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Campus Recreation > Fitness/Wellness > What Is Yoga?

What Is Yoga?

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Campus Recreation's yoga program is a benefit to all members of the Recreation Center. Yoga is open to all fitness levels and yoga participants. If you have concerns about your health or fitness, consult your physician, qualified health practitioner or yoga teacher before undertaking a yoga practice, especially if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, back or neck injury or recent surgery.

"Yoga" means union and seeks to give balance and proportion to every aspect of your life and balance different energy flows within the human body. As an ancient system of breathing practices, physical exercise, postures and meditation, the practice of yoga is intended to promote integration of the mind, body and spirit.

Asanas (body postures/positions) release stiffness and tension, help re-establish the inner balance of the spine, renew energy and restore health. Some postures provide the added benefit of being weight-bearing, which helps sustain bone mass. Relaxation and breathing exercises produce stability, reduce stress and put you in touch with your inner strength. Regular practice of yoga can promote graceful aging.

Chakras are powerful energy centers in the body, aligned with specific emotions and body parts. We often unknowingly block these centers, closing ourselves off from feeling fully alive. Yoga practice can help us balance the mind, body and soul.

Yoga has both preventive and therapeutic benefits for the mind and body.

Physical benefits:

  • Improves flexibility and muscle joint mobility
  • Strengthens, tones and builds muscle; corrects posture
  • Strengthens the spine
  • Eases back pain; improves muscular-skeletal conditions such as bad knees and tight shoulders
  • Increases stamina; creates balance and grace
  • Improves digestion and elimination
  • Increases circulation
  • Boosts immune response
  • Improves breathing disorders
  • Decreases cholesterol and blood sugar levels
  • Improves heart conditions
  • Encourages weight loss

Mental benefits:

  • Increases body awareness
  • Relieves chronic stress patterns in the body
  • Refreshes the body by relieving muscle strain
  • Relaxes the mind and body
  • Centers attention
  • Sharpens concentration
  • Frees the spirit

Your yoga practice should feel good, and it's important to recognize your body's capabilities and limitations. Never force your body into a posture or try to go beyond your limit. Deep relaxation and inner neutrality encourage a balance of the inner elements -- mind, body and spirit. Yoga is a slow, fluid, graceful exercise that helps develop muscle tone, flexibility, coordination, balance, breathing control, and deep relaxation. Respect your practice; respect yourself.

American Yoga Association www.americanyogaassociation.org

Yoga Research and Education Center (YREC) www.yrec.org