Yoga helps you to be more flexible, in more ways than one. Yes, your hamstrings will lengthen, and you may gain a few inches in height with your new posture. But you also become more flexible in the figurative sense. When you’ve laid in Savasana for five minutes or held a deep hip opener for 5 seconds longer than you thought possible, other things just don’t seem that big of a deal anymore.

We also learn in yoga to notice things instead of reacting. When in a pose, I always think about how I am accessorizing, or adding to the posture. Are my neck and shoulders tight? Is my jaw clenching? Many times these extra muscles try to help out when they aren’t needed at all. Releasing them will help you to de-stress, but even just the action of noticing that something is amiss will help you off of the mat. Instead of reacting to stimuli, you can now pause, notice, reflect, and then make your decision. With practice, this may only take a second or two, but to the outsider, you are calm, cool and collected!

With these new skills, the next time your boss tells you to change the project you’ve just completed, instead of getting super heated and angry, take a breath. When your partner nags for not doing the dishes this week? Take a breath before reacting!

By being able to pause before reacting to something, you can evaluate your actions before you lash out. You will become a nicer person…trust me! All you’re doing is breathing, which you do anyway, but to the rest of the world, you seem a more relaxed and easygoing person. Things that used to bug you no longer do, because you no longer react without thinking.  Besides, in the grand scheme of life, that dude who cuts you off on the freeway is really no big deal.

So think of it this way: yoga reminds us to bend with the breeze and float with the tide… enjoy the ride!

Share your experience with breath helping you overcome a heated situation in the comments below…