If you are anything like me, you make lots of resolutions every New Year. Some have been successful and some not so much. Usually we make resolutions about things we want to do differently — lose weight, stop smoking, or begin an exercise program. I know this season can already be a bit wild and crazy without undertaking new activities, but I want to suggest something that will benefit your mind and body — starting yoga today. That’s right, embrace the gift of yoga while we are surrounded by cookies, eggnog, and holiday parties during this hectic time of year. By embracing yoga now, you can give yourself the best holiday gift ever as you strengthen and tone your body, increase your flexibility, build core strength, improve your posture, and develop a long and lean look. Need any more reasons to start a yoga program now? Here are five:
1. Free up your New Year’s resolution for something new! Are you guilty of making the same resolutions every year? If you are, perhaps 2014 is time for something new. Start yoga now so that you have your fitness together by January 1st.
2. Avoid holiday pounds and regret up front. Many people resolve to lose weight in the New Year because all common sense and good habits tend to disappear in the month of December. Do yourself a favor by starting yoga now so that you don’t lose the next weeks to self-loathing and regret. End 2013 with a sense of accomplishment rather than the urge to diet. Like all new habits, good nutrition begins with a good intention and then builds over consistent practice — just like yoga.
3. 'Tis the season to be jolly! Battle those holiday blues by getting your endorphins going. In the midst of consuming and gathering, it is easy to feel pressure to preform, provide, and impress. Expectations often lead to seasonal depression. Be savvy and empowered. Practice yoga to get your endorphins pumping because they are a natural and highly effective antidepressant.
4. Cultivate flexibility in preparation for your loved but not-so-liked ones. The holidays bring us together and sometimes that includes people who challenge you. In-laws, siblings, “friends of friends” that you'd rather not deal with all walk across your front door. Instead of anticipating and agitating about unwanted encounters, let yoga bring an open heart and flexibility into your life. You cannot change others but you can change how you react to them. Yoga helps us be present in the moment and we begin to understand how we can “let it all go” and enjoy the now.
5. Peace on earth starts with your inner peace. The holidays in greeting cards depict peaceful nights, holding hands, and singing angels, but to make those images a reality we must start cultivating our own inner peace. Do your part this holiday season by finding some peace with yoga or mediation. Simple asanas (yoga postures,) rhythmic and healthy breathing, and a little bit of meditation will change your life! I promise you will not regret it. Make 2013 the year that a whole new world opens up to you!
Tell us about the benefits you get from practicing yoga.
Jessica James has been practicing yoga seriously for 12 years, and for the last 6 years she has taught movie stars, pop stars, and all sorts of influential people that she keeps looking “Hollywood ready.” As a teacher, she has developed yoga sets that sculpt the body and clear the mind. During her second pregnancy, Jessica shared her own experience with a unique fitness-based prenatal yoga program. She has completed three yoga alliance certified teacher training courses and currently lives in Malibu, CA with her family.