It’s nearly that time of the year to be making a list of how you plan to be better in 2014. So while you spend the holiday feasting on Yuletide delights, indulging in Christmas treats and wine, take stock of the year that has passed and consider starting the new one with a yogic twist.
Millions of people around the world put together a resolutions list, in hopes of turning over a new leaf with the New Year. The concept of resolutions date back to centuries ago, but regardless of religion and creed, the notion of self-improvement is a popular one. And what better way to improve than through health?
If you’re planning to start exercising more, get fitter or even attempt a yoga class, you’re already making that first step.
Here are some tips to bear in mind:
Set a Goal.
Know what you want to achieve in the New Year- a svelte figure? Accomplish a challenging pose? Touch your toes? To have a regular fitness regime? To cut down on junk food? Whatever it is set your sights on something that will motivate you for the next 365 days.
80% of why resolutions don’t work out is because we set targets that are too high and seem unachievable, and thus, we lose motivation the moment we hit a roadblock. Understand your body, lifestyle and eating habits first before writing down your goals and be realistic about what you can or cannot do for the next year, physically, mentally and even financially.
Do your research.
There are many yoga studios and fitness centres peppering the island today, each offering a variety of classes for you to choose from. Read up on these studios, what they offer and inquire on trial classes. The more you try these classes, the better your knowledge of what sort of yoga you are drawn to and the type of teaching.
Start with a beginner Hatha Yoga or Vinyasa class and allow your body to get acquainted with the different stretches and poses that the practice will introduce. Talk to your instructor before and after the class so that he / she knows it’s your first time and will better understand you as a student. Don’t be afraid to let them know if you have any pain or discomfort when you’re in class, or to stop midway, sit down and rest if you’re physically strained.
Write down your resolutions.
Once you’ve completed the above, write down your resolutions, jot it down on your phone, post-it notes you can stick on your mirror, cubicle at work, wherever there is high visibility, to serve as a daily reminder and motivation. Telling a loved one, best friend or colleagues help others to keep you in check too. They can remind you of your goals and even accompany you to class to encourage you to practice.
Stick to it.
Now that you’ve finished the first step, next comes the hard part- working to ensure that your goal is met and is a success. It won’t be easy.
There will be times that you feel like giving up, and question why you are subjecting yourself to such physical torture. There will be days where even your downward dogs and half folds prove to be the most challenging your mind and body has to face that day. Get yoginspiration by following feeds and articles from inspiring yoga websites or photos from Instagram.
Constantly remind yourself why you set the goal in the first place and to look back on how far you’ve come, no matter how small your steps have been. Remember to breathe.
Without over indulging, give yourself small rewards daily as you are one step closer to achieving the goal. It can be simple things such as savoring ‘Savasana’ at your practice, being grateful for your body, presence and the opportunity to practice yoga. Or to have that chocolate cake after dinner because you worked so hard.
Whatever the reward, remember to have it moderately, accept it graciously and be generous with your gratitude.
Happy New Year!
Credits: Deborah Dayani and Stretch City.