Stay Sane, Serene and In Shape with Yoga

By J Personal Trainer Carley Brunner

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The challenging times we find ourselves in present a perfect opportunity to focus our energy on finding balance and serenity, and there are few better ways to do so than practicing yoga. You may be surprised at how it helps you feel better mentally and physically. Many people are afraid to try yoga for fear that they might hurt themselves or be embarrassed by their lack of flexibility or ability to balance on one leg. But now more than ever, it is important to try yoga for one’s overall health and well-being. Each pose can be adapted to one’s level and ability with the use of props and tips. Step outside of you comfort zone and see the benefits!

            What are some of those benefits? Well, as we age, we lose both our flexibility and ability to balance. Our muscles tighten, our bones weaken, and our mind starts to “go”, so to speak. Yoga can help all of that. By doing some series of Sun Salutations or other movements back to back, you begin to warm up those cold and tired muscles. Then we add some yoga-based stretching, to stretch your shoulders, legs, hips and lower back – yoga can help reduce lower back pain. The key is to listen to your body. While we go through the poses, we focus on taking slow, deep breaths, which can help lower your heart rate and blood pressure when under stress and promote overall calmness. Mentally, yoga helps you become aware of your limitations, while simultaneously challenging you to do things you have never done before. Ending with Savasana, a pose where you focus on letting go and relaxing, you often find clarity coming to your mind, perhaps thinking of things from a fresh perspective or discovering a solution to an ongoing problem.

           It is normally so hard for the average person to make time for themselves to exercise and to just “be still” and meditate, but being held back by the pandemic presents a unique opportunity to take advantage of the extra time at home. Yoga is such a good thing for one’s mind and body – try it and you will see. The J offers yoga both virtually and on-site, so be sure to log into community.jccstl.org to register for on-site classes, attend virtual classes, and watch previously recorded classes! We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

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