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fit body


A


WHY OUR BODY LOVES YOGA


Gentle Poses Foster Flexibility by Marlaina Donato


Improve your Fitness and Health Today!


Judy Liu is a Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance, a RRCA


Certifi ed Running Coach, an American Council on Exercise (ACE) Certifi ed Fitness Instructor and Integrated Health Coach. She offers several group and private sessions at different studios in Cary.


For more information, please visit www.strenuacoach.com or like the Facebook page Strenua LLC.


32 NA Triangle www.natriangle.com


lthough media coverage of yoga oſten highlights advanced yoga poses, the practice is not reserved solely for


super-flexible folks. Benefits are available to everyone of any age or physical type. “Many people assume that yoga requires


the ability to be a contortionist. Yoga is an internal process and can meet us wherev- er we are,” says yoga therapist Kimberly Carson, of Mindful Yoga Works, in Port- land, Oregon. Springing from the theory that half of our capacity to become more flexible lies less in the muscles than in the nervous system, this calming practice helps the body release tension and achieve a suppler state.


Why it Works Yoga poses don’t need to be intense to have a significant effect. Gentle, regular practice can improve range of motion, increase muscle strength and promote circulation of the synovial fluid surrounding joints that supplies oxygen and nutrients to cartilage. “Basic yoga is just as beneficial as more


advanced ideas of yoga, especially in terms of body awareness,” says Piper Abbott, an integrative yoga therapist and teacher who owns Burlington Yoga, in Burlington, Ver- mont. “Where our attention goes, energy flows. When we’re holding a posture and directing this focused awareness into the sensation of a stretch, we’re learning to read our body.” Agility is usually associated with mus-


cles and joints, but underlying flexibility goes deep to further enhance wellness. Stiff muscles oſten go hand-in-hand with stiff arteries, for example, but appropriate exer- cise can have a positive effect there, too. According to studies by physical


therapist Miriam Cortez-Cooper, Ph.D., and her colleagues during her tenure at the University of Texas at Austin, stretching exercises performed for 11 weeks improved flexibility of the carotid artery—the main vessel that transports blood to the brain—by 23 percent. Such an increase did not result from aerobic exercise or strength training.


Every Body Can Benefit


“Yoga is truly for any and every body. Flexibility or a lack thereof can be found in anatomies of any shape. Many options


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