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What's it like: To start a yoga routine

Jaclyn Cosgrove: Yoga can help you improve your flexibility. It can also build your muscle strength and improve posture. And it might also improve your stress levels and give you an overall feeling of wellness.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: December 15, 2013

Why would someone want to start yoga?

Yoga is a mind and body practice with origins in ancient Indian philosophy. Some people might be familiar with popular yoga positions, such as downward-facing dog or warrior I. There are a variety of types of yoga, but they will generally involve different postures, breathing techniques and meditation.

Hatha yoga, the most commonly practiced in the United States and Europe, emphasizes postures (asanas) and breathing exercises (pranayama). Some of the major styles of hatha yoga are Iyengar, Ashtanga, Vini, Kundalini, and Bikram yoga.

Yoga can help you improve your flexibility. It can also build your muscle strength and improve posture. And it might also improve your stress levels and give you an overall feeling of wellness.

What happens?

Each yoga class varies, depending on the type of yoga you're doing and the instructor leading the class. In some yoga classes, light music is played as you move through the different positions.

There are different types of yoga for different levels of fitness. For example, vinyasa flow yoga is more strenuous and will involve more nonstop cardio.

During a class, your instructor likely will mention that you should pull in your stomach, drawing your belly toward your spine. At first, this can be a difficult concept to grasp. If you have questions, ask your instructor, who is there to help you.

With each position, you should be engaging the muscles that you're using. For example, if you're squatting, you will want to engage your leg muscles. And if you forget to pull in your abdomen, you might notice your balance is thrown off.

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by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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