7 Ways Yoga Helps You Learn New Things

7 Ways Yoga Helps you Learn New Things!

7 Ways Yoga Helps you Learn New Things! 

Today I’m writing  about two of my biggest passions. Learning and yoga. Specifically 7 ways yoga helps you learn new things! 

As a yoga practitioner or teacher you know that yoga and learning go hand in hand. For most people this starts when they first practise asana, when you start to learn more about your  body. For others it could be meditation that teaches them about the fluctuations of their mind or spiritual texts that teach them about lifestyle, ethics and philosophy. 

Whichever came first and however you started your yoga learning journey, it’s a path of never-ending learning. 

Practising and teaching yoga opens up a whole new world. It gives you new perspectives on behaviour, actions, knowledge, but also culture and beliefs. It teaches you about your relationships with yourself, the people around you, and the world as a whole. Yoga takes you on a transformative journey which often makes you rethink all your previous thoughts, words and decisions. It helps you develop awareness, including self-awareness.

Why self-awareness is needed for learning new things

The self-awareness we develop through yoga is something we need when we want to learn anything. It’s something many school systems don’t pay attention to. When you’re in school, many classes are taught the same way, to all students. But every student has their own learning style, talents, strengths, interests and needs. For many, either in school or coming out of school we believe we’re not good at learning. Bad at memorising new information. And sometimes even think we’re not intelligent enough. As a result we focus a lot on what other people think of us, our answers and our grades. We develop a perspective of ourselves that may not be accurate or true, but from my own experience, practising yoga helps you gain a more correct and fairer awareness of who you are and what challenges you face.

Self-awareness is a product of your yoga practice which changes any false perspective you have of yourself and of what you can do. With this, comes a total change in attitude towards your learning journeys (yoga related or not)  meaning you can learn anything. 

Why would you want to learn anything?

I believe learning is one of the most valuable assets of our human experience. We continue learning and evolving throughout our personal and professional lives.

Without continuous learning, you wouldn’t be where you are today. On a learning journey that lasts a lifetime, you probably experience lots of different ways of learning. Some are more helpful than others, depending on your personal learning needs. 

For example, many school systems are designed to suit only one or two ways of learning which might be perfect for you, or completely wrong. And sometimes finding support from teachers or colleagues to help us and give us advice or to share resources can be a massive help. But they’re not always going to suit you, even if they’re offered to you with the best intentions. 

That’s why self-awareness in any learning is fundamental: really it’s you who can make the biggest difference to your learning. Rely on your knowledge and understanding of yourself, because nobody can know you better than you can.

Transferring the skill of self-awareness that yoga teaches you, to anything you’re learning, makes you an independent learner. That means you can use your self-awareness to know what you need in order to make progress, and understand where you need to improve and, importantly, where you do well! 

Today, I’m sharing with you 7 Ways Yoga Helps You Learn New Things. To stay on top of your goals, and enjoy learning faster and more effectively. For the purposes of this training/blog,  I’m going to give examples that are specific to  learning languages, because that’s what you’re doing. But these skills can be used for any other type of learning journey, too. If you’d like suggestions or help with any of these points, just write to me at annie@engaunite.com

7 Ways Yoga Helps you Learn New Things

1: FOCUS💡

One of the first things you learn by practising yoga is focus. ‘Find a focal point in front of you’ – ‘Bring your focus back to your breath’. ‘Focus on the sensations in your hip area when you’re in Pigeon Pose’. Yoga helps you learn not to listen to distracting thoughts, sounds, and other disturbances. Thi  can really help your brain use its energy where you want and need it to be. This focus training will become a transferable skill meaning that you can now apply your ability to focus when learning anything. 

2: COMMITMENT 🗓️

Commitment is a value and whether or not you find learning something easy or challenging, whether you really have no desire to or you can’t wait to learn it, doing it anyway is a huge achievement and a valuable learning skill. 

In yoga, many students value their commitment to their practice as an important part of their (daily) life. Their practice and self-care become a priority and this commitment is easily translated to any other learning journey. That feeling of getting on your mat on the easy days and the challenging days. No matter the distractions in your life, even if it’s for 10 minutes only, you’re showing up for your practice; you’re committed to your learning and your progress. 

Yoga teaches you you can only develop or improve yourself when you put in the time and effort. It teaches you that committing to your learning, no matter how much patience or hard work it requires, will be worth it in the future. That helps you face the vocabulary exercises, grammar tasks and learning objectives that intimidate you the most. 

3: IMMERSION ☸️

Yoga is practised on and off the mat. What you learn in class or have read in a book, you’ll apply in your daily life. For that reason, many teachers say that yoga is a lifestyle rather than a practice. In the same way we practise a yogic lifestyle on and off the mat, we can learn new things inside and outside the classroom. Learning something new is a way of life, particularly when learning languages! 

Consider your language learning journey a lifestyle, too, and bring it into your free time: read books and watch films in the language you’re learning, go to social events where you’ll speak/hear that language, watch documentaries about places where that language is widely spoken, meet up with people who are also learning the language, have learned it or a native speakers. Immerse yourself in any activities that expose you to learning more, and help you embody what you’ve already learned.

4: PATIENCE 🧘🏻‍♀️

Patience is a skill that you can train by regularly practising yoga. You’ll find that you have easy days and challenging  days. You’ll find that some asanas or knowledge come easily or naturally, and some take longer. But your inner patience tells you ‘ It’s okay. If it’s not today, it might be another day.’  This is having patience: being ok with the fact that something doesn’t happen when you want/expect it to.

Prioritise the quality of what you learn and how you learn it. Worry less about how much you learn in how short a period of time. There’s also no point in rushing your learning if you aren’t actually absorbing the knowledge you need to. People will ask you ‘how did you learn to do this asana?’ not ‘how long did it take you to learn so many asanas?’. 

The way you learned to do something so well is more important than how many other things you can do/know.

The same goes for learning to speak, write, listen, read and communicate effectively. Learning something like a language is never a fast process. Too often, students and teachers focus on quantity rather than quality. In your yoga practice, you must have heard the expression ‘less is more’. This is true for yoga asanas and for learning languages, too. 

5: LISTENING 👂🏽

Yoga teaches us about union of the mind and the body. It teaches us to listen to both things so that they can connect. It teaches you to be selective and only listen to things that really matter; to what  keeps you healthy and helps you grow. 

Learning to listen to yourself is a tool that improves the quality of any learning journey. Listening tells you when to take a break, when you don’t understand, or when you’ve made a mistake. But it also trains you to listen for the good things! Listen out for that new word you used, or that great answer you gave. Listening helps you nurture and reward yourself, fuelling your next step.

6: POWER of IMAGINATION 🌈

‘While in Warrior 2, imagine you’re a warrior, a fighter and a seer’, ‘While in Standing Forward Fold, imagine looking at your reflection in a pond between your feet.’Even if you aren’t aware of it, yoga trains your imagination. Think of all the imagery you experience during yogic and meditative practices. 

Has a teacher ever asked you to invent an example of something? To try to use a new word in a sentence? They do this to help you train your imagination so that when the correct context comes up in real life, you can use your imagination to create a correct sentence without the help of a teacher or an exercise. 

Your imagination can help you to visualise how you’d feel after achieving your language goals, for example. It can also help you to simply take a moment to visualise the image of a new word or piece of information, increasing your understanding. 

Imagining new knowledge in a visual way can help you absorb it. For more abstract ideas, imagining the concept in a real-life moment can help us relate better to what we’re learning.

7: ABILITY TO ACCEPT 😌

How often have you fallen out of Tree Pose? As a yoga teacher, how often have you mixed up left and right? And how do you respond to these tiny ‘errors’? 

Yoga gives us the ability to accept the present: the what is or isn’t. It helps you to be comfortable with your mistakes or the things you would like to be different. It teaches you to not judge yourself for the fact you might make more human errors in the future. Yoga shows you how you can accept the things you want to change first so you can take control and turn them into learning opportunities.

To summarise

7 Ways Yoga Helps you Learn New Things

1: FOCUS💡

2: COMMITMENT 🗓️

3: IMMERSION ☸️

4: PATIENCE 🧘🏻‍♀️

5: LISTENING 👂🏽

6: POWER of IMAGINATION 🌈

7: ABILITY TO ACCEPT 😌

These are the skills that yoga develops and which I believe are extremely valuable for improving the quality of your learning. I would love to know if you have ever thought about yoga as a learning skill too. Which of these have you thought about before? Are there any you think you already do? Which might you try to pay attention to in the future?

WEBINAR: Overcome Procrastination by Using Your Yoga Teacher Toolkit

I’d love to invite you to a free webinar I’m hosting on the 3rd of November. In this webinar I’ll share how to overcome imposter syndrome (procrastination) and hold yourself accountable for your learning journey! 

If you’d like to become more productive and stop yourself from postponing the task you know will actually help you grow, I’d love to see you there!  Simply register here!  

Did you already see our Continuing Education Membership for multilingual yoga teachers? In our membership you can further explore how yoga can help you learn new things and gain continuing education hours by joining the live yoga teacher training events. Visit our online learning platform and find out what else is included.