Yoga Over 45

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Yoga over 45: Our mission!

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Have you made any new year resolutions this year?

Some research shows around 40% of us make New Year resolutions, but only 8% of is actually succeed in achieving them. Most of us have  given up before the end of January - and only a tiny minority will actually make lasting changes which transform our lives for the better.

Psychologists suggest a number of reasons for this, including we create too many resolutions; we make the goals so big we almost feel doomed before we even start or we’re not specific enough about what we’re after (“To get fit,” for example, is NOT a good goal: it’s too vague and there’s no way of measuring it.)

If you've ever set yourself a New Year resolution and given up before the end of January you're not alone!

Whatever the goals you set yourself one thing's for sure: it requires changing the way you do things so you get different results.It requires changing "unhelpful" habits; whether that's eating the wrong things; not exercising enough; procrastinating; watching too much TV.....the list goes on!

Achieving new goals requires changing our habitual behaviour for something which will result in the outcome we want. It's ALL about habits.

So, if you want to lose weight - you'll need some new eating and exercise habits. If you want to change your job, you'll need to get out of that rut and make some changes - to your skill set and your job hunting approach. If you want to get more productive stuff done, you might need to watch less television.

And when it comes to habits, there's a school of thought amongst some psychologists that there are some habits which are more important than others! Habits which, whilst seemingly small and even insignificant, over time produce results far outweighing the effort you made to establish that habit.

Charles Duhigg, in his book "The power of habit", encourages us to focus on changing habits which could make the biggest difference to your life; habits which literally spill over into other areas of your life, improving them too.

How cool is that?!

These habits are what Duhigg calls "KEYSTONE HABITS".

The idea is to focus on just one of these "keystone habits" for a period of 3 to 6 weeks (researchers differ about how long they think it takes to make a new behaviour a habit - but often the theory suggests consistently doing something for between 21 and 60 days will help you ingrain that behaviour until it becomes automatic - and THAT'S when the magic happens! Because then, it doesn't require discipline any more, it's just the way you are.

So literally, you can wake up one morning and realise you have changed your whole life -
simply by changing one habit!

I've found this phenomenon has worked for me with yoga.

There are few days when I don't practise - some days it's only a few minutes breathing; abdominal lifts and a couple of sun salutations taking 5 minutes - others it's well over an hour. On average it's around  30 to 40 minutes a day. 

That's NOT discipline. Not any more. It's  simply a habit - but one which helps me:

  • Control my weight
  • Reduce anxiety or stress when life throws curved balls or becomes overwhelmingly challenging.
    (And SO much better than reaching for the bottle, comfort food or a cigarette)
  • Keep physically flexible and strong
  • Bounce back more quickly after setbacks
  • Stick at things for longer.
  • Feel more comfortable and confident to step out of my comfort zone and try new things.
  • Be more patient when faced with frustration.
  • Be more appreciative and grateful for everything I have -  and for the simple things in life.

There's probably more I can trace back to this simple habit - but that's not a bad list is it? All this for a few minutes yoga practice on a regular basis.

So at the start of this new year, try making a commitment to practise yoga at least twice a week for 15 minutes and keep this up for 30 days - 60 if you're really serious about making a tangible difference to how you feel. 

You've nothing to lose - and masses to gain. Coming to a class once a week will help - but the real benefits will come when you incorporate yoga into a regular, personal routine.

In the next blog post I'll give you some suggestions about how to make this an easier process for you.

And for those of  you who are members, if you can't remember the poses, they're all in the online library you have access to with your membership - so you've no excuse!

I wish all of you, my students and my readers a happy and healthy and New Year.


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Shona Garner

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