Practicing Emotional Intelligence Through Yoga

Practicing Emotional Intelligence Through Yoga

Emotional Intelligence is one of the seven commitments we practice through the Sanctuary Model of trauma-informed care.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and manage your own emotions, as well as recognize the emotions of others. Through emotional intelligence you are able to:

  • Become self-aware. You will begin to understand what you’re feeling and why you feel that way.
  • Build self-management skills. You’re able to use your self-awareness to better manage your own behaviors – especially those that might be disruptive or harmful to others.
  • Become more empathetic. You have the ability to sense how others are feeling.
  • Practice relationship management. You are able to establish and maintain healthy relationships with your significant other, friends, family and co-workers.

 We aren’t born with emotional intelligence. It is something that needs to be practiced regularly. One way to practice emotional intelligence is through yoga.

But Why Yoga?

Yoga has been around for centuries, but it has recently seen a resurgence in popularity as a form of physical activity.  However, yoga is so much more than pushing your physical boundaries. It’s also about recognizing and understanding your emotional and mental boundaries. Through yoga you shift your mind from focusing on the world around you, to focusing on the world within you.

So How Does Yoga Tie Into Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence reminds us that our challenges begin and end within ourselves. Yoga encourages you to slow down and focus on your breath. You remove yourself from daily stressors and mindfully focus inward on yourself and how you feel.

Overcoming trauma is a significant step in strengthening your emotional intelligence. In addition to outpatient counseling, yoga is an exceptional tool for healing. The body stores trauma in a variety of ways that often leads to physical discomforts, such as back pain, neck pain and tight muscles. Yoga teaches you to physically release trauma, which is often followed by an emotional response. Don’t be surprise if you witness someone crying in a public yoga class. And more importantly, don’t be ashamed if you begin to cry. This an exceptional step toward healing and emotional intelligence.

Youth practicing yoga on one of our several campuses is not an uncommon site. Therapists, volunteers and staff bring the practice of yoga to help youth improve their own emotional intelligence.

What Now?

There are plenty of free online videos you can use to create an in-home practice. But a good first step would be to create a daily commitment to practicing emotional intelligence through yoga. This doesn’t have to be time consuming. Even a 10–15-minute meditation or yoga practice can make a big difference in how you manage your emotions and responses in stressful situations. It allows you to reflect on how you felt during the day, and allows you to renew yourself by focusing on the present. 

We’d love to hear how you use your yoga practice to focus on emotional intelligence!

If you currently practice yoga or are a yoga instructor and would like to know more about how trauma-informed yoga can be used to help youth who have experienced life challenges, you can join us for a trauma-informed yoga training in partnership with Street Yoga and Nella Yoga Studio on June 23-25.