Spending many hours in front of a computer screen or with knitting needles in hand can take its toll on a body. The eye strain, poor posture and lack of movement all contributes to an unhealthy way of life. Mix that with processed foods, poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle, and several health problems can occur.

I started doing yoga a few weeks ago, and am finding it is helping my flexibility. Plus, it is contributing to a gradual drop in weight. I am troubled by back problems, and the extra fourty pounds I carry are not helpful in any way. I take a class once a week, plus try to work it into my schedule at home. It doesn’t always work out to do it daily, but I do feel better after a session.

The good thing about yoga is you don’t have to compete with anyone. It is meant to relax you, and improve your health and flexibility over time. No matter your fitness level, taking the time to practice it will benefit you. Each pose can be modified to fit your ability, and as you gain flexibility and strength, you can increase the length of each pose. For a more intense, calorie burning workout, the poses are repeated quickly in a sequence. 

I have to be honest; the first yoga class I took this winter I thought it was going to kill me. My instructor is about twenty-five years my junior (or more) and practices it daily. She has been an instructor for five years, so it is second nature to her. She is very good, and reminds us that we should go at our own pace so as not to cause any injuries. I’m learning that I don’t have to keep up with the rest of the group, and that no one is going to criticize me for my lack of ability.

One of the first things our instructor taught us was how to breathe during yoga. It has been good for me, because I often find myself forgetting to breathe when exercising. Having the breaths to concentrate on ensure we actually breathe. I have also implemented the rhythmic breathing to put myself to sleep at night. I am one of those people whose mind goes into overdrive as soon as the head hits the pillow, so getting to sleep quicker has its own benefits.

Along with exercise, our bodies need sleep to rejuvenate. Yoga helps with that, if you do bedtime appropriate poses. I have a set of yoga DVDs that set the pace for morning routines, and evening routines. It also has yoga poses for inflexible people. I have used it a few times, but am finding the app on my iPad to be more versatile. I am not limited to practicing in front of the TV, and when it warms up, I will be taking my yoga outside.

The picture is of my daughter’s dog, who claimed my mat less than two minutes after my workout this afternoon.

Do you practice yoga regularly? If so, do you do it for health, relaxation or fitness? Or all of the above?