Committing to a regular practice will benefit more than your body.
Forget a year-long resolution. Once you take up yoga, you could be hooked for a lifetime.
EACH YEAR, MANY PEOPLE fall short of their goals. But it's not necessarily their fault. Too often, they get pulled into gimmicky exercise trends that do not deliver the results they promise. Yoga, by contrast, is here to stay – because it works.
1. It's convenient.
Nobody has the time to spend hours working out. If you do spend more than an hour exercising, you're not optimizing your productivity. In other words, your time could be better spent elsewhere. Many yoga sequences are short and powerful and only take 15 to 20 minutes to complete. Yoga does not require any equipment; just your willingness to get it done. You can practice yoga anywhere, anytime. The luxury of being able to work out at home increases the probability that you will do it and stick with it for the long haul.
2. It's safe.
I am all for mixing up your workouts. But if you have a history of injuries, it can be dangerous to adhere to hyper-competitive, high-impact, over-complicated types of training. Yoga demands that you slow down and move with your breath. The biggest rule in yoga is: If it hurts, don't do it. While yoga flows will challenge you to your edge, the practice asks you to err on the side of caution rather than push past what is safe.
3. It's fun.
If you don't enjoy your training program, you'll likely feel burnt out and either jump from one routine to the next without anything to show for it or quit altogether. Yoga offers a light-heartedness that is unlike any other workout. Learning new poses and different flows will help you take a more youthful perspective on your physical practice. That, in turn, translates to the way you see the world around you.
4. It's encouraging.
While some other training philosophies provoke you to do more and suggest that you are not good enough by demanding you to try harder, yoga's philosophy suggests that you should be content as you are while you challenge yourself completely. Yoga builds you up with positive reinforcement and prioritizes self-care. We are already saturated with enough pressure-packed situations in life; your workout should not feel degrading or negative. The underlying sentiment in yoga is to see the good in yourself first while you strive to be better each time you practice.
5. It's effective.
The most important quality of a strong yoga practice is that it works. Yoga can build strength, flexibility and endurance in the same workout. If your goal is to burn fat and lose weight, yoga can do the trick. Some body weight exercises, for example, can be performed in a circuit (meaning you do one after the other), so they pack a punch and will rev up your metabolism. This technique will help you become surprisingly strong without bulking up. Other poses help alleviate any residual tightness or discomfort from the circuits so you feel great post-workout. This pattern of training also minimizes soreness, which allows you to train more frequently and ultimately produces the best results.
6. It's sustainable.
While New Year's resolutions and short-term goals are important, the hope is that they will instill lasting changes on your health. Every decision you make matters, and they all add up to form your well-being. When you practice yoga, you feel a deeper connection with yourself and the world around you. You start to notice subtleties in your body and your character. This adventure of self-discovery is ever-evolving, insightful and will keep you consistently practicing for a lifetime.