Any kind of yoga you undertake will move you closer toward your highest expression of self. But there’s something especially powerful about ashtanga yoga when it comes to discipline and accomplishing our goals.

The most distinguishing trademark of Ashtanga yoga – more precisely called Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga – is the connection of movement and breath. In a perfect practice, each inhalation or exhalation coincides with one fluid movement, which all connect seamlessly to one another in an uninterrupted flow. However, even the most rudimentary practice will help you tap into the great sense of focus ashtanga creates.

As we move into the new year, here for your consideration are a few of the ways a dedicated ashtanga practice will help you stick to your 2017 resolutions.

Eliminating distractions.

In yoga, the mindfulness aspect is always about returning to your breath when you feel your mind start to wander.

No kind of yoga drives this point home more than ashtanga yoga, and the heightened focus on the breath helps enforce one’s “muscle memory,” so to speak, when it comes to life off the mat

What that means in practice: Pretty soon, you won’t have to think twice about training your mind back to your breath when Facebook threatens to derail your writing progress.

It helps develop your ability to mind the details.

Aside from breath, there’s a big focus on connectivity in ashtanga yoga that brings your attention to the finer details of your movements.

Professional dancers learn early on that without connectivity, they’re just stringing unrelated poses together. In yoga, moving smoothly from one asana to the next is akin to dancing (versus achieving a sequence of positions).

When you’re present in the flow between all of your movements, you’re showing your mind what it’s like to be present all the way through the mastery of all your goals.

It serves to purify the body.

Ever notice how much more you sweat when you’re really in the zone?

That’s because the combination of breath and movement increases your body heat, which in turn boosts your sweat function.

And we all know what sweating’s for.

With all of that amped-up detoxification and circulation happening, you’ll walk away feeling lighter, sharper and more energised — the kind of mental state that leads to personal progress.

It helps you associate discipline with a sense of wellbeing.

Perhaps one of the reasons why you’ve floundered with your past resolutions is that they seemed like too much work.

Too many of us associate “discipline” with counting calories or push-ups in an unpleasant gym environment. In yoga, “discipline” takes work, too, but with special care paid to body awareness, connectivity, and the developing of a greater sense of Self. You will grow ever more aware and sensitive to your bodies needs i.e. the choosing of the right kind and amounts of food to consume will become much more natural and effortless. You simply will get a sense for, and crave for what is good for you.

As opposed to a usual ‘workout’, a yoga practice has a beginning, middle and an end, which will mindfully guide you through a process of becoming more and more aware of the present moment. This in return makes the yoga practie enjoyable. There is no boredom, but consistent focus, engagement and a wonderful feeling of elation, joy and balance, at the end of each session.

In ashtanga yoga, staying regular with your practice is especially encouraged. Pretty soon, you’ll begin to associate “discipline” with the sense of utter relaxation and ease you achieve during savasana.