Most girls can relate to wanting to burn a few stubborn pounds. But what if the extra weight you were carrying around wasn't just the softness around your hips -- but also a heaviness in your heart? Sure, you could SoulCycle your way to the toned body of your #fitspo fantasies, but you'd probably still be spinning your wheels when it came to repairing your spirit.
Last summer, I'd been trying to shake a certain melancholy feeling when I passed a sign that read "open happiness" and "30 days/$39." On a whim, I enrolled on the spot -- who could pass up joy for less than the cost of a monthly New York City MetroCard? Though it would be nearly two months before I was motivated enough to actually walk into a Bikram (hot) yoga class, when I did?
Well, everything changed -- inside and out. It's no surprise India successfully lobbied the United Nations to declare Sunday, June 21 the first-ever International Yoga Day. No matter the style or place you practice, yoga's like taking a Dyson vacuum to all of the trash we do to our mind and body -- from negative thoughts to binge-eating. Still not down for Downward Facing Dog? Let this list make you a believer.
You'll Save So Much On The Beauty Products You No Longer Buy (Yoga Glow Is Real)
Ever notice how Kate Hudson, who swears by hot yoga, is always beaming? That beatific smile probably has a lot to do with a practice that gets your blood circulating, helps expel toxins and turns your frown lines upside down. Do this if you don't mind getting constant compliments about your skin.
The Only Equipment You Need Is ... You
Unlike other workouts that require expensive tools, gear or complicated equipment, yoga is low-maintenance. A mat or towel (and room to stretch) is all you ever really need. For her 2014 New Year's resolution, famed instructor Hilaria Baldwin challenged herself to demonstrate a pose a day in everyday places. More proof that you don't need a pricey membership either to find Nirvana.
Your S.O. Will Probably Want To Join You
Hannah Bronfman and her DJ boyfriend Brendan Fallis prove that the couple that flows together stays together.
All Body Types Are Welcome
Rising yoga star Jessamyn Stanley (in pink) is larger-bodied and devoted to her practice, which she documents closely on her 'Gram. That feed has not only captured the attention of mainstream outlets like The Cut and People magazine, it's helping to change the perception that yoga is strictly for thin bodies in Lululemon pants.
Your Yoga Clothes Will Be So Cute You'll Want To Just Hang Out In Them
If Free People's tie-dye leggings don't make you want to Zen out in a field of fragrant flora, then yoga's probably just not for you. Kidding! Seriously though, the sheer range of stylish outfit options for boys and girls will have you racing to a Vinyasa session.
'Hip-Hop Yoga' Is A Thing That Exists
If you're in the New York City area, consider yourself #blessed because the Y-7 studio caters to rap heads who want dope beats and deep breathing. Themed classes have sampled everyone from Drake to A Tribe Called Quest.
It's Transformational Enough To Inspire A Pop Music Masterpiece
By the time Madonna released her seminal Ray of Light in 1998, she'd discovered yoga (among other spiritual traditions) and abandoned the hard-core exercise regimen of years past. And you can hear it on the William Orbit-produced collection that explores themes like non-attachment, meditation and the "power of goodbye." Journalist Ann Powers probably said it best though, calling the album the Material Girl's “mid-life enlightenment” record.
It'll Change The Way You Eat, Pray And Love -- And You Will Find Your Chill
Of all the ways I've challenged my body physically, nothing has ever compelled me to shift long-held habits the way yoga has. And because I hear the same from fellow yogis all of the time, I think there's something to it. It's not just that you suddenly crave the healthiest vegetarian foods as fuel, practicing yoga postures (asanas) will penetrate your very being. Studies have found it relieves depression and anxiety; it's also calming and makes you an all-around cooler person to be around. Like-minded people will find you.
Beyonce's Squad Swears By It
Bibi McGill is the definition of badass multi-hypenate (the Bey Hive knows her by her ferocious shredding and fierce 'fro). When she's not serving as lead touring guitarist and musical director for Queen Bey, she's teaching yoga and serving up her own line of organic kale chips.
International Yoga Day is being supported by more than 177 countries, with celebrations and events planned around the world. If unplugging from your screen today is not an option, "Om" along to renowned yoga teacher Wai Lana's "Namaste" while you scroll.