Yo! For Yoga!
-By Hertha J. Woodruff, A.M.L.S., M.A.
About six years ago while I was actively spinning in a spin class (stationary bike class) at a fitness club, I could see through the classroom windows hoards of people walking, like they were following the Pied Piper, to a different class down the hallway with rolled mats. Later I learned that they were going to a yoga class.
One day I ventured out to try that yoga class out of curiosity. The lights were dim and there was an instructor who took the class through many different poses (yoga positions) with calm music. At the end of class there was a brief cool down period. It was a challenge for me at first because I was not familiar with the poses so I did not return. When I began to attend again, I went regularly. I learned that yoga should be practiced often during the month to gain any real benefits.
I am now sold on yoga. I attend from 3 to 5 times a week. I even joined a new fitness center to follow an outstanding trained and certified yoga teacher who has been practicing yoga for over 30 years. The athletic club were I belong teaches 61 classes a week so there is a lot of choice such as Slow Flow Vinyasa, classes for Healthy Backs, and Yin where poses are held for several minutes at a time. My husband, William Woodruff, D.D.S., has attended practices (yoga classes) with me.
I now understand what all of the hoopla was all about. There is a sign that hangs outside of my yoga studio that reads: BODY, MIND, SOUL. Yoga allows you to escape from the 24-7 demands of life to experience physical and mental relaxation while exercising. Joint pain and arthritis can improve. Persons have said that they sleep better. Deep breathing, that is beneficial, is encouraged. Yoga can release stress in your body and make you more flexible. It has been known to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. It can help strengthen the immune system. Muscles are strengthened and bodies will have more tone.
Historians estimate that yoga originated 5,000 years ago in India. Some even believe that it could go back as far as 10,000 years. When it came to the West, it contained many rejuvenation elements.
All you need to get started is a yoga mat and a towel. Some yoga centers even provide mats and towels. It is best to wear loose fitting clothes. You could wear the same fitness garments that you wear to other aerobic classes such as fitness spandex pants and short-sleeved or sleeveless fitness tops. No athletic shoes or socks are needed. It can get warm in class so it is best to wear light clothing. May want to bring a water bottle. If it is your first time, it is best to alert the instructor at the beginning of class for guidance. Never try to do all of the poses if you are new. Advance at your own pace. It is best go first to a beginner’s class. Most classes are one hour in duration.
Yo for yoga! There are numerous yoga centers around town. Yoga will benefit your health and make you feel great. It has become a part of my lifestyle. If you are searching for an opportunity to increase your physical activity, yoga may be your answer. Try it! You may like it!
Brown, Christina. tenminute Yoga. New York: Metro Books, 2003.
To read about my journey to becoming a vegan, please go here: Hertha Woodruff’s Vegan Journey
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