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Yoga MATters!

Go get your yoga mat! Seriously, go now!  No wait, read this first.  Yoga matters, for real!  My yoga mat is the one, single piece of exercise equipment that I cannot live without.  It is truly a one-size-fits-all, portable, inexpensive, versatile powerhouse of fun and fitness!  Now, go get out your yoga mat.  It’s somewhere at the bottom of the closet, or in the attic.  If you don’t have one, buy one!  It will be the best $10-20 investment that you can make in yourself. You won’t be sorry after reading all this.

Yoga can do more than just strengthen and tone your body. In fact, it can do much more – especially for women. It can protect and build our muscles, and since muscle strength helps support our bones as we age, it’s a win-win!  Hurry up, have you found it, yet?

For years I considered yoga a practice embraced mostly by celebrity-type bodies on beaches and sunny mountaintops, but yoga has come a long way since then, and so have I.  I began a regular yoga practice back in 2005. I loved it then, and I love it now. 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, owner of mind&bodywellness101 She is an amazing fitness instructor and teaches my 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.

Much research shows the powerful effect yoga has on your health—making it a perfect remedy for everything from heart disease and high blood pressure to anxiety and depression.  Not to mention how it tones and strengthens your body.

You may already be familiar with some yoga moves such as down dog and mountain pose, or my favorites – 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.  Maybe you need it to help you to remember where your yoga mat is!

See Yoga Matters, now, go get it and head to the nearest yoga studio!

Stephanie Wolfe, NBC-HWC