The science behind falling in love

By 9 February 2016News
Valentine's Day partner stretching at Fierce Grace Brixton, London

Love is in the air…

Love makes the world go round… It drives us to madness, to euphoria, to despair; that crazy little thing called love…

How good do you feel after you sweat it out at hot yoga? Through exercise we release endorphins giving us that post-work-out buzz, dopamine giving us a big dollop of pleasure and serotonin, providing us with a healthy appetite, a restful night’s sleep and a positive outlook. Powerful hey? Well, the science behind love is pretty similar. At Fierce Grace Brixton, we are getting loved up for Valentine’s Day this Sunday. Whether you’re a yogi with a Single-Standing-head-to-knee, some Loved-up Lunges, or a “It’s Complicated” Crow, we’ve done a little digging into the science behind love.

Research has shown there are three stages of falling in love, all with a varying hormonal response.

Stage 1: Lust

Psychologists have suggested it takes us anywhere between 90 seconds and 4 minutes to detect “fancy-ability” in someone, 55% of which is from their body language. The things we find attractive in a partner can be the result of a “love map” – things instilled in us from childhood about what we do or do not want in a partner. Furthermore, it has also been suggested we all belong to certain “chemical families”; and instinctively choose partners who balance and complement our own bodily hormone levels. Or maybe they just have a nice smile?

At this stage, the hormones oestrogen and testosterone play a key role; testosterone is not only confined to men, indeed it makes for some hot-bloodied females out there!

Stage 2: Attraction

Cue the love-struck Stage 2! Example A: Take Shakespeare’s tragic hero Romeo: “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night” Classic Stage 2.

A whole range of hormones and neurotransmitters called ‘monoamines’ flood the bloodstream. Those giddy butterflies… the teenage giggles… staring into space at your desk fawning over your new love then boring your friends with it over dinner… Yikes. The increased levels of serotonin in the blood stream render us with temporary insanity!

Dopamine, created in the brain, secreted by the adrenal glands, affects our organs and our senses, influencing our mood and emotions with big highs and lows. And, oh, our sweat glands: those clammy palms you get around your new love-interest whilst you’re trying to be totally cool, calm and collected? Blame science. Love is quite literally a drug; nicotine and Class A’s scientifically have the same effect on the brain!

Also enhancing the release of testosterone, our sexual desires are ignited and we more aggressively and passionately pursue our beloved.

The neurotransmitters norepinephine and PEA act as a stimulant. In our alert state, we begin to notice all those ‘small things’ that make us fall in love. The brain actually starts to re-wire itself through the central nervous system, creating a rewards-type reaction when we are with our loved one.

Stage 3: Attachment

Here, two more hormones that come into play. Oxytocin, is the hormonal creator of strong bonds. It is secreted into the bloodstream by mothers during childbirth. It is also secreted along with vasopressin to strengthen our feelings towards our partner, released in its greatest form after ‘mating’. What a wonderful place the body is.

Science aside, this Sunday we will be celebrating the theme of love with our fabulous Partner Stretching class, taught by senior teacher Nina Rashid. Nina will guide you through some partner stretches and balances that may have you falling out of postures, but certainly more in love…

Maybe you want to gaze into each other’s eyes, maybe you want to giggle along with a friend or maybe you want to come along solo to soak up the FGB love, come along and live and love life with Fierce Grace. And enjoy strawberries and fizz afterwards. Win win. Book here.