Yoga could be your secret weapon to actually accomplishing your New Year's resolutions. I looked up the most common resolutions for teens, and most of them fell under these three categories: Get fit, get smart and get happy.
Sure, one could spend hours on an elliptical, teach themselves a foreign language on the side and volunteer at an animal shelter to accomplish all of these goals. But let's be real: None of us have time for all of that that among the history tests, lab reports and general melodrama occupying our lives. We need a one-stop solution to all of our issues. My solution? Yoga. Yoga is not simply low-intensity exercise for mothers and middle-aged women. Yoga is multitasking at it's finest. Let me elaborate.
Yoga is going to help you get fit. There's no denying that yoga is awesome exercise. I think that thanks to yoga, I've gotten stronger in the most painless way possible. The thought of going to the gym and work each muscle separately on some metal contraption makes me want to hide from the world in my bed and eat cookies under the covers.
With yoga, I can work all of those muscles simultaneously, while also getting cardio exercise and relaxation. I like running, but it can get a bit tedious. Yoga never gets boring and I can customize it to how I'm feeling that day. If I want to work really hard and get strong -- I can do a flow full of utkatasana (yoga chair pose -- kind of like a squat), paripurna navasana (a super-charged squat) and chaturanga dandasana (basically a really prolonged pushup/plank). If I want to work up a sweat and detox, I can go to hot yoga. If I don't want to do any physical activity at all I can just hang out in pigeon pose (it's better than nothing).
More importantly, yoga changes your mind as well as your body. Yoga teaches mindfulness and appreciation for everything that the body can do. The yoga philosophy also promotes respect for animals and the environment. Since I started yoga, I try to be "vegan before dinnertime," which basically means that I don't eat any meat or dairy during the day, and then eat whatever I want at night. After making yoga a part of your routine, you'll be much less likely to spend money at the vending machine on Hot Cheetos.
Yoga is going to help you succeed in school. In yoga, I've learned how to take control of my breath. You're probably thinking -- what kind of B.S. is that? I am a procrastinator. I get tired and distracted... and suddenly find myself taking personality quizzes on Buzzfeed for hours on end.
Yoga has helped me with my procrastination problem. Doing a few sun salutations and breathing exercises can sometimes get me back on track. Sometimes, I get stressed about studying. I'm all "I don't even have time to wash my hair, let alone exercise." A few sun salutations later, the stress has simmered down, and I've only used up five minutes of study time. I've noticed that ever since I've implemented these techniques in my schoolwork, I've had less catastrophic "it's 1 a.m. and I'm still on paragraph two of my paper on Paul Revere and it's due tomorrow morning" moments. It all sounds like hocus-pocus until you try it.
Yoga is going to make you happier, better person. One of the yamas of yoga is ahimsa, or non-harming to oneself or others. If you get caught up in a bunch of drama, if you failed a biology test or the "haters are getting you down" -- instead of starting a rumor, giving up on school or doing something idiotic, you can let go of all of your negative feelings through yoga. Also, if someone that you care about is having a tough time, let's say your friend just got dumped, you can send her positive energy through meditation. It sounds stupid, but I think that the act of focusing really hard and thinking kind thoughts can help you actually find a concrete way to help those around you.
Yoga is going to make you feel better, get good second semester grades and help you manage your anger, so why not give yoga a try in 2014?
Read more on my blog: cannella-vita.blogspot.com.