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Try Yoga for Strength, Flexibility and Relaxation

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Yoga is a great activity for any fitness level and can be especially helpful for posture problems, arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart disease.

The benefits of yoga include increased strength and flexibility, and improved mind-body awareness that can help you relax.

Remember to talk with your doctor before starting any physical activity. There may be yoga poses that you need to avoid for certain conditions or until you have more experience.


How to Get Started with Yoga

Yoga can be done just about anywhere and anytime. Remember to be patient; you will feel results soon! Here’s what you need:

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing

  • A nonslip yoga mat (or a large towel)


Go to a Class or Use a DVD?

It’s helpful to get expert advice from an instructor when you are starting with a new fitness activity, but if you can’t find a beginner class at your local gym, here’s what to look for in a beginner’s yoga DVD:

  • Teaches a range of seated and standing poses

  • Offers a sequence of gentle workouts that can be tailored to your schedule


Key to Successful Yoga

Controlled breathing is the key to practicing yoga. Take deep breaths through your nose, filling out your belly. Concentrate on your breathing to help your body relax and feel balanced.


Start with a Beginner Pose

A basic stretch that is good for your back and abdomen, and that helps you concentrate on breathing is the Cat-Cow pose.

  • Get on your hands and knees with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.

  • Keep your spine in neutral position (flat like a table).

  • Keep your neck in line with your spine.

  • As you inhale, drop your abdomen toward the floor and look up. Curling your toes under helps.

  • As you exhale, pull your spine toward the ceiling and round your back.

  • Your head will drop down and your feet will lay flat on the floor.

  • Repeat this action as your learn to focus on your breathing.