By Sarah Ezrin, Instructor at YogaWorks LA
When I say the word ‘yoga’ what is the first thing you imagine? Ten dollars says a radiant girl doing a warrior pose on a beach. We all know yoga gets you fit, but what is it that makes yogis literally glow?
I have seen some incredibly beautiful people in my lifetime (I grew up in Los Angeles, after all), but there is nothing more attractive than someone with good energy. Have you ever met a person who just radiates? Who you want to be around without really knowing why? What makes a person magnetic has nothing to do with outward appearance, and all to do with what is happening inside. If we could bottle and sell ‘good energy’, we would be rich. But before you start searching the Internet for energy injections, there is a cheaper and longer-lasting DIY solution: yoga.
Yoga is famous for toning the bum, but it also tones our nervous system. It strengthens our inner resilience so we are less reactive to stress. Neuroscientists found that regular meditators have a lower startle response, and perceive noxious stimuli (translation: annoyingness) with reduced intensity than non-meditators. When our nervous system is calm, all the other systems of the body, such as digestion, immunity, and mood regulation, run smoothly and efficiently.
A regular yoga practice helps digest the veggie burger from lunch, but also helps with experiences and emotions. Life can be intense, and if we don’t take the time to process what is happening, we become emotionally constipated. Through movement yoga teaches us to go with the flow, while the meditative aspect helps us gain clarity and insight. On a physical level, yoga improves blood flow to the digestive organs, keeping things moving and eliminating toxins.
Yogis are strong outside and in. We don’t call them ‘warrior’ poses for nothing! Internally, yoga fortifies our immune system. It helps with lymphatic function, which produces white blood cells. A spiritual practice also bolsters immunity to life. Difficult situations are not as overwhelming or debilitating when we remain calm. And yoga is cumulative. The more we practice, the more sustained the effects.
Yoga is a natural Prozac without all the side effects. Yoga has been shown to lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone), even after a single class. It works with the endocrine system, responsible for mood regulation. Studies have shown that yogis score higher on happiness scales than non-yogis, and that their brains develop differently, including thicker grey matter and improved pre-frontal cortex functioning, which controls emotions.
Yoga works from the inside out. The old adage “true beauty comes from within” is no cliché. We can make ourselves crazy manufacturing our face and body to match the latest cover of Women’s Health. But unless you feel good inside, it doesn’t matter what you look like outside. When the body is healthy, the mind gets still, the soul shines through, and it is radiant.
Take classes with me in studio or online on myyogaworks.com. Get a free month of MyYogaWorks with unlimited access to 750+ online yoga classes when you enter the promo code SWEAT at sign up anytime before November 30, 2015.
Sarah Ezrin loves yoga and nothing is more apparent when she teaches. Her joie de vivre is infectious. As a respected teacher trainer, Sarah weaves creative sequencing with precise alignment. Her fun and popular classes are infused with humor and positivity. Bringing a background of psychology and life coaching, Sarah lovingly guides students toward their brightest and best self. Sarah is based out of her hometown of Los Angeles. A world traveler since birth, she now leads trainings, workshops and retreats across the globe. For Sarah, yoga is beyond the postures; it is about connecting to one’s brightest and most authentic Self. Life should be spent laughing with those we love and doing the things we most enjoy, like yoga.