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Get out your Yoga Mat! Seriously, go now!  No wait, read this first.

Go get out your yoga mat.  It’s somewhere at the bottom of the closet or in the storage room.  If you don’t have one, buy one. You won’t be sorry after reading all this.

Did you know yoga can do more than just strengthen and tone your body? In fact, it can do much more – especially for women. We must protect and build our muscles, since muscle strength helps support our bones as we age, and we know how important that can be.

For years I considered yoga a practice embraced mostly by celebrities and “New Agers” but it has come a long way since then, and so have I.  I began a regular yoga practice back in 2005 and I loved it. It has done more for me than any exercise machine or gym membership has. The truth is, I haven’t always been in a class, however, I use the strength-producing poses throughout my week and have recently started back to class.  Today yoga studios are everywhere, and millions of people like me enjoy the overwhelming benefits.  My friend, Julie Adams teaches an amazing Pi-Yo (Floor Pilates and Yoga Fusion) class at the E Center in Sugar Hill, where I teach my health and nutrition classes. She is the reason I am back in class, because as a health coach, a business owner, and woman in the second half of life, I have many more reasons, so I will share them with you here.

Recent research shows yoga can have a powerful effect on your health—making it a perfect remedy for everything from heart disease and high blood pressure to anxiety and depression.

You may already be familiar with some yoga moves such as downward dog and mountain pose or my favorite –  the warrior poses.  But you may not know that yoga is a total mind-body workout that includes: postures, breathing practices, relaxation, and mindfulness.  This practice can transform your physical and mental health in dozens of ways.  Here are just a few:

  • Helps improve balance, flexibility, strength, and coordination
  • Helps reduce your risk of heart disease
  • Relieves migraines for many people
  • Fights osteoporosis
  • Helps improve MS, IBS, and fibromyalgia
  • Prevents stress and even can reverse the harmful effects of stress
  • Relaxing breathing techniques can be practiced anywhere for calm nerves and release tension

One study showed how yoga increased the flexibility of blood vessels by 69% and even helped to shrink blockages in arteries without the use of medications!

Another showed the power of the meditation component of yoga may even help to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and fight age-related declines in memory.

Now, get out your mat and head to the nearest studio!

Stephanie Wolfe, NBC-HWC