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Make Yoga a 2023 New Year’s Resolution


Photo courtesy of Everyday Health

I know what you're thinking: New Year's resolutions don't work and they only discourage people when expectations aren't met. But hear me out—this resolution could stick with some discipline and open-mindedness. Instead of telling yourself, you're going to lose weight or work out more in the new year, how about starting that journey with a daily yoga practice?

Yoga is a great outlet for starting a physical and mental transformation. Surveys show that people who adopt yoga are more likely to be physically active in ways like running or cycling in comparison to people who have not adopted yoga in their life. Not only is yoga great for physical health, but it provides many benefits for your mental health, including stress management and lowered anxiety levels.

There are many different types of yoga to tickle your fancy. If you're looking for a faster-paced flow, consider trying vinyasa or hatha yoga. Flow classes can be made moderately intense to help get your heart rate up and get you sweating a bit.

If you're needing something slower and more relaxing to help lower stress levels, try a hand at yin or restorative yoga. Yin yoga moves slowly, with some of the poses lasting up to 5 minutes, to offer a more relaxing type of movement and meditation. Restorative yoga is generally for people recovering from any type of injury, but anyone can participate in the comforting flow.

Yoga makes you stronger. It's considered a body-resistance exercise, with certain poses requiring strong lunges, holds or arm strength for handstands. With the minimum equipment required, you can also increase the strength needed for everyday activities.

While you can see and feel the benefits of yoga as long as you practice it regularly (for example, once a week or five times a week), I encourage you to try and practice it every day. Once your body gets into the routine of doing yoga every day, you'll be stuck in a healthy habit that will be hard to break.

A great tip that has helped me in the past with my yoga practice is getting up in the morning and doing yoga first thing after rolling out of bed. I'll drink a bit of coffee and practice on an empty stomach so I can do poses without any tummy discomfort. Your practices also do not have to be lengthy. Even a 5-minute flow can suffice to add benefits to your day. But you're also welcome to do an hour-long flow if that's what you're feeling that morning.

That leads me to another tip, listen to your body and choose a flow based on how you're feeling. Yoga teaches you that you won't feel the same every day. Some days you may feel more tired because you have a busier schedule. On those days, practicing a short yin yoga practice may be in the cards. If you wake up feeling energized and excited to take on the day, take that energy into a longer vinyasa flow. The diversity of yoga is awesome.

New Year's resolutions tend to fall through for most people. Yoga could be a resolution that sticks with you for the rest of your life. The stresses of daily life can sometimes be overwhelming, now more than ever. Yoga can help you slow down, breathe, and take any stress to the mat and leave it there for the rest of the day. Once you start to flow and feel your body wake up, you can start to go about your day with ease and comfort.

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