• What to Bring to Class: mat, two small towels, water bottle,
a desire to exercise, stretch and your sense of humor
• What to Wear: loose
but not baggy clothing, comfortable workout wear
• What Not to Wear:
Long necklaces, belts, dangling bracelets and such as they could not only be distracting, but could be dangerous if they impede
your movements. Similarly, hair needs to be out of the face and tied back if it is long.
• One Other Note: Many people are sensitive to perfumes and strongly scented deodorants, please refrain
from wearing strong scents in the wellness center.
Practicing Yoga will help you improve muscle
tone. Some forms and styles of yoga are more vigorous than others. With focus on less movement and more precise alignment
in poses and movements you can provide your body with strength and endurance benefits. Poses and exercises on your hands and
knees or feet build upper-body strength. While standing poses, especially if you hold them for several long breaths, build
strength in hamstrings, quadriceps and abdominal muscles. When practiced correctly, nearly all poses and exercises build core
strength in deep abdominal muscles.
With increased flexibility and strength comes better posture. Most standing
and sitting poses and exercises develop core strength. That’s because you’re counting on your deep abdominals
to support and maintain each pose. With a stronger core, you’re more likely to sit and stand “tall.” Another
benefit of yoga is the increased body awareness. This heightened awareness tells you more quickly when you’re slouching
or slumping so you can adjust your posture.
Because of the deep, mindful breathing that yoga involves, lung capacity often improves. This in turn
can improve sports performance and endurance. Most forms of yoga emphasize deepening and lengthening your breath. This
stimulates the relaxation response -- the opposite of the fight-or-flight adrenaline boost of the stress response.
Less stress, more calm
Even beginners tend to feel less stressed and more relaxed after their first class. Among yoga’s anti-stress
benefits are a host of biochemical responses. For example, there is a decrease in catecholamines, the hormones produced by
the adrenal glands in response to stress. Lowering levels of hormone neurotransmitters -- dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine
-- creates a feeling of calm. Some research points to a boost in the hormone oxytocin. This is the so-called “trust”
and “bonding” hormone that’s associated with feeling relaxed and connected to others. That may be why so
many romances start in the yoga studio.
Concentration and mood
Nearly every yoga student will tell you they feel happier and more contented after class. Recently, researchers
have begun exploring the effects of these forms of exercise on depression, a benefit that may result from boosting oxygen
levels to the brain. Yoga are even being studied as an adjunct therapy to relieve symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Perhaps one of the most studied areas of the health benefits of yoga is its effect on heart disease. Yoga has
long been known to lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate. A slower heart rate can benefit people with hypertension,
heart disease, and stroke. On a biochemical level, studies point to a possible anti-oxidant effect of yoga. And they have
been associated with decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as a boost in immune system function.
The only way to be certain of all that yoga can do for you
is to try it for yourself and see.
Benefits for Teens
During puberty and later
teen years, immense changes take place in the body’s chemistry and physiology. Imbalances of body chemistry and physiology
often show up in rebellion and mood swings. Yoga and pilates promote unification of body and mind, and with practice, it will
increase awareness and your ability to look within, think for yourself, and trust yourself. The result is that you will feel
more peaceful and self-confident during a period of rapid change and be able to engage the world with a more positive outlook.
Benefits for Adults
Yoga are fabulous forms of exercise for men and woman of all ages. Many of the poses are terrific for
the health of the female reproductive organs. A relaxing menstruation practice can focus on resting the abdominal area and
emphasizes supported seated forward bends to help alleviate backache, cramping, fatigue and excessive bleeding. In general,
men have dense, bulky and tight muscles. Stretching can go a long way toward loosening and lengthening those knotty muscles.
Benefits for Seniors
As we grow older we typically become more susceptible to ailments that are linked to aging, and, as a result,
we tend to move less. The less we move, the more susceptible we become to a variety of ailments, and so it becomes a truly
vicious cycle. Extended periods of sitting lead to muscular shortening, tightening and weakening. Lack of weight-bearing activity
contributes to osteoporosis. Lack of movement and stretching leads to joint deterioration and loss of flexibility. Yoga and
pilates are considered by many to be a tremendous tool for combating the concerns of an aging society.