Yoga

Yoga is a centuries old art that uses specific postures and breathing techniques intended to provide those who practice it with physical health benefits that include increased flexibility, stamina, strength, muscle tone as well as mental-psychological benefits such as improved concentration, relief of tension and inner calm.

One learns and practice in groups or alone a series of postures which are held briefly or for longer periods. One can practice yoga in groups, usually for an hour or less or individually, sometimes for no more than 10 minutes or so, usually in the morning. Yoga, even for only a few minutes after arising, can ease soreness associated with sleeping in awkward positions as well as calm the mind and provide a degree of emotional balance with which to start one’s day.

One usually practices before breakfast, moving slowly, waking the body gently. For some physical conditions for which one often or generally avoids most exercise yoga can be practiced except that a number of yoga positions are to be avoided.

One usually starts with relatively simple, non-stressful poses: cat and dog tilts for example.  Some will try to add the treading the needle or puppy do positions at an early stage. One then often proceeds to warrior 1 or a victory pose and develop proper warrior breathing. In a second stage simple and advanced twist positions, both sitting or lying on one’s back, are learned as well as the so-called  sphinx and cobra positions.  The downward dog, dolphin, and other positions may be regarded as more strenuous and thus attempted later in the work out, the triangle pose as well as the child pose. The latter is often used as a resting pose in which the back muscles are stretched in a restful way.

There are many additional poses which offer challenging positions to those who go beyond the beginning stages as of yoga. You can look into them individually or study them first in beginning classes or in later intermediate or advanced classes.

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