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Meg is a staff writer for The Hudsucker. After going through high school thinking she “didn’t like to write,” she found her love for it her freshman year at college and it’s only deepened since then. Upon graduating from Rutgers University with a BA in Communication in 2013, she began working in online marketing for the hospitality industry. She currently splits her time between NYC, where she works, and NJ, where she lives—but hopes that one day she’ll be able to live & work in the same state (that’s the dream).

7 Reasons You Should Try Yoga This Year

The start of the year is a popular time for many of us to try and begin life changes, especially ones involving health. Whether it’s feeling over fed and under exercised after the holidays, the illusion of a fresh start from the new year, or a combination of both, healthy living gets a lot of attention this time of year. If you committed to making a change this year, the addition of a yoga practice is a great start that will help out in ways you might not realize. I started doing yoga six years ago and what originally began as “just another form of exercise” has morphed and grown into a full blown practice that influences and supports what I do off my mat. There are many reasons to practice yoga that go beyond what you might think about when you think about yoga.

@msmegquinn on instagram

For Fitness

The most obvious of benefits, but it doesn’t make it any less important—the physical benefits of yoga cannot be undersold. Yoga does not look like the most rigorous form of exercise but it certainly can be. There are certain styles of yoga (like Vinyasa) that are made to make you sweat and give you an all-encompassing workout if that is what you are looking for. After a few weeks of doing steady yoga and you’ll probably find that it’s helping you out in the other sports you love too, like running or cycling. Yoga really helps build up strength and stamina in my legs which in turn helps me run longer with less pain.

For Flexibility

I am not a flexible person by nature. My leg muscles are allergic to stretching, my hip flexors are always aching, and there have been times in my life where I’ve wondered if I was born with a metal rod in my back where my spine should be. Yoga has given me flexibility in ways that I truly did not think were possible. If you think that you have to already be flexible to do yoga you are wrong! Yoga will give you that flexibility and you’ll be find yourself bending in ways that you never thought were possible for your body.

Cute Clothes

Alright so this is a very superficial reason to begin a yoga practice, and stands in direct contrast to the purpose of traditional yoga, but the boom in the exercise industry recently has resulted in there being a ton of adorable yoga clothes. It’s always fun to treat yo’ self a little bit and honestly, we deserve it for stepping up and making a change this year when it could’ve been easier to just keep doing the same old stuff. The best part is, you won’t have to feel guilty for buying yoga pants and then never actually using them to practice yoga in anymore.

Augusto Mia Battaglia on flickr

Finding Peace of Mind

If you fall in love with the physical aspect of yoga so much that you want to learn more about it, you’ll see that yoga is as much mental as it is physical, if not more. Unlike other forms of exercise there is a big emphasis put on involving your mind in the practice as well, not just day dreaming about what you’re going to eat as soon as you’re done exercising (although that still does happen sometimes…hopefully not just to me?). Once your able to really focus on your breath during your practice you’ll notice that your mind falls into a state of relaxation. The best type of yoga practices are when you are able to carry this feeling with you even when you’re off the mat.

Gaining Better Posture

A large part of yoga is about awareness of your body. Because you’ll be focused on making sure your alignments are right in the postures, after a few weeks you’ll probably see that awareness spilling out into your day to day life. Most of us spend a lot of time sitting now and that can really wreak havoc on our neck, shoulders, and spine if we’re not careful. I had horrible posture pre-yoga and I didn’t even realize it! Since yoga has not only taught me to pay attention to my entire body, but has shown me what my sitting up straight actually feels like, I am much quicker to notice if I am hunched, and thus much quicker to correct it.

More Energy, Better Sleep

This sounds like a complete oxymoron but I swear to you, it is true. A regular yoga practice gives your body a good feeling of energy during the day and helps your mind to quiet and fall asleep at night. It’s something that I don’t tend to notice until I fall out of a regular practice, but when I’m doing yoga I’m able to wake up earlier but never feel really tired during the day. I struggle with insomnia and yoga has been the best medicine I have found to get my mind to shut off at night and allow me to sleep. The way you move your body in yoga gives you that energy for the day but provides you with the tools to fall asleep at night.

A Sense of Accomplishment

Completing something that you are passionate about, or that you enjoy doing, gives you a sense of accomplishment that can be somewhat addicting. Okay — really addicting! Finally being able to hold a posture that had been difficult for you or feeling a twist deep in a part of your spine you hadn’t been able to reach before is such a wonderful feeling that will stick with you and fuel your practice. And it’ll show you that you really are making a difference in your body, even if you have those bad days when it doesn’t feel like it.

One of the best parts of yoga is that it is about your own practice, your own journey, and it can be different things to different people. What are some of your favorite reasons to practice yoga?

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7 Comments on “7 Reasons You Should Try Yoga This Year”

  1. aprilthomas81 January 20, 2015 at 11:57 am #

    Reblogged this on 81collective and commented:
    Are you as excited about all the new discoveries this year as I am? Why not try yoga? Jump start your health!

  2. aprilthomas81 January 20, 2015 at 11:57 am #

    Beautifully written! Have a blessed day! April

  3. julie January 21, 2015 at 4:48 pm #

    I try to do yoga as often as I can. I especially like it as a before-school-workout. :D

    • Meg Quinn January 22, 2015 at 10:43 am #

      I love doing yoga in the morning too, I feel like it sets my whole day up right. A before school workout is early though, more power to you!

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