[tweetable alt=””]“We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”
– Virginia Satir[/tweetable]
Hugs are an expressive way to give and receive love, trading energy between us all. Hugs can be tender, strong, short and long. I find Brits (myself included) uncommonly reserved and to a fault socially awkward. However, the privilege of a multi-cultural upbringing, a Yogi and earthy outlook has bestowed within me the importance of both physical and emotional connections. So, when I feel the need, I throw open my arms wide open for a cuddle whenever and wherever the moment arises. I’ll hug trees, my dog and cat, a cup of good old English tea, even a candle in a meditative moment, or a book to wonder and ponder a compelling passage. I even invite students to embrace a self-love hug in class to open up their shoulders during the warm-up or energise their spine in Apanasana, knees to chest pose.
The importance of hugs exceeds the realms of our emotional state and here are some reasons why.
1. Feel happy
A good long hug (about 20 seconds) will get serotonin levels in your body flowing which will boost your feeling of happiness.
2. Feel warm and fuzzy
When we embrace our oxytocin levels increase, stimulating a gush of oxytocin which is also known as “the cuddle hormone” or “love hormone”.
3. Feel relaxed
The healing touch from another is registered by the Pacinian corpuscles nerve endings. These in turn send signals to the vagus nerve which controls many things including the heart and digestive track and is responsible for lowering blood pressure.
4. Sleep easy
Cortisol (the stress hormone) is lowered when you hug it out. It helps balance the nervous system to empower a better night’s sleep.
5. Care and Share
A hug may not always dissolve a wounded soul, but if you have the grace to embrace, sometimes that’s enough. Hugs teach us to share and care in equal balanced measure because it flows both ways.
6. The Essence of Yog
Hugs are a form of Yoga and Meditation and for a few precious moments we are connected and surrendering to the moment of the present.
Hugs can express what words cannot say. Embrace a hug, give a hug. Go full power by adding a smile, laughter, a thought of intention or gratitude and see what hugs can do for you and others today.