Willpower.

This word reminds me to resist eating too many sweets.

But what does it have to do with yoga?

Researchers have found that simple repetitive healthy habits have an overall positive effect on our whole lives. If we are able to change one habit at a time the willpower to change other unhealthy habits will increase.

Willpower is like a muscle. With decreased use it gets weaker as well as stronger when exercised.

Many times, when talking about signing up for a session of yoga classes, people respond: “After I learn the postures I will not sign up for another session.” I think taking one’s yoga practice home is a great idea. But the key with yoga practice at home is commitment and regular practice. If you are not committed to practicing at the same day and time each week, you will not reap the benefits.

The simple act of signing up for a class gets you started on the right path: strengthening your willpower as well as benefiting from a strong and supple body.

Roy Baumeister is a psychologist who conducted a famous marshmallow tests at Stanford University 40 years ago, involving 300 four and five-year-olds. The children were given a choice: they could eat one marshmellow right away or two marshmellows in 15 minutes.  Then they were left alone.

While being observed, only about 1/3 of the group could wait the 15 minutes. And when other parts of their lives were studied, these are the children who managed to do better in school, went on to college, and had healthier habits.

Since that test, many others have been conducted and whether it’s changing from a couch potato to a gym regular, or managing your money down to the penny through a course, as soon as one habit is changed and willpower within your life exerted, other parts of your life change. The people that became more meticulous with money and went to the gym more were prone to healthy eating habits, decreased alcohol and tobacco consumption and were happier.

So…won’t you join us in class?

 

I learned all this valuable material reading The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I highly recommend it to create change personally and at work!