Want to lose weight, save money, or quit smoking? Here’s how yoga can help you keep those New Year’s Resolutions…
Many of us proclaim our New Year’s Resolutions loudly at the start of the year, but within a few weeks, our resolve begins to waver, and most New Year’s Resolutions are abandoned by the end of February. However, did you know that the popular yoga practices of asanas and pranayama can actually help you stick to your resolutions and achieve your goals this year?
For example, pranayama (controlled breathing) practices have been found to reduce cravings and addictive behaviors. Since one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to stop smoking or drinking, yoga can be of great benefit to those attempting to quit, according to this article from DailyCupofYoga.com:
Both the asanas and pranayamas of yoga have shown in countless studies to help with cessation of such vices. These practices make us more self-aware of our entire body. Combining physical fitness (some asana practices, such as vinyasa and hatha) with emotional and mental wellness (achieved during the savasana or final pose, as well as with pranayama) is a strong tool to help combat addiction and cravings…
Of course, weight loss is another big one – possibly the most popular resolution of all. Yoga classes – whether at home or in a studio – can be a great way to lose weight and tone and strengthen your entire body. Depending on the type of yoga you choose, and how devoted you are to your practice, yoga may be all you need to achieve your weight loss goals.
Yoga tackles every aspect of a good fitness regimen including cardio (particularly in vinyasa or bootcamp-style classes), strength training using your body weight, balance, flexibility, and agility training (depending on the type of asana practice)… A gentler yoga class can be taken on a traditional “rest day” or when you’ve had an exceptionally tough workout in another class or on your own. Unlike some other exercises, such as running, you can modify and customize an asana practice to suit your needs, abilities, and goals as they vary day to day. You can even practice yoga on your own, or as a break in between filing reports or writing up documents at the office. Just because most yoga classes are 60-90 minutes and a lot of attendees have on tight pants and lug around sticky mats, that doesn’t mean that’s the only way to practice yoga. If you want to get physically healthier in the new year, yoga can be done by anyone of any age for life.
Last, but not least, many people resolve to get a handle on their finances for the new year. Yoga classes often are not cheap! However, practicing yoga doesn’t have to be expensive – in fact, it can be FREE!
…and there aren’t any rules that you have to sport a certain brand of clothing when practicing. Many westerners wear tight clothes when practicing so they (and, if in a guided class, their teacher) can easily see the lines of their body. This helps to ensure safe and correct postures. However, you can practice in anything that makes you comfortable. Practicing barefoot, without socks, can help you grip the floor or mat. It also encourages you to incorporate some “foot fitness” into your asana practice…
If you’ve resolved to save more money this year, but you’ve been carrying an expensive gym membership because you didn’t want to give up your favorite yoga class, maybe this is one way you can achieve your financial goal, and squirrel that extra money away for a rainy day.
In the age of the internet, there are enough free yoga classes available online to last you for the rest of your life – even if you did a different class every day! Case in point – we post a new yoga workout for you right here on the blog every Wednesday – just bookmark this site, and come back weekly for a new, totally free yoga workout to practice all week long.
No matter what your goals and resolutions are this year, yoga can help you achieve them – whether through improving your physical fitness, fighting cravings, or reducing stress and improving your mindset. So put your resolutions into action, and get your yoga on! 🙂