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Healthy Living: Why Not Take Up Yoga This Year?

By Amber Bara 

With the New Year comes new beginnings. If your resolutions made last month included things like relieving stress, recovering from old injuries, mitigating pain, strengthening your body, increasing flexibility, and improving your appearance, then you might want to try yoga. There are many different styles of yoga, types of instructors, and places that give yoga classes. The options are endless!  

For those who are new to the practice of yoga and are wanting to try a class, Yoga Bliss instructor Katie Ortiz suggests trying a beginner’s class, and avoiding the “hot” classes. “They can be too strenuous on beginners,” she said. Ortiz also suggests not jumping into yoga for a quick improvement, but for a lifestyle change.    

 What can a beginner expect from a first class?

 Lynda Kees, owner of The Yoga Center, said new students can expect to move their bodies in new ways, stretching places that have been neglected and either under or overused.  

“New students will also breathe more deeply and fully. They will find themselves invigorated and relaxed at the same time,” Kees said.  

No matter your level of strength and flexibility, there is a class for you, according to Kees.  

“One of the beauties of yoga is that every pose can be adapted and modified so beginners get what they need within their level of ability and comfort,” she said. “A basic class will progress through a series of body positions that address the whole body in its ranges and directions of movement.” 

On the stress-relieving benefits of practicing yoga, Kees added, “Yoga helps us recognize how and where we ‘hold’ stress in our bodies and gives us tools to significantly decrease those manifestations.”    

Yoga’s benefits on emotional health are also well known. Kees pointed out that yoga has been shown to improve physical and emotional balance, as well as mental focus. “It can also help to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and insomnia.”  

Considering the amount of stress the average person is under, it’s no surprise that adding stress-relieving techniques to one’s day has become necessary to maintain health. But be prepared to commit. Ortiz points out that going to a yoga class once a month won’t yield many benefits. However, she said, those who start out slowly, attending class once or twice a week on a regular basis, will see the benefits.    

If you are interested in attending a class at Yoga Bliss, you can find a schedule of classes on their website at yogablisstuscaloosa.com. 

If you would like to try a class taught by Lynda Kees, The Yoga Center is currently holding classes in the community center at St. Matthias Episcopal Church.  To learn more, visit their website at yogatuscaloosa.com. 

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