Whoa it's already December.
A season of celebration, makan sessions and get togethers with family and friends.
Also a season of reflection and setting personal goals and intentions for the coming new year ahead.
Here are a few reasons why you should include yoga in your New Year’s Resolutions
Yoga helps improve health and wellbeing
If you find yourself waking up in the morning feeling stiff, ache-y and break-y, consider how yoga can increase mobility and flexibility.
Other health benefits include improved balance and coordination, lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels and everyone’s favourite –weight loss andstrong toned muscles 💪🏼
Yoga helps detoxification
One too many good 'spirits', too many Christmas cakes and turkey can make your body feel sluggish and lethargic – no way to start a new year.
Sweating it out in hot classes or doing lots of twists and forward bends in your favourite hatha or flow classes can help wrie out toxins from your tired and overworked digestive organs and make you feel more refreshed!
Yoga keeps you young
People who have practiced yoga longer have brain structures typical of younger people.
Studies show the regions of the brain responsible for learning, memory, cognition and emotional regulation “grows” after doing yoga - even if practicing the slower meditative forms.
In contrast, the areas of the brain responsible for fear, anxiety, and stress shrink.
(Note to self : practice more handstands 😖to conquer self mental block)
So pick up yoga and you may find yourself learning a new skill – whether a new language, sport or musical instrument with greater ease and confidence this coming year. Your brain will resist less!
Yoga helps you keep calm and carry on
Let's face it. A new year will be wrought with challenges whether at work or in relationships.
We need to stay calm and present in the face of those challenges rather than get crazy-reactive and regret our words or actions later.
Focusing on mindfulness in yoga poses or being reminded to breathe translates off the mat and can help us refrain from acting in hastiness and confusion, but with clarity.
When you’re about to binge eat your unhappiness away, burn a hole in your wallet shopping online when stressed, or spew expletives at your colleagues, you can remember to keep calm, breathe and carry on!
Yoga teaches self acceptance
The truth is that the practice of yoga is not about changing the body or the brain.
It’s not about handstands or even about gaining greater happiness and joy.
If it were, it’d be just like taking a spinning class or going to a gym.
In a culture in which we rush from day to day meeting targets and deadlines, constantly trying to change our bodies and lifestyles, we can feel so lost being pushed in many directions.
As Buddhist teacher Perma Chodron explains:
Personally, this is the best reason to practice yoga: to be kind to yourself.
And perhaps, to be able to kind to yourself means you will not set new year resolutions according to external standards – and then break them just a week into the new year.
Instead, you may create a few personal markers which you can shift and adjust up or down throughout the year.
In doing this, you will find great freedom and fluidity in your resolutions -
ultimately isn't that what we truly seek?
About the author
Christine is a teacher at Yoga Inc and she will Kali* (grill, whack, poke-your-muscles, adjust) you if you don't hold poses properly in her class
*Kali is the name of a goddess who fight demons and trample on them to restore righteousness. Damn Fierce one.
P.S. Need more motivation to include Yoga in your New Year's Resolution?
Check out Yoga Inc's 3rd anniversary promotions and 21- day yoga challenge in Jan 2017!
Why should men do yoga?
Yes! While it’s true that most yoga classes are attended by mostly fit and flexible females in tight clothes, yoga is not a ‘sport’ for ladies.
There are many of reasons why men should pick up yoga. (and picking up women is not one of them!)
That is what everybody thinks yoga is about, and yes you’ll gain flexibility with a consistent practice. You will be able to touch your toes sooner than you think. The many twists done in class will help your golf swing and tennis game, and the hip flexibility will help in rock climbing. Flexibility is a bonus for EVERY sport!
2) Range of motion!
Ok, confused? People often assume range of motion is flexibility, but it’s a little bit different.
Well, same same but different lah.
Most guys that work out a lot know that they have certain tight muscle groups that are bothering them.
The stretching in yoga helps in range of motion when translated into weight lifting.
For example, in a squat at the gym or even at a cross fit studio, trainers sometimes will say ‘ass to grass!’
If you hip flexors are tight how to ass to grass leh? Yoga will help increase your range of motion and also help you to get better muscle tone and bring strength faster! Which leads me to the next point...
3) Tone muscles!
Yes, yoga can help to tone muscles. Why you don’t believe me?
Chaturangas and arm balances are not easy ok!
One just needs to think of yoga as a body weight exercise. Chaturanga is similar (but not the same) to a bench press, and think of the nice quads you get with all the standing lunge postures!
4) Injury prevention!
Wah…. like snake oil leh, yoga can do so many things meh?
Well… yoga forces you to balance, work your body in new and unaccustomed ways, strengthening the smaller stabiliser muscles. These muscles are usually neglected, and a weak link that would lead you to injury in sports or in the gym in the long run.
You do not need any special equipment and space for yoga. A yoga mat and a small corner in any room would be sufficient. This is effective for our busy lifestyle and travelling. Also, no special clothes are needed, unless you are like me, who need to match my outfits.
In conclusion, yoga is both a physical and a mental practice, and even suppose to help in the bed room - don’t quote me ah! This one Birkram Choudhury the founder of Birkram yoga say one!
So men, try a yoga class today, and maybe you will be surprise how yoga may give you a physical challenge that you didn’t see coming.
P.S. Yoga Inc has a 5 Class Intro Pass for only $70!
About the author
Ric is a teacher at Yoga Inc and his outfit doesn't always match.
You can follow him @ric.yoga