April 12, 2011

Yoga and its many health benefits

I love my yoga class! I just came from it tonight and always feel amazing after. It's hard to motivate sometimes for an evening class, but I never regret going. People always say, "enjoy your yoga class and relax." It's anything but relaxing. It can be intense. It can be exhausting. The last five minutes of Shavasana are the only moments to truly pause and reflect. Now, this isn't every yoga class. There are many different styles of yoga and intensity levels (if you've ever tried Bikram yoga - hot, 105 degree hot - you know what I mean.) Classes will range from beginner to advanced. 

Why should you try yoga? You'll improve your flexibility. I never thought I'd be able to do half the things I can. Simple things like standing with my legs straight and touching the ground in front of my feet. To the more advanced poses, like inversions against a wall. The first time I tried one of these, my arm gave out and I collapsed to the floor. Ouch. Many yoga poses are weight bearing, which can help strengthen bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Your posture will improve as you strengthen your core. Pranayama breathing excercises help improve lung capacity and also stimulate the relaxation response, easing the everyday stress we carry around with us. Another tremendous benefit of yoga is pain prevention. Those aches and pains we all endure from time to time may be lessened or even eliminated. 

If you've ever considered yoga, now's the time to try. Why not? Find a good instructor. Ask your friends for recommendations. This is important - I've had several teachers who've been less than adequate and my practice suffered. A great teacher will help guide you, direct you on how to safely go into and out of a pose, adjust your positioning if necessary, and help motivate you in your practice. I'd be more than happy to recommend mine!

Namaste.

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