A brand-new year is on the horizon, and for many of us that means getting back into shape after a sweet and tasty run through the holidays. As you choose between gym classes, DVD programs, Pilates, or kickboxing, I encourage you to take another look at the many benefits of yoga.
Yoga is a great hobby to pick up for fitness because it provides an excellent challenge to the physical body that is suitable for all body types. The low-impact energy of yoga offers those of all abilities something to gain, regardless of age, size, skill level, or ability. The many variations of the “poses” (or “asanas,” as many yogis say) each yoga style has guarantees that anyone can access it in some way. So, no need to fret over not being flexible enough, or not being able to sink as low as the next woman; it is really all about the stretch you get in your muscles when you do it. And, as you continue to do it more, your flexibility will increase, as will your confidence.
Outside of these benefits, yoga also offers perks that extend far beyond muscle groups and asanas. If you can let it, yoga can work your brain out, too. Not so much with rigorous activity, but rather a few moments in which you can pause, reflect, feel, and breathe. Downward facing dog is a great time to surrender to the moment and let go of some of the stress you are carrying. The action of rising into Warrior II can make you feel empowered, even if it takes a bit to really nail it at first.