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Try Yoga Today!
Add yoga to your fitness regimen to achieve optimal whole-body health

Yoga is a great low-impact way to keep your mind and body in peak form. It’s an amazing part of a healthy lifestyle, whether you’re an athlete using yoga to boost performance or a soccer mom tying to reduce everyday stress.

Yoga originated in ancient India but has been popular in the Western world for many years. Based on a series of poses and breathing techniques, yoga is thought to have been practiced as far back as the 3rd millennium BC.  It was first actively shared with Americans by Swami Vivekananda, a Hindu monk, in the 1890s. Growing interest in Hindu culture created a surge in popularity in the 1960s, and the 1980s brought yoga into the mainstream when it was associated with heart health. Dean Ornish, a follower of Swami Satchidananda, made this association, which led to yoga being recognized for its health aspects as well as its spiritual significance.

Since that time, more and more health benefits of yoga have been found through research. Regular yoga practice can lead to increased flexibility and strength, as well as better balance. It promotes heart health by lowering blood pressure and heart rate and is also great for cancer patients. In fact, a study published by the American Society of Clinical Oncology “suggests that yoga is associated with beneficial effects on social functioning among a medically diverse sample of breast cancer survivors.” The study also found that for patients not being treated with chemo, “yoga appears to enhance emotional well-being and mood and may serve to buffer deterioration in both overall and specific domains of QOL (quality of life).” Yoga also promotes better sleep patterns and reduced stress and depression. And a study conducted by the Ohio State University “suggests a regular practice of yoga may lower an inflammatory protein that is normally linked to aging and stress,” according to psychcentral.com.

Yoga has many benefits for runners and other athletes as well. It promotes better form and posture, increased endurance and increased flexibility and strength, which can help with pain and prevent injuries. Yoga also allows for quicker recovery, as it leads to improved circulation, aids in recovery of range of motion and reduces inflammation.  Yoga also “realigns the body and releases tension from connective tissue," says Sharon Stocker in Runner’s World.  Lastly, the mental strength practiced in yoga keeps the mind focused through long distance runs.

The health benefits of yoga are vast, and luckily the different types of yoga are just as diverse. Whether you’re a beginner or a serious athlete, there is a type of yoga that will work for you. Some of the different forms of yoga include:
  • Hatha
This is a general term, but Hatha yoga is likely done at gentle, slow pace. This makes it great for those who are new to the practice of yoga.
  • Vinyasa
Also general term, Vinyasa yoga focuses on breath and movement. It is usually based on Sun Salutations, a series of poses in which breathing and movements are synchronized.
  • Ashtanga
Sanskrit for “8 limbs,” Ashtanga yoga is high-intensity and done at a quick pace. The same poses are done in the same order in each session and there is constant movement from pose to pose. This form of yoga is physically tough and best for those in good shape.
  • Bikram
Bikram yoga is great for those looking for a physical challenge. It is done in a room that is approximately 100 degrees, which loosens muscles and promotes extreme sweating, which is great for detoxification. Bikram yoga is, not surprisingly, also called “Hot Yoga” and is based on 26 set poses.

These are just a few of the many forms of yoga. No matter your level, it should be easy to find a yoga type that works for you. If you’re suffering from stiff, sore muscles, stress or depression or even some chronic illnesses, yoga can help to balance your body and mind to improve quality of life and general health. For runners, it increases flexibility and endurance, improves form, reduces recovery time and can lower the risk of injury. Try yoga today to ensure a healthy body head to toe.
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