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Wellness Matters: 10 Ways Yoga Can Improve Your Health

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The following weekly column is written and sponsored by Virginia Hospital Center, a proud member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network and one of America’s 100 Top Hospitals for the third year in a row.

Your prana and your chakras may be OK, but that doesn’t mean you can’t profit from a little yoga in your life. Yoga is a great exercise that offers a host of health benefits. You can practice it year-round, rain or shine, with no more equipment necessary than a yoga mat.

Here are the top 10 ways yoga may help improve your health and fitness:

  1. Flexibility: Yoga poses stretch your muscles. You’ll move better, reduce stiffness and feel less tired.
  2. Strength: Poses such as downward dog and plank build upper-body strength, while standing poses strengthen your lower body, spine and abs.
  3. Posture: Yoga improves core strength, which helps perfect posture. You’ll sit and stand taller.
  4. Pain relief: Studies show yoga can ease back pain, as well as pain associated with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and other chronic conditions.
  5. Joint health: Yoga is gentle on joints but still provides a great workout. It helps prevent degenerative arthritis by taking your joints through the full range of motion.
  6. Spine health: Yoga protects your spine and keeps spinal discs supple.
  7. Bone health: Weight-bearing poses strengthen bones and help ward off osteoporosis.
  8. Heart health: Yoga helps to regulate heart rhythm and lower cholesterol and blood sugar, promoting healthier cardiovascular function.
  9. Immunity: Yoga helps fight infection and boost immunity.
  10. Stress relief: Yoga lowers your resting heart rate, decreases blood pressure and increases blood flow to help you feel more relaxed.

As part of its Fitness & Healthy Lifestyle program, Virginia Hospital Center offers a range of yoga classes suitable for all levels. Bring your own yoga mat and join in the fun.

Hatha Yoga rejuvenates your body and mind with strengthening postures, total body stretching, breathing exercises and deep relaxation. Gentle Yoga, a more accessible style of yoga, helps restore flexibility, regain strength and ease tension. Prenatal Yoga lets you practice yoga poses and focused breathing exercises to cultivate calm and confidence for labor and childbirth. You’ll need your doctor’s approval to attend.

Learn more and register online, or call the Virginia Hospital Center’s Health Promotion department at 703-558-6740 with any questions.

Namaste.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

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