Friday, September 27, 2013

September Is National Yoga Month

Yoga is an exercise program and so much more. Based on a series of movements and poses that build strength, flexibility, clarity and a sense of calm, for those who practice yoga, it’s a way of life.  September is National Yoga Month, and it’s a great time to give this activity a try.

Yoga originated in India over 5,000 years ago. According to www.medicine.net, over 20 million Americans practiced yoga in 2012. Experts predict that number will continue to grow.

Silhouette of Woman Practicing Yoga

Types of Yoga:


As yoga has increased in popularity, variations on this ancient practice have popped up in studios around the world.  According to webmd, below are the most popular types of yoga:

  • Hatha: A straightforward, unhurried style great for beginners to learn poses.
  • Lyengar: A slow-paced, gentle style of yoga great for older individuals, those with injuries or chronic health conditions.
  • Viniyoga: Another gentle style that emphasis breathing and movement. It’s perfect for increasing flexibility or injury recovery.
  • Bikram: This style is suggested for healthy individuals, with sweating and weight loss common.
  • Ashtanga: A highly vigorous style only for those in great physical shape.
  • PowerYoga: Also called flow yoga, flow-style yoga and vinyasa, it’s a popular form of yoga that combines cardio with yoga.
  • Kundalini: A more spiritual practice that includes meditation, breathing techniques and chanting.

Health Benefits of Yoga:


  • Lower blood pressure
  • Greater flexibility
  • Enhanced brain function
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Better skeletal adjustment
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased stress

Woman practicing yoga


Who can practice yoga?


  • Older individuals
  • Those with chronic health conditions, such as arthritis
  • Individuals recovering from an injury
  • Pregnant women
  • Athletes looking for more flexibility and a sense of calm
  • Kids of all ages

Strengths of practicing yoga:


  • Can be practiced at any age
  • It’s an activity the family can take part in together
  • Can be practiced independently or with a group
  • Limited need for equipment and accessories

Weaknesses of practicing yoga:


  • Even though it can be a gentle form of exercise, injury can occur

Before starting yoga:


  • Consult with your doctor before trying yoga to determine the type best suited for your individual needs.
  • Choose a qualified yoga instructor.
  • Notify your instructor of any limitations or injuries.

In celebration of National Yoga Month, over 2,000 yoga studios worldwide are offering one free class during the months of September and October. For a list of participating studios and to receive your free coupon, visit www.yogahealthfoundation.org.

Kathy Rembisz 
Contributing Writer

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