape where the only expectation is for you to be present. For that one hour, you are totally free from work deadlines, household chores, and family obligations. The permission to stop striving is incredibly liberating.
Having even a brief healthy escape from normal responsibilities is vital. It's difficult to approach life's demands from a calm, balanced place without this. Yoga offers a shelter from the storm of everyday stress.
You Learn To Let Go
As you practice yoga poses, you'll notice your mind wandering to thoughts about work, relationships, and unfinished to-do list items. Inevitably, you will also judge your performance or struggle to get your body in the "perfect" alignment.
But an essential part of yoga is noticing those thoughts and judgments and then consciously letting them go. Attachment to outcomes only creates more tension in the body and mind.
This process of gently releasing teaches you how freeing it is to stay present. Letting go of how a pose looks allows you to settle in and feel its benefits. Applying this lesson to other parts of life lightens your mental load.
You Develop Discipline
Staying committed to a consistent yoga practice requires discipline. From getting to the studio to holding challenging poses, it asks a lot of both body and mind. The initial enthusiasm often fades.
But if you stick with it through moments of resistance, you build mental fortitude that serves you in all realms of life. Discomfort becomes easier to tolerate. Delayed gratification gets sweeter.
Practicing discipline through yoga isn’t a grim chore. The confidence you gain makes future challenges less intimidating. You realize you're capable of so much more than you thought.
You Break Free Of Judgment
While yoga encourages you to notice the state of your body and mind, it's never about judging yourself harshly. Hanging onto feelings of failure or inadequacy only breeds more suffering.
Yoga reminds you to stay curious, patient, and compassionate with yourself. Progress happens slowly. Each body and journey is unique. Letting go of judgment makes space for acceptance.
This attitude affects all areas of life. You judge others less critically and focus more on unconditional positive regard. Breaking free of rigid expectations leads to greater contentment and inner freedom.
Incorporating CBD oil Into Your Yoga Practice
In addition to all the mental and physical benefits described above, some yoga practitioners are finding their sessions are enhanced by using CBD oil. CBD is short for cannabidiol, a compound found in cannabis plants.
Here are some ways CBD capsules can be incorporated into your yoga regimen:
CBD Massage Oil
Apply CBD-infused oil directly to skin before your yoga session. The CBD absorbs through the skin to potentially reduce discomfort during stretching. It also promotes overall relaxation. Massaging CBD oil into tight muscles afterwards aids recovery.
Ingest a CBD gummy, chocolate, or capsule an hour before your yoga class. Absorbing CBD through the digestive system provides lasting effects that kick in during your practice.
CBD Vape Pen
Take a few puffs from a CBD vape pen between yoga sequences or during savasana. Inhaling CBD provides the quickest effects for on-the-spot relaxation. Easy to use discreetly, vaping CBD also won't leave you feeling altered or impaired.
Sipping CBD-infused tea, water, or juice before or after yoga supplies hydration along with soothing CBD effects.
Apply a CBD cream, salve, or roll-on after your yoga session directly on any sore muscles or joints. The CBD absorbs through the skin this speeds workout recovery.
Adding a CBD supplement to your existing yoga routine may provide amplification and synergy. But be sure to check with your yoga instructor before using CBD in class for the first time. Start slowly with low doses and adjust based on your individual response.
What is the "yoga high" and what causes it?
The "yoga high" refers to the sense of euphoria, clarity, contentment, and bliss that many yoga practitioners report during or after their practice. There are several factors that contribute to this natural high:
- Increased blood circulation - More oxygen-rich blood flowing to the brain and throughout the body provides an energizing effect.
- Release of endorphins - These feel-good hormones act as natural painkillers and boost mood. The more vigorous the yoga, the bigger the endorphin rush.
- Stimulation of the vagus nerve - The vagus nerve connects the brain to many major organs. Yoga activates it to trigger the relaxation response and balance the nervous system.
- Greater GABA levels - GABA is the brain's main inhibitory neurotransmitter that reduces anxiety and promotes calmness. Yoga elevates low GABA.
- Deactivation of the amygdala - This brain region controls fear and stress. Yoga helps quiet an overly-stimulated amygdala.
- Increased dopamine - This chemical plays a role in motivation, focus, and feelings of reward. Yoga releases dopamine.
How long do the positive effects of yoga last after class ends?
It varies based on the person and intensity of the yoga practice, but the mental and physical benefits typically last several hours up to an entire day after your session ends. The stress relief and mood boost tend to stick around the longest.
With regular practice, the positivity, lowered anxiety, better sleep, and feeling of connection can become your new normal state. The cumulative effects build over time.
Is hot yoga more likely to cause a "yoga high?"
Hot yoga styles like Bikram that are performed in a heated room definitely intensify the feel-good effects. The heat increases circulation, loosens muscles, and enables deeper stretching. This amplifies release of endorphins and other neurotransmitters.
The infrared heat also causes vasodilation - expansion of blood vessels - to increase blood flow. Just be sure to stay hydrated and take breaks as needed. The intensity isn't for everyone.
Why do some people report feeling worse after yoga?
There are a few reasons yoga may leave some people feeling drained or irritable rather than uplifted:
- Pushing too far beyond your limits in poses can lead to exhaustion instead of endorphin release. Avoid overexertion and listen to your body's limits.
- Dehydration is common in hot classes. Drink plenty of electrolyte-rich fluids before, during and after class.
- Low blood sugar can cause lightheadedness and moodiness. Eat a balanced meal a couple hours beforehand.
- Lying still in savasana can lead to overthinking instead of relaxation. Try a walking or seated meditation instead.
- Injury or overstretching due to improper form can result in pain and soreness. Build up poses gradually under a teacher’s guidance.
- Pre-existing anxiety or trauma may initially feel triggered by yoga. Practicing gently and slowly helps build tolerance.
Why might yoga make someone emotional?
The mental clarity and inner calm facilitated by yoga enables release of buried emotions. Trapped feelings of grief, anger, frustration, etc. can rise to the surface.
Deep breathing also increases oxygenation and prana flow, which can tap into blocked energy. This emotional release is therapeutic, but can feel overwhelming at first. Clarify with your teacher ahead if you want to avoid emotional triggers.
How soon after eating is it okay to practice yoga?
It's best to allow 1-3 hours for digestion after a full meal before doing yoga. Bending and twisting poses can be uncomfortable with a full stomach. Light snacks 1 hour prior are usually fine. Hydrate well in the interim.
Listen to your body and reduce poses that feel uncomfortable after eating. Focus more on restorative postures instead. Let your food fully digest before practicing vigorous vinyasa flows or inversions.
Does the type of yoga matter for mood benefits?
For reducing anxiety and boosting positivity, gentle restorative yoga, yin yoga, and hatha yoga are ideal. The slower pacing with longer held poses calms the mind and nervous system.
More vigorous practices like Ashtanga, power vinyasa, and hot yoga build heat and increase endorphins so are better for energizing the mood. Experiment to see which style leaves you feeling most balanced and uplifted day to day.
How can I prolong the positive effects after class ends?
Here are some tips to extend the uplifted feeling from yoga:
- Spend 5-10 minutes in seated meditation or savasana
- Practice pranayama breathing exercises
- Take a warm bath with epsom salts
- Drink plenty of water to rehydrate
- Refrain from alcohol or caffeine
- Eat a nourishing whole foods meal
- Journal or reflect on insights gained
- Get adequate sleep
- Remind yourself of any breakthroughs
- Schedule the next yoga class! Consistency is key.
Yoga is an ancient Indian practice that connects the mind, body and spirit through physical postures, breathing techniques and meditation. Regular yoga provides extensive physical and mental health benefits that leave practitioners feeling amazing after each session. By releasing endorphins and lowering stress hormones, yoga boosts mood naturally. The focus on deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system to calm the mind and body. Yoga also increases blood circulation, builds body awareness, and enhances mindfulness. The practice encourages self-acceptance and compassion.
The sense of accomplishment from mastering challenging poses or attending class regularly also makes you feel good. Yoga helps develop discipline which boosts confidence. The spiritual elements provide a sense of meaning and connectedness. The supportive community found at yoga studios motivates you to keep improving. Overall, yoga gives you tools to find inner peace, let go of judgment, and approach life's demands from a more balanced place. The physical beauty of the practice combined with inner stillness creates a natural high.