While yoga is not necessarily exercise, it is a practice that, like exercise regimens, can be easily taken up or abandoned. New research on exercise can help us get on the mat and keep coming back. The new secret is immediate gratification!
In a recent New York Times article entitled Rethinking Exercise as a Source of Immediate Rewards, Jane Brody tells us that “People whose goals are weight loss and better health tend to spend the least amount of time exercising. That is true even for older adults, a study of 335 men and women ages 60 to 95 showed…Rather, immediate rewards that enhance daily life — more energy, a better mood, less stress and more opportunity to connect with friends and family — offer far more motivation…” (you can read the whole article here)
Establishing a long-term regular practice (of almost anything) can feel like it takes forever, but immediate gratification is wonderful right now! I just stepped away from my desk and did a surya namaskara and I cannot recommend it highly enough! I felt gratified – immediately. The practices of yoga, meditation, and pranayama can certainly be immediately gratifying. Immediate gratification happens in the present moment, which is the central focus of yoga. Jane Brody and Dr. Segar, the psychologist she interviewed for the NYT article, might be on to something.
As we prepare for our 21-Day Happiness Challenge, which will require the acquisition of five simple habits that can bring immediate rewards that enhance daily life (read the more about it here; join us for 21 days here on Facebook), some exploration of immediate gratification is warranted.

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