Consider yoga in this new year

More than ever, yoga is capturing the interest of people of all ages, regardless of fitness level.

Good for the mind, body and spirit, yoga is probably best known for its ability to help increase flexibility and reduce stress. There is no need to be athletic or in great shape to practice yoga, and experts will tell you that it can be as easy or as difficult as you choose to make it. Yoga, when practiced on a regular basis, provides a sense of awareness of the body’s strengths and weaknesses, which can then be addressed at your own pace.

Proper breathing, and various positions, or asanas as they are called, are used in yoga for the purpose of releasing tension and tightness throughout the body. Just as with strengthening the muscles, the idea is to build flexibility slowly over time.

Yoga can be included as part of an overall fitness plan, burning an average of about 250 calories per hour.

It’s been said that you don’t have to be spiritual to practice yoga, but if you practice yoga, you will probably end up finding yourself a little more spiritual. Yoga belongs to all religions, and it helps people to get in touch with their spiritual side. Even the meditation side of yoga is not religious in nature. Meditation is just another way quiet to quiet the mind, reduce stress and promote self-awareness. The more you practice yoga, the calmer you become.

Basic guidelines

First and foremost, always use nose breathing throughout all exercises in yoga. Yoga should also be practiced on an empty stomach.

Experts routinely advise drinking adequate amounts of water, and this is especially important with exercise. It is thought that consuming plenty of water after a yoga session can help rid the body of toxins that might have been released during class.

Remember to have fun with yoga, it should be something you look forward to. It has the power to make you feel relaxed, yet energized long after you roll up your mat and go on about your day.

Hot Yoga, popular in many health clubs, offer different types of Yoga classes which take place in a heated room, which in some facilities can be close to 100 degrees. The idea is that the extra heat may enhance flushing of toxins and promote greater flexibility by allowing for a deeper stretch. To find out more about the many types of yoga, or whether Hot Yoga is right for you, information can be found online, or by contacting a local club featuring sessions.

YMAT’s are a new line of washable, lightweight yoga and workout mats are perfect for HOT Yoga and other exercise programs. Made with Neoprene material, YMAT’s absorb moisture and can be rolled or laid flat to fit easily into the bottom of a suitcase or gym bag. Available in two sizes, 25 x 48 inches and approximately 1 pound for travel and 25 x 75 inches standard size (2 pounds), YMATs have a non-skid gridded rubber bottom, are fast drying and machine washable. Visit www.tmatpro.com for more information.

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