Try Yoga This Year

Are you looking for a way to relieve stress, improve flexibility and gain strength in the new year?

If you answered yes, yoga may be just what you are looking for.

Yoga is a practice that makes connections between your body, your breathing and your mind. It is steeped in spiritual tradition with roots in ancient Indian philosophy. In the modern West, yoga is practiced primarily for exercise, often as one of many facets of an overall fitness regimen.

There are three components to the basic practice of yoga: a sequence of physical positions, mindful breathing exercises, and relaxation achieved through meditation.

Hatha yoga is the practice that you are probably most aware of (even if you didn't know its name). This type of yoga focuses on mastering the body and mind through the control of breath and an exercise routine of bodily postures called asanas. This practice often features meditation as a way to relieve your mind of external stresses.

A common misconception is that yoga is boring or easy. While yoga is not for everyone, it can certainly be challenging! For example, Bikram yoga, which is sometimes called "hot yoga," incorporates heat to warm your muscles, ligaments and tendons for a better stretch and purify the body through sweat. Ashtanga or power yoga, on the other hand, involves the quick movement between poses for a more demanding workout.

Are you interested in trying a new yoga practice? The best thing to do is research certified yoga instructors in your area and see if the practice they offer fits your wellness goals.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Just like with other fitness activities, it is important to start with the basics and build from there. If you have never taken a yoga class before, start with a beginner's group.
  • While some moves may be easily modified for certain injuries, you may need to avoid some poses if you are pregnant, have sciatica or glaucoma, or other various health conditions. Please consult your physician and certified yoga instructor before beginning a new yoga practice to ensure that it is safe for you.