Since its introduction to the West, millions of Americans have begun practicing yoga. It’s been estimated that around 20.4 million Americans are regular yoga practitioners.

It’s easy to understand why. Yoga isn’t just a way to get a great workout, stretch your muscles, and strengthen your body. Performed properly, yoga can completely change your outlook, and make you a radically different person – especially in our work-a-day, fast-paced society.

Curious to learn how? Here are just 4 of the surprising ways that yoga can change your everyday life – for the better!

1. Yoga keeps you in touch with your body

One of the primary benefits of yoga in everyday life is that it helps keep you in touch with your physical being.

When you practice yoga regularly, you become intensely aware of each part of your body. You know each joint, each muscle, each tendon. You know how much strain they can take, and how strong your body is.

Yoga also helps you become more aware of what you’re putting in your body. This makes it easier to choose healthy food, and avoid things like fast food, over-processed snacks, and sodas.

2. Yoga reduces anxiety and relieves stress

Medical studies have shown that the regular practice of yoga can have anxiety and stress-relieving effects. Yoga allows you to decompress from the stresses of your everyday life, and helps you maintain a more healthy mindset.

Poses such as the cat pose, corpse pose, and child’s pose allow you to quiet your mind, slow your heartbeat, and relax. When practicing yoga, your heartbeat slows, your mind is at ease, and you’re able to focus entirely on the now – without worrying about what may happen in the future.

3. Yoga helps you build better relationships

Yoga is not just a physical practice. It’s also mental and spiritual, and practicing yoga can have life-changing effects on the way that you approach relationships.

Yogic philosophy is varied, depending on the school of practice, but almost all schools share the same basic values of community, compassion, and kindness. Other common tenets of yogic philosophy include avoiding harm to others, telling the truth, taking only what you need, and valuing people above things.

These yoga benefits can be very valuable in your everyday life. It helps you prioritize what’s important, and can help you avoid conflicts and battles over things that don’t truly matter.

4. Yoga helps you reexamine your priorities

Yoga helps foster a positive mindset, and put your mind at ease. This makes yoga a great way to perform regular self-examination.

By building awareness of your mind, body, and spirit, you can examine yourself more critically, and understand where your daily priorities lie. This can help you break bad habits, and emphasize healthier, happier relationships with those at work, at home, or anywhere else in your life.

5. Your yoga practice doesn’t end in the studio!

As you can see from the above benefits, using your practice of yoga in everyday life can be extremely helpful. By focusing on the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of yoga outside the studio, you can develop healthier relationships, build a stronger mind, and ensure that your priorities are in order.

Don’t just practice yoga in the studio. Practice it every day – when you talk to a loved one, a friend, a stranger on the street – and you’re sure to see the benefits of maintaining an open, yoga-inspired mindset.