Why would you want to twist yourself like a pretzel? According to the Yoga Alliance, there are many good reasons:

Stress relief: Yoga reduces the levels of cortizol__ the stress hormone

Pain relief: Studies have shown that practicing yoga postures, meditation or a combination of the two, reduced pain for people with conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune diseases and hypertension as well as arthritis, back and neck pain and other chronic conditions

Better breathing: Yoga includes breathing practices which can be effective for reducing our stress response, improving lung function and encouraging relaxation

Flexibility: Yoga improves flexibility and range of motion.

Other good reasons include: better circulation, improved concentration and coordination, improved memory, and inner peace. The meditative effects of a regular yoga practice helps to cultivate a feeling of calm and peacefulness.

Yoga poses can be modified to fit the abilities of just about anyone. I use modified poses all the time with my clients. One of my favorite poses is the cat-cow (photo,left).  It's very safe and is good for the back. You stand on all fours, arch your back like a cat and let your head hang down. Hold the position for at least 7 breaths. Release the position and let your back down like a sway-backed cow, keeping your head facing up.

Again, hold for at least 7 breaths. This pose alternately stretches and strengthens the back and neck.

Yoga classes can be found on almost every corner today. They are offered in yoga studios, most gyms, community centers, parks, some churches and even on the beach!

There are many types of yoga from Hatha to Bikram to Iyengar. I'm still sampling yoga styles and don't yet have a favorite, so I could really use your suggestions here!

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Sibyl

Sibyl Adams, Seniority Matters’ featured fitness blogger, has spent three decades in the health and fitness field. She began competing in local body building events in 1980, and by 1983, she was second in her weight class in the International Arm Wresting Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica. Sibyl remained active in the body-building scene for more than a decade, while also teaching aerobics and running races. She retired from body building in 1990, but continued running competitively until 2004, when she suffered an ankle injury.

Today, Sibyl works full-time as a personal fitness trainer and is president of her own company, A Personal Touch Fitness. She is a certified Reiki master, a National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF) Certified Trainer, and is currently pursuing a certification in yoga. She enjoys swimming, power-walking and playing with her grandchildren.


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