Five Reasons Not to Dismiss Yoga this New Year

Happy New Year!

For those wishing to start off the New Year with a the resolution to do a bit more exercise (with ya, mate), my personal favorite is Yoga. There is some derision about yoga as an exercise still, but it doesn’t take long after you start practicing it to realize why this form of exercise maintains after thousands of years.

My yoga journey began a few years ago, for me it opened up a path to peace that I didn’t even know existed at the time. It began, quite simply, as being something I could actually do, during a time when I felt like I couldn’t do anything.  I am, and always have been flexible, which gave me an initial advantage that allowed me to feel like I could keep going at it. It took off for me last year though, with Lesley Fightmaster’s 90 Days of Yoga challenge; I didn’t complete the 90 days but it helped me recognize something: I was struggling with low mood at the time, and I still do from time to time, bu what I discovered is that yoga was making me feel better by making me live in the moment, and thus, I started doing it more often. My yoga journey is still going, but looking back I am surprised by how far I’ve come without realizing it, which I why I want to convince other people to take it up too.  My resolution this new year is to go to actual yoga classes (with people! eek!) in the hope that one day I can become a qualified yoga instructor.

But in the meantime, here are five reasons you should consider yoga and join me on this journey…

Five Reasons to Consider Yoga/Five Myths Dispelled

5. You can lose weight with yoga.
No, it may not be as quick as some other high intensity exercises, that’s a given. But it is important not to listen to those people who say Yoga is only stretches, because it can be, but it can also be tough, sweat inducing cardio, depending on how you approach it.

If you are looking at Yoga from a weight loss perspective, however, you are going to need to do one of two things: Firstly, do higher intensity yoga – Power Yoga, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, anything with ‘flow’ in the title is a good place to start. You don’t have to do this all this time, in fact it can be good to mix it with some gentler stretching classes so your muscles don’t get too tense, but the more often you do these types of flows the more likely you are to lose weight.

Secondly, you could combine it with something else, you don;t eat one type of food, you don;t need to do do one type of exercise. Interchange it with walking, running, a weekly session at the gym, something that adds a little more cardio. This can be particularly good if you find the faster flows more difficult (I know I do).. My advice is to start small so you and your body get used to it and you begin to actually want to do it over time.

4. You don’t need to be flexible.
One of the nicest things about yoga is that you can adapt it to suit you. It happened that I was relatively flexible when I began, but don’t let it put you off – I bet there’s loads of things you can do that I can’t. The other thing I can tell you is, after practicing on and off, I am so much more flexible than I have ever been. Start small, build up. If you can’t touch your toes, touch your knees and you will get there eventually.

3. You don’t even really need a yoga mat….
This may be disagreed with my yoga professionals, but honestly, if you’re doing yoga at home, do yoga on the carpet and it’ll work much the same. Yoga mats are nice, however, if you decide you’re enjoying it enough to keep up with it. (As it happens, I did buy one, and It’s disappeared into come foreign corner of my room and I have’t seen it for three years. Such is life.) On another note, yoga, depending on how intense the flow you do, can be done in tracky bottoms. Nice.

2. You can do it at home.
Some people may argue that you should go to a proper yoga class with an instructor in the room with you.However, I know that being overweight, or new to something can be really daunting, and sometimes you just simply can’t afford it. This is the beauty of Youtube. If you mess up, no one is going to see except you; you can, in the privacy of your own home, experiment with different practices and flows, and find out what is right for you and your body. You don’t even need anything (see previous point!).

1. The Mental Benefits.
There seem to be a million and one studies which will tell you that yoga is proved to help depressiion, make you live longer, make you taller etc etc. The long and the short of it is, when you are focusing on getting a pose right, you are just thinking about the pose, and often this means your mind isn’t thinking bout all the things you have to do, or the things you’ve done wrong in your life. This kind of mindfulness is something we strive to bring into our everyday lives, for me, I don’t manage it all this time, but I can do it on the yoga mat, and that is why yoga is so important to me.

So there you go, five reasons why Yoga is awesome. So give it a go, if you’re trying to lose weight this New Year (you can do it!) or if you’re trying to start a new hobby – give it a go. I’ll be posting a few good youtube channels to start with soon, but in the meantime Lesley Fightmaster, one of my favourite ‘yoga-tubers’ is starting a 30 days of Yoga for beginners this month, so check it out:

Let me know if you start yoga, or what your New Years Resolutions are.
Best,
Jess

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