5 Realistic New Year’s Resolutions

We all make resolutions, all the time. (Not just on New Year’s.) Whether we realize it or not, we attempt to make small (or large) promises to ourselves that we think will make us better or improve our lives in some way. Maybe you told yourself last night to skip a second glass of wine. Or perhaps you’re thinking about cutting calories to lose a few holiday pounds in January.

Whatever promises they may be, you’re making them. We all are.

But this New Year’s, let’s all try to make kind resolutions. Kind to others, kind to ourselves, and kind to anyone who may be affected by them. Most importantly, let’s try to stick to resolutions that are for us, not for others.

Here are 5 resolutions that are not only kind, they’re realistic, and they’re worth some heavy consideration:

Prioritize Sleep

Many of us don’t do this. Instead, we prioritize our to-do list, which often means less sleep. Sleep is vital to our health, and when we don’t get enough, we suffer very obvious consequences: exhaustion, adrenal fatigue, weight gain, lessened productivity, poor eating habits, and general declined health.

Your to-do list will always be there; it evolves daily, and will never be completely done. So stop living for the list, and start living your life–a life that is often extended and happier when you get better quality sleep.

Actively Seek More Face Time

This suggestion is not to be confused with Facetime on your iPhone. We mean real face time—face-to-face interaction with other human beings without distraction. Communicate the old-fashioned way, and take note on any differences you notice. Text less; talk more. When you are conversing with someone, give them your full attention.

It’s been said that we only need 3 things to be truly happy: financial stability, the consistent feeling of being needed or depended upon, and good personal relationships. Oddly enough, it’s often the last point that most people overlook.

So don’t. Make 2016 the year for genuine interaction, and reap the emotional benefits that come with it.


Practice Being Still

You can do this by meditating for 5 minutes each day. 5 minutes might sound silly, but you know what? Not all of us can commit to even that. It’s too bad, because studies show that meditating for just 5 minutes every day can improve sleep and stress levels, provide clarity, and increase the amount of time you spend feeling thankful or having gratitude.

If you make this a routine just before bed, you will manually shut down your body and mind, and allow your thoughts to wander and rest. This sets the stage for a great night’s sleep, which you now know is so important.

Don’t Count Calories; Just Eat Well

Resist the urge to pull out the calculator or write down everything that makes its way into your mouth! Stop it. You don’t need to do that, if you just eat well. Here’s a trick: before eating (or drinking) anything, ask yourself one question:

“Will this nourish my body, and provide the right kind of energy for growth and repair?”

If the answer is yes, then eat it. If the answer is no, then don’t. It can be very simple—we just need to be conscious when choosing what to consume.

Eat consciously.


Mindfully Work on Your Yoga Practice

This last suggestion may sound like a plug for yoga, and it is. Yoga is good for your body and mind. It feeds your soul. It stretches your muscles and ligaments, and lubricates your joints. It forces you to breathe slowly and deeply, thereby taking more oxygen into your blood stream. Yoga encourages you to find love and peace within yourself, and contributes to self-love and appreciation. It’s kind and centering and often results in positive realizations and feelings of blissfulness.

So work on your yoga practice.  Even if you commit to 2-3 days a week, your life will improve as a direct result.

The Bottom Line

This new year, year 2016, resist the urge to make resolutions that may not be realistic or kind to yourself. “I’ll lose 10 pounds!” is neither of those things. Instead, commit to a healthier life, and greater happiness will follow. Let go of the rest.

We hope to see you here in January!

Happy Holidays, and Namaste. Love, PY.

Yoga for the Brain

Any yogi out there knows that yoga works to tone muscles—all muscles—even muscles you didn’t know you had. (Am I right, or am I right?!) BUT: yoga is also a brain toner. Although today’s society places enormous value on being physically fit, a happy and healthy life is about achieving and maintaining a solid degree of mental health, too.

You might not see it, but our brains need fitness!

Yoga is amazing for working on the state of our mental health, and for many reasons. These include the following:

The very nature of yoga is mentally calming.

Think about it: yoga is a slow practice, with many poses held for a minute or longer. You are encouraged to breathe, clear your mind, and to focus on yourself. There is often calming, meditative music accompanying the class, and no one is forced to do anything that might be outside of what might be realistic for their own body.

If you come to class with your mind racing, you can pretty much bet money that it will not be when you leave, not that we’re encouraging gambling.

Yoga for the Brain

Yoga incorporates physical poses with mental strength and stability.

Often while being talked through a specific pose, the instructor will ask students to clear their minds, focus on the pose, breathe through it, and to acknowledge then send away outside thoughts not pertaining to the moment.

This builds mental strength.

When you can recognize a random thought, and mentally be capable of pushing it away for the purpose of maintaining a clear and positive mind, that’s amazing! By practicing yoga, we learn how to control negative thoughts and how to create and seek positive ones.

Honestly, it’s like free therapy with a side of stretch.

It forces you to breathe, and take a minute.

For those of us who are a little (or a lot) type-A, we sometimes need to be told to chill. We value lists and productivity and usually forget to take time to just be.

Yoga helps with that!

Think of savasana. Unless you want to be busted getting up and leaving in the last 5-10 minutes of your class, you have no choice but to lie down, get comfortable, and zone out. And? It’s considered just as valuable, if not more, than the rest of the class was.


Many poses allow for increased blood circulation to the brain.

Poses such as forward fold, downward dog, wheel, and others inherently increase blood flow and therefore oxygen to the brain. By being in a position where your head is physically below your heart, your brain reaps the rewards of extra oxygen circulation.

I mean, if our brain was where our feet are, we’d probably all be geniuses and very mentally healthy. Yoga helps us switch it up every once in a while!

Here’s the bottom line: yoga is not just a physical practice—it’s a mental one, too. The more you attend yoga, the stronger you can become everywhere. We might be a little biased at Parallel Yoga, but we think yoga should be covered by our medical plans. Right?! (Maybe we should all lobby for this…)

Namaste. Go feed your brain some yoga!

3 Big Reasons You Should Take Care of Yourself First

Even writing this title made me initially feel kind of selfish, because somewhere along the line, we’ve been taught to take care of others first, and ourselves second. But lately, I’ve been learning that this is a recipe for disaster. Because as much as you might want to make sure every little thing  is perfect for everyone else, the fact is, it will never be close to great if you’re exhausted, resentful, and unrealistic about how much you can take on.

It’s exactly like you hear in every single airplane spiel you’re forced to endure before taking off: in the case of an emergency, put the oxygen mask on yourself first; help others around you second. Here are 3 reasons why practicing self-care is not only necessary, it’s critical:

burn out

If You Don’t, You’ll Burn Out

Sure, you may attend every PAC meeting out there, make homemade scones for breakfast every morning, and throw the best dinner parties on your block. But have you meditated lately? Or just sat and consciously breathed for a few minutes? Or attended a yoga class?

Running around and making everyone else’s life easy and breezy may be fun, and you might enjoy the praise, but you will burn out. Make sure to take the time to get proper rest, eat nutritious meals, and do a little soul searching once in a while.

If you don’t, you’ll feel it sooner or later.

Good Mental Health is the Foundation of a Good Life

No one can improve this but you—you need to make a specific, conscious decision to be mentally and emotionally healthy. Everyone strives for physical health, but what about mental health? Mental health is more important, because if you do encounter a physical health problem down the road, good mental health allows you to maintain a positive attitude and make good decisions for yourself.

To make sure you stay on the path to good mental health, practice it daily. Write in a journal every night. Be thankful. Show others that you’re grateful for their love and support. Attend yoga classes regularly, and do other forms of exercise, too.

Working out definitely lends to increased physical health, but even more important, it helps to strengthen your mind.

Earthy background and design element depicting the words "We are

You Teach Your Children and Partner to Respect Themselves

When other people see you make the consistent and conscious decision to take care of yourself first, they will naturally want to do the same. Show your family that meditation is a worthy practice. Cook great, healthy food and eat it regularly. Teach your children how to close their eyes and breathe in deeply to help calm themselves, or even just to feel better.

It’s so important that we practice what we preach around our families; it’s the only way to ensure that good self-care habits are routinely part of our family life. The last thing we want to do is teach our kids how to be stressed out or grow up needing to be viewed as perfect. So don’t! Instead, show the people around you (the ones you actually love and care about) that you value self-care.