This January, why not make your New Year’s resolution to hit the mat every day a whole lot more fun by doing your yoga practice with a friend? Get more out of your yoga practice AND spend quality time with your best buddies.
We all start the year with good intentions, determined to shift the holiday toxins and power into a fresh start. But then the reality of our busy lives, our laziness – or both – kicks in and those good intentions fall by the wayside.
This is where doing yoga with a friend can help. If you commit to practicing with a friend, even once a month, you create a buddy system that keeps you accountable, as well as giving you the motivation you need to keep your own practice going.
There’s another reason why we think you should pair up with a friend to do yoga this year. Building friendships result in an increased sense of well-being and is good, if not essential, for your mental health. Research has shown that building and maintaining long-lasting friendships leads to a happier and longer life. A study in Southern Australia showed that good friends extend your lifespan, possibly because friends can encourage healthier habits, such as giving up smoking or drinking and – here’s the relevant bit for us – encouraging us to do exercise, such as YOGA.
Friends also can help us cope with depression, grief, and fend off loneliness in old age, write the authors. Margaret Gibbs, PhD, professor emeritus at Fairleigh Dickinson University and a clinical psychologist, says, “There’s lots of research indicating that social support is important to health and happiness at any age”.
Combining the emotional and physical benefits of friendship with the well-being-enhancing yoga and meditation is a sure-fire shortcut to a brilliant year ahead. International, bestselling author Dr. John Douillard explains, “According to Ayurveda, meditation disarms this protective nervous system by increasing parasympathetic nervous system activity, which is the body’s repairing nervous system. This enhances self-awareness of the painful area on both a physical, mental and even emotional level. Once the body has become fully aware of the painful area as a problem, the body’s natural pharmacy can kick in and help resolve the pain.”
So, what are you waiting for? Make a date with a trusted yoga friend and share a restoring yoga practice, while relaxing safe in the knowledge that your New Year’s resolutions are in the bag.