People on foam mats stretching their backs practicing yoga

Yoga is a unique physical exercise recognized by the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine for its ability to relieve chronic pain and alter the anatomy of the brain. More than 15 million people in the U.S. alone practice yoga either at home or in group sessions. Its low impact and non-aerobic movements make it a safe exercise and alternative therapy for most people. Though many practice it strictly as a form of physical exercise, yoga is actually a combination of exercise, posture, controlled breathing and meditation.

Did you know…

that yoga is an ancient practice with a background tied to many different cultures? For thousands of years, people have been engaging in yoga for the mind and health benefits it offers. Although its origins are believed to be rooted in India, yoga is embraced by countless people all over the world still today. Many practice yoga for its spiritual benefits, but most Westerners and people practice it because of its many health advantages, such as the ability to improve flexibility, lower blood pressure, and tone muscles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Could I benefit from incorporating yoga into my life?

Many people who regularly practice yoga report better mental focus, improved sleep, lower stress, healthier joints, less pain, and better overall physical health. However, you should speak with your health care provider before beginning any new exercise to ensure you are healthy enough for physical activity. If you are pregnant or have a pre-existing medical condition, your doctor may recommend certain posture modifications to prevent injury.

What should I expect during a yoga session?

Yoga is usually performed on mats, which may or may not be provided in your class. You’ll work through multiple poses, taking the time to pause with each one. Your instructor may encourage you to practice controlled breathing during each pose and transition.

Is there anything I should know before starting yoga?

All types of yoga are physically challenging. As a beginner, you may have trouble completing each pose. If possible, learn to perform each yoga pose with an experienced instructor who can ensure you are performing your postures and breathing correctively. Not only does this guarantee a more complete and effective work out, but it also helps prevent injury. Be sure to inform your yoga instructor if you have any physical limitations, injuries, or if your health care provider recommended any posture modifications.

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