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Wellness in 2020: How to Achieve Your Ultimate Wellbeing Goals with Yoga [Useful Tips]

by Maryna Lus

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While some yogis believe that setting New Year’s resolutions might not completely be in accordance with a yogic lifestyle, chances are you’ve given some thought to your goals for 2020. After all, the start of the year seems to be an ideal time for self-reflection and planning.

According to multiple studies, an unfortunate 80% of our yearly commitments start to crumble by the first week of February.


Are you on track with your wellbeing plans for this year? Even if that’s not the case, the good news is that you still have 11 months ahead of you, and now it is as good time as any to get back on track. Thankfully, yoga can help you achieve exactly what you’ve been dreaming of.

In this article, we’re sharing how to succeed with your wellness goals throughout the year along with the list of asanas that will help you to accomplish them. Read on and by this time next year, you might just be surprised to see how far you’ve come!

Eating healthier

fruit and vegetables on the table

 

The key to healthy eating is to do it reasonably and sustainably. Many diets fail because they are based on extreme measures such as restricting quantities of foods you consume or excluding entire whole food groups, which might lead to eating disorders and various health issues. What’s more, studies show that two-thirds of weight lost during restrictive dieting is regained within a year.

Instead of putting your body through unnecessary dieting stress, it’s recommended to eat more whole foods. Don’t focus on what not to eat and instead incorporate fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, whole grains and fish into your favorite meals.

Not a veggie fan? Start small and eat one vegetable per day. A good idea is to also experiment with adding spices and herbs to your dishes. For instance, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger and garlic will enrich your dish with amazing flavors while benefiting you with their great anti-inflammatory properties.

Are you too busy to cook healthy meals from scratch during the week? Prepping your meals over the weekend is a great solution that will give you more control over the content of your meals avoiding unnecessary additives, enhancers and extra calories (along with saving money on eating out).

Are your weekends also busy? Try prepping some healthy snacks such as carrot and celery slices, berries or nuts that will enhance your daily vitamin intake and help you avoid unhealthy snacking options. Make sure you have some hummus or peanut butter that is handy to dip the veggies in!

Tip: A very quick and simple way to check a lot of health and wellness boxes is to drink some warm water with lemon every morning. It will keep your skin radiant and give your immune system a boost. Additionally, you can make it a habit to drink a cup of green tea with a slice of lemon daily. Green tea is loaded with antioxidants that detoxify your body and speed up your metabolism along with many other benefits.

Asanas recommended for enhancing your digestion:

  • Wind-Relieving pose (Pawanmuktasana)
  • Bridge pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
  • Supine Twist pose (Supta Matsyendrasana)
  • Forward Fold pose (Uttanasana)
  • Extended Puppy pose (Uttana Shishosana)
  • Half Lord of the Fishes pose (Ardha Matsyendrāsana)

Exercising more

man running in the city

 

For most people, this goal is one of the toughest to achieve. The secret to success is to integrate some exercise into your daily life similar to any other habit such as brushing your teeth. It might just help to start with simpler activities like parking your car farther from the store entrance and carrying your shopping, taking the stairs, getting a dog, or doing sit-ups whenever you have a free moment.

Once you get used to being more active on a daily basis, you might genuinely feel like starting a regular exercise practice with physical activity of your choosing. From the gym to dancing classes, your options are endless!

Tip: To reinforce your motivation, you might consider committing to a bigger fitness-related event in advance such as signing up for a race or booking a yoga and hiking retreat. Once you’ve committed to the challenge, you will be more likely to work harder to get ready for it.

Your power asanas to sweat:

  • Plank pose (Phalakasana)
  • Chair pose (Utkatasana)
  • Three-Legged Downward-Facing Dog pose (Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana)
  • Locust pose (Salabhasana)
  • Half Moon pose (Half Moon Pose)
  • Boat pose (Navasana)
  • Camel pose (Ustrasana)

Sleeping better

person waking up

 

With all the benefits of good sleep, it’s no wonder that this goal is high on our list. Sleep is when our bodies and brain repair and recharge. Without good rest, it’s almost impossible for us to function properly which results in low energy levels rendering other wellbeing activities unsuccessful.

On top of that, studies show that lack of sleep can interfere with appetite-regulating hormones leading to poor food choices. Last but not least, the increased levels of stress hormone caused by sleep deprivation are often linked to weight gain and heart disease. To get quality sleep, try going to bed at regular hours and aim at eight to nine hours of undisturbed sleep.

Asanas that will help you sleep like a baby:

  • Cat and Cow pose (Marjariasana and Bitilasana)
  • Child’s pose (Balasana)
  • Legs-Up-the-Wall pose (Viparita Karani)
  • Happy Baby pose (Ananda Balasana)
  • Reclining Bound Angle pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
  • Corpse pose (Shavasana)

Spending more time outside

woman standing in the park with a cup of coffee

 

It’s no secret that spending more time outdoors can significantly improve your health, mood and make you feel more energetic and creative. Taking even a short 10-minute walk is a great stress reliever.

The best thing about this goal is that no matter where you live, you can add more quality time outside to your daily life. You might consider taking a walk during your lunch break or not using a car if the distance is less than 0.5 miles (800 meters).

Another idea is to drink your morning tea or coffee in your backyard or balcony or have it in the park before you enter your workplace. You might also try to spend as much of your weekends in nature as you can. For example, you can take some hiking or camping trips with friends or family or simply take a meditative walk.

Have you heard of ‘forest bathing’? This Japanese practice is based on being in nature and savoring the sounds, smells, sights and texture of the forest. Take an hour-long walk and notice the colors of leaves and sunbeams filtering through branches. Listen to the birds and the rustle of trees. Smell the fresh air filled with earthy fragrance and refreshing pine scent. Touch the trunks, branches and leaves, sit on the ground and feel the texture of the moss. Forget about all the problems and let the calm and joy take over as you have become one with nature – doesn’t this sound wonderful?

Asanas you can practice in nature:

  • Mountain pose (Tadasana)
  • Tree pose (Vriksasana)
  • Low Lunge pose (Anjaneyasana)
  • Warrior III pose (Virabhadrasana III)
  • Eagle pose (Garudasana)
  • Child’s pose (Balasana)
  • Half Lord of the Fishes pose (Ardha Matsyendrāsana)

Indulging in self-care

woman in bathtub

 

While it’s often considered time-consuming, you can start dedicating more time to self-care by taking short breaks during the day. For example, you can take a longer bath instead of a quick shower, or take a break from the computer and phone to enjoy your tea or coffee without a rush.

Consider blocking 15 minutes in your schedule to read a chapter of your favorite book or to cook your favorite dish. On weekends, you might want to grant yourself an extra hour of sleep and start your day with a short walk. Soon, you will notice that doing these small things will give you more energy to accomplish all the other tasks.

Although such small self-care rituals can get you going on a daily basis, don’t forget to take a longer break to fully relax and recharge your batteries.

Are you not able to take a longer leave? Consider planning an extended, three-day weekend break every now and then. Taking just one additional day off on Friday or Monday can make a huge difference, especially if you often feel like weekends are too short for you to get rested.

This might also be a great chance to go on a short yoga and wellness retreat where you’ll be able to focus on your practice and indulge in some pampering in your dream destination.

Asanas for relaxation:

  • Child’s pose (Balasana)
  • Legs-Up-the-Wall pose (Viparita Karani)
  • Crocodile pose (Makarasana)
  • Bound Angle pose (Baddha Koṇāsana)
  • Supine Pigeon pose (Supta Kapotāsana)
  • Easy pose (Sukhasana)
  • Corpse pose (Shavasana)

Detox

a cup of water with ginger and lemon

 

Detoxing has recently become a popular activity for those aspiring to a healthier lifestyle.

It’s recommended to get started with a three-day detox cleansing once in three-four months.

The detox routine consists of eliminating caffeine, sugar, alcohol, wheat, animal products, processed food and dairy and substituting them with fresh fruit and vegetables, juices, smoothies and water. Afterward, you will feel more energetic, sleep better, have clearer thoughts, better skin, less bloating, stomachaches and fewer infections and inflammations.

Remember to go easy on your body during cleansing. Your liver will work hard to remove all the toxins, so don’t put it under additional stress. Preserve your energy and avoid heavy weight lifting, intense fitness routines and running.

Asanas to practice during detox:

  • Chair Twist pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana)
  • Forward Fold with Belly Massage (Uttanasana)
  • Sphinx pose (Salamba Bhujangasana)
  • Wide-legged Forward Fold with Twist (Parivrtta Prasarita Padottanasana)
  • Legs-Up-the-Wall pose (Viparita Karani)
  • Plow with Twist pose (Parsva Halasana)
  • Supine Twist pose (Supta Matsyendrasana)

Tip: The best time for detox cleansing is summertime when fresh organic fruit and vegetables are in abundance, and our appetite is smaller than in winter months. Hot weather also causes more sweating which supports the process of removing toxins. 

Traveling more

person sitting over the table with map on it

 

With wellness travel growing in popularity each year, more and more people dream to go on a wellness retreat. After all, taking some time off, changing the environment, de-stressing and recharging batteries is the best thing you can do for your body and mind.

Did you know that according to several studies even the very process of planning and anticipating a trip has been proven to enhance our happiness levels significantly? When booking a yoga and spa retreat, you might just boost your happiness instantly while counting days towards your relaxing vacation.     

Asanas that you can practice while traveling:

  • Warrior I pose (Virabhadrasana I)
  • Garland pose (Mālāsana)
  • Wide-Legged Forward Bend pose (Prasarita Padottanasana)
  • Bound Angle pose (Baddha Koṇāsana)
  • Sleeping Pigeon pose (Utthita Eka Pada Kapotasana)
  • Standing Forward Bend pose (Uttanasana)

How to make your wellness goals achievable

woman in sportive outfit lying on the grass

The reason why most of the resolutions fail is because the motivation behind them is extrinsic rather than intrinsic. Without internal motivation, as soon as the “healthy January” has passed, our resolutions fade as well.

The following tips may help you to achieve all your goals and create new healthy habits.

- Make your goals specific. Often it’s not the lack of motivation or time that makes us fail but the lack of clarity. It’s recommended to make your goals more precise and have a clear idea of how to fulfill them.

So instead of planning to eat better or lose some pounds, resolve to eat a piece of fruit or vegetable every day, or limit fast food to once a week. This way, you’ll have more clarity about what exactly you need to do to accomplish your objectives.

- Start with small changes. Have you decided to work out for an hour a day five days a week but previously you’ve exercised less than an hour a month?

Such an ambitious goal might seem like a good idea, but chances are that such unrealistic expectations will discourage you, especially in the beginning. As mentioned, small steps pave the way to long-lasting habits, so setting more achievable goals might be a better idea. 

- Do what feels rewarding to you. Research shows that doing something that brings positive emotional response increases your chances to stick with it.

In other words, positive emotions drive our lifestyle habits. In terms of your wellness goals, try to achieve them in a way that will be pleasant to you. Do you want to start meditating but sitting still gives you leg cramps and your monkey mind is more active than ever? Try music meditation in a comfortable chair or a meditative walk in the park.

- Write your goals down. Keeping track of your progress allows you to optimize the path to achieving your goals. Schedule your wellness activities in a calendar for at least a month ahead. Cross out the accomplished ones and circle the ones you’ve missed.

Have you planned to join a yoga class after work but you’ve skipped most of them because you couldn’t get there on time due to traffic? Analyze and make changes in your schedule to fit your new habits into your current life routine. Maybe there’s a class available over the weekend or a different studio closer to home that offers classes at a more suitable time.

- Use a buddy system. Our habits are largely influenced by our social lives. For example, quitting smoking is more effective if you have the support of your family, friends and colleagues. Did you know that if your closest friend has gained weight, the risk that you will gain some pounds too increases by 171%?

Since humans are highly social creatures, it’s recommended to find a person who shares similar wellness goals and commit to holding each other accountable. Exercise together, meet up to cook healthy meals and challenge each other to keep achieving your micro-resolutions. In yoga philosophy, it is called Satsang roughly translated as ‘keeping good company’.   

Tip: Add in some fun resolutions to your list like re-watching your favorite series, joining a local book club, or building a birdhouse with your child, so your list will feel less tedious and more enjoyable. 

Conclusion

person holding yoga mat and smoothie

 

Long-lasting healthy lifestyle changes are created by following many tiny steps throughout the year. No matter where you live and how busy you are, you can incorporate these small changes into your daily life to get closer to your wellness goals each day. Because taking care of yourself is the best investment of your time.  


Would you like to go on a relaxing and revitalizing vacation? Book a restorative yoga retreat and recharge your batteries in your dream destination.

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