How Yoga Makes You A Nicer Person

As if a toned body and calmer mind weren’t enough, practicing yoga also makes you a nicer person—who just happens to have better sex, according to two new studies.According to a Journal of Holistic Nursing study, yogis credit their practice for making them nicer, kinder, and more patient. And just two hours of yoga a week is enough for a boost in the bedroom, finds a study from the International Society For Sexual Medicine.As a yoga teacher myself, I’ve seen this proven in my own life time and again. No matter how stressful my day, or how irritated I feel with those around me, 60 minutes of yoga is all it takes to transform my mood, clear my head, and fill my heart with gratitude. The result: I’m a less stressed, happier version of myself—someone who more easily notices and appreciates the good in life and in others (and I’m a lot less likely to snap at my husband).

Here are some of the other ways yoga makes you an even better version of yourself:

Increases self-awareness. “One of the reasons that yoga has such an impact on how we connect in relationships is because it slows us down and teaches us to tune into what we’re feeling,” says Jillian Pransky, a registered yoga teacher and director of Restorative Therapeutic Yoga teacher training for YogaWorks. And the more self-awareness you have, the easier it is to figure out why you’re feeling agitated or frustrated—and then address what’s really bothering you before you explode. (Already feeling more self-aware? Here are 10 questions to ask yourself!)

Helps you say “I’m sorry.” “Yoga also teaches us to look inward, and reminds us that the only person we can ever truly know or change is ourselves,” says Pransky. “This understanding has helped me learn to step back and admit when I’m at fault, making me more likely to apologize and find a way to resolve an argument instead of letting it go on for days,” she says.

Makes you more mindful. Many yoga teachers also interweave teachings on gratitude, love, and kindness into their classes, reminding students to appreciate the little things more deeply, and to live mindfully. Over time, students often become more aware of how they interact with others and the impact they have on those around them.

Leads to better sex. “Your practice can also help you feel more confident and comfortable in your body, which makes you more open to being vulnerable,” says Ashley Turner, a registered yoga teacher and marriage and family therapist. “This often leads to more authenticity and intimacy on all levels—and often better sex, too.” Because yoga has a calming effect on your nervous system, it helps you relax and makes you more open to receiving and experiencing pleasure with your partner, she says.

Keeps you calm to carry on. Learning to breathe through challenging poses like Crescent Lunge or Revolving Half-Moon helps you learn how to stay calm and in touch with your emotions during difficult moments. “There will always be joy and anger, happiness and sadness, but the tools you learn on the mat enable you to better deal with a variety of situations, and to react with more awareness, patience, and kindness, rather than out of habit,” says Pransky.