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Yoga for Health – A Public Health Reminder

Yoga is a great activity to complement your strength training routine. Although yoga primarily helps improve flexibility, it is also known to improve muscle strength and tone, prevent pain, improve breathing, calm the mind, reduce stress and increase body awareness. However, before starting a class, here are some things you need to consider.

1) Type of Yoga- There are many styles of yoga to choose from. Do some research on the internet and talk with some certified yoga instructors before deciding on the best fit for you. Keep in mind that you might try a few different styles before you find the one that suits you the best. Hatha and/or Vinyasa flow yoga are usually good ones for beginners.

2) Find a class- Look for a studio that is close to your home or work. You might also belong to a gym that offers yoga classes. If so, look into their schedule and start off with a basic level class. Also, be sure to check that the instructors have completed a 200 hour certified yoga instructor course.

3) What to bring- You need to come to a yoga class prepared. Usually comfortable, breathable clothing is best. For your first class, you might want to rent a yoga mat before buying one. Finally, bring a filled bottle of water for afterwards. Bring a friend too if you can!

4) Know what to expect- Most classes start with students sitting in a cross legged position facing the teacher. As yoga is also a spiritual practice for some, teachers may also start the class with three “OM’S” and/or a breathing exercise. The bulk of the class typically consists of warm-up poses, then intense postures followed by more relaxing stretches and ending with “savasana” or a relaxation period. Lastly, know that you are probably going to feel a little sore the day after your first class, so don’t get discouraged.

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