New Year, New You—with Yoga

By Kassandra Reinhardt
January 4, 2023

Start the New Year by experiencing the life-changing benefits of yoga!

The New Year is a wonderful time to begin new habits. If you’ve wanted to make yoga a part of your wellness routine, let me reassure you that it doesn’t need to be overly strenuous, lengthy, or complicated to be effective.

In fact, one of the best ways to not only start but also maintain a new routine is by setting realistic goals. Perhaps that means committing to 10 minutes of yoga poses to begin your day, or a short meditation each night to end it. Whatever you choose, it needs to suit your lifestyle and feel meaningful to your life.

Ideally, your yoga practice will become something you crave and look forward to rather than a burden or a chore.

Look at yoga as an opportunity to care for your physical, mental, and emotional health. When we view our yoga mat as a space for self-care and personal growth, our motivation grows. Like brushing your teeth, taking time to flow through some poses can become a seamless part of your hygiene routine.

Here are three yoga poses you can incorporate into your life to help tap into all three facets of your health, ensuring your practice is a holistic and caring one.

Warrior 3
Yoga for your physical health: Warrior 3 — Virabhadrasana III

This asymmetric balancing pose fires up your muscles and brings you in tune with your body.

To begin, lean on your right leg. Tilt forward and lift your left leg back behind you.

Pull your lower belly in to protect your lower back until you are parallel to the ground.

Bring your hands to your heart and hold for 10 breaths.

Repeat on the other side.

As you practice this Warrior pose, let it remind you of your body’s strength and power. This is a pose to cultivate endurance and increase your balance. It is proof you can do hard things.

Supported Bridge Variation
Yoga for your mental health: Supported Bridge Variation — Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

When life gets too stressful, a gentle inversion can calm an overactive mind and bring you back to a state of calm. This supported bridge variation elevates your hips over your heart and adds a gentle thigh stretch.

To begin, bend your knees and place your feet flat to the floor, close to your seat.

Slide a yoga block under your hips at the level of your choosing.

Pull your right knee into your chest as you extend your left leg straight.

Hold for 10 breaths.

Repeat on the second side.

Use this pose as an opportunity to care for your mental health. Allow yourself to do less and let go. Sometimes what we need most is permission to slow down.

Pigeon pose
Yoga for your emotional health: Pigeon Pose — Ardha Kapotasana

Releasing physical tension from our bodies releases mental and emotional tension as well.

Doing hip-opening poses like Pigeon increases your flexibility and gives your space to check in with your feelings. A popular saying in yoga is “emotions are stored in the hips.” Gently stretching this area cares for your emotional health.

To begin, start from your hands and knees. Bring your right knee behind your right wrist.

Lower your left knee to the mat and level your hips to avoid tilting to one side.

Place a yoga block under your seat for more support.

Choose to stay lifted or fold forward over your right shin.

Hold for 10 breaths.

Repeat on the second side.

Allow any emotions that arise during thise pose to flow freely through you without judgment. Let your yoga mat be a safe space for processing your feelings.

All yoga poses have the power to tap into physical, mental, and emotional health. It is all interwoven and connected as a holistic practice.

Have fun incorporating these poses into your new habits this year and remember: All new habits begin by taking that first step.

Let go of the pressure. Play around and explore!

Happy flowing.

***All photos ©Kassandra Reinhardt, 2022 and © Jessica Hodgson, 2022. 

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