If you resolved to build healthy habits in 2024, you may still be looking for places to start. Healthy habits are more likely to stick if you start with one new choice at a time. Once you’ve started a habit, this new routine can lead to even more healthy choices. That’s why many people begin with a yoga practice. From building flexibility to practicing mindfulness, here are just a few ways that you can use yoga as a doorway to better health. 

Preventing Injury by Building Flexibility 

“Health” is a broad term, but when you start new habits, it’s best to focus on specific goals. Why not begin with increasing your flexibility? Increased flexibility can decrease your overall risk of injuries while broadening your access to other healthy habits. For example, maybe you’ve always wanted to try certain strength-building exercises, but haven’t had the range of motion to do so. By practicing yoga on a regular basis, you can gain the flexibility you need. 

Improving Your Mental Health with Mindfulness 

Yoga emphasizes mindfulness, which means awareness of being in the moment. When practicing mindfulness, you’re aware of your surroundings and senses. During enjoyable moments, mindfulness can help you make the most of your experiences. During difficult moments, it can help you accept rather than repress difficult emotions and acknowledge that the moment will pass. 

Mindfulness is a great tool for overall health, but many people use it to help with specific situations or conditions. For instance, somebody dealing with addiction may try practicing mindfulness in recovery to reduce relapse triggers. 

Building a Snowball of Healthy Habits 

Imagine a snowball at the top of a hill. As it rolls down the hill, it picks up more and more snow. By the time it reaches the bottom, it’s much bigger than it was at the top. Your healthy habits can work the same way, building over time. Yoga can help you get started. 

For instance, you might start a yoga practice to gain flexibility. However, as you go deeper into your practice, you may explore other aspects of the yoga lifestyle, such as eating healthy foods and prioritizing your spiritual or mental health. 

Moving at Your Own Pace 

Yoga can also promote healthy habits by letting you move at your own pace. When a lot of people think of yoga, they picture complicated poses, but the truth is that anyone can start a yoga practice. 

Beginners can start with simple poses. People with limited mobility can modify poses to fit their needs, including practicing chair yoga. Those with very busy schedules can take bite-sized lessons at home. 

Yoga doesn’t have to be intimidating. No matter where you start, yoga can open up a world of possibilities. Your new healthy habits can improve your wellness and change your life. 

Theresa Conlon

Theresa is a Yoga Alliance certified instructor (200-hour RYT) who has been teaching since 2013. She is skilled in various yoga styles including Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow, Restorative, and Meditation. Theresa also brings an extensive dance background to her yoga practice, which includes teaching both modern dance and ballet. She has over 40 years of dance/theater performing experience and currently showcases her choreography as part of Bergen Dance Makers, a dance collective in northern New Jersey. Theresa’s yoga classes offer a calming mix of traditional asana postures and creative movement flows, supported by energy-moving breath. Students of all skill levels are invited to find ease and peace in their bodies/minds/spirits through the joyful bliss of yoga movement.

Carrie Parker Gastelu

Carrie Parker Gastelu, E-500 RYT, has been teaching yoga since 1993. Carrie began her journey when Yogi Raj Mani Finger initiated Carrie into the ISHTA Yoga lineage after training with Mani’s son, Yogi Raj Alan Finger. In addition, she has studied many other yoga traditions as well as anatomy, physiology, movement, and awareness practices to create an eclectic style all her own. She is known for her honest, non-dogmatic yet passionate approach.

Carrie is a regular speaker and contributor at conferences, websites, and print publications and has been featured in Fit Magazine, the Yoga Zone Book, and in the Yoga Zone Video, “Flexibility and Stress Release.”

Lisa Podesta-Coombs

When Lisa found yoga in 2008, she started to find herself again and it set her on a path of health and healing. She received her 200HR RYT certification from Raji Thron of Yoga Synthesis, and her 30HR Chakra Yoga Teacher Training certificate with Anodea Judith and holds a Y12SR (Yoga of 12 Step Recovery) certification. She is also a Holistic Health Coach (certified through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition). Lisa believes we’re all on a journey of learning how to trust ourselves; she helps her clients build that trust by supporting them in creating better habits for a better life through various functional movement modalities like yoga, barre, Pilates & strength training, mindset, and whole food nutrition.

Forever a student with a passion for people, holistic health, and self-actualization, Lisa is always embracing opportunities to advance her education to better serve; Ayurveda workshops & immersions have been of particular interest as she continues to deepen her knowledge of and experience with food as medicine and she recently completed Unleash Her Power Within, a transformational program of rediscovering our truest selves, powered by Tony Robbins.  

As she continues to give herself space and grace to nourish her natural self and actualize her potential, Lisa continues to share the gift of movement as medicine to inspire authenticity & health in body, mind, and spirit. You can expect mindful, accessible, dynamic, playful, and uplifting classes from Lisa.

Tanisha Sutton

Tanisha’s yoga journey began when she was an undergraduate student studying at university. Changes in her health coupled with anxiety over grades, relationships, and life in general, forced her to search for healthy lifestyle choices she could implement to help manage the stress that she was experiencing as a new adult. A friend of hers suggested that she attend some community yoga classes to help with the anxiety and increase her daily physical activity. Initially, she was reluctant and filled with all these false ideas about yoga and the people who practiced yoga. Like many others, she was concerned that her body type and lack of flexibility automatically excluded her from being a student. Curiously yet hesitantly, she journeyed on to her first class and began laying the foundation for a home and public practice that has supported her over the years.

On this journey, she has discovered that yoga has nothing to do with appearances nor is there anything, but an open mind needed to begin. She intends to provide you with a gentle yoga session that is safe, inclusive, and accessible. Her classes are an expression of self-love and are a deliberate choice to tend to ALL the parts of our being that are neglected, ignored, or disregarded during the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Through meditation, deep breathing, and gentle movement we will collectively share space to observe, rest and re-set. Tanisha is honored to share her practice with you and looks forward to seeing you on the mat!