Fitness Trend: Yoga

Article by Jessica Vandelay

Yoga originated in ancient India. In Sanskrit, the word yoga means “union” but in recent years the term “yoga” has become synonymous with the practice of physical postures and poses for improved health, fitness and spiritual awareness. There are many different types of yoga. Hatha, vinyasa, ashtanga, power yoga and iyengar are a few.

According to a recent study, “Yoga in America,” in Yoga Journal, 15.8 million American adults practice yoga. The study also found the number of people interested in trying yoga tripled from 2004 to 2008 to an estimated 18.3 million.

Many yoga poses and postures involve stretching of the muscles but the main focus is to create balance through strength and flexibility. There is also a focus on breathing techniques. Physical benefits of yoga are many, such as reduced stress, better sleeping habits, lower heart rate, and increased strength and flexibility.

Many gyms and health facilities offer yoga classes for beginners to expert for affordable prices. Less affordable ways to learn yoga are yoga studios. It is also popular to do yoga at home with a yoga DVD. Some popular DVD yoga instructors are Rodney Yee, Alan Finger, Ali McGraw and Richard Freeman. For more yoga DVD recommendations, read fitness magazines like Fit Yoga, Shape and Men’s Health.

Basic yoga equipment includes loose-fitting, breathable clothes and a yoga mat with a sticky bottom for traction. These items are usually fairly inexpensive and because of the mainstream popularity of yoga can be found at discount retailers like Wal-Mart and Target. For more advanced yoga practice, blocks for alignment, straps for certain bounding poses and blankets are often used.

Yoga practitioners across the country have started using yoga as a means for community outreach. The New York Times recently reported yoga practitioners reaching out to the homeless, troubled teens, prisoners and people in substance abuse programs. One program called YogaHope in Boston, Mass., focuses on teaching restora tive yog a at women’s shelters.

The Times also reported that golfers are turning to yoga to promote better control of the body and mind, which helps the golfers improve their swings. Read more about how yoga can improve your golf swing in golf magazines like Golf Magazine.

Celebrities have long been enthusiastic about yoga and promoting it. Some celebrities who practice yoga according to O, The Oprah Magazine are Madonna, Ricky Martin, Jennifer Aniston, Sting and Meg Ryan. Celebrities often practice yoga because it results in slim-yet-athletic bodies.

Because celebrities often promote their love of yoga, celebrity magazines like People Magazine feature stories like “Get Fit Like the Stars.” Women’s Health magazine recently featured Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine talking about his yoga practice.

About the Author

For more magazine articles on yoga, visit http://www.magazines.com/ncom/mag?view=0&btn=D&l=20&search=yoga

Jessica Vandelay is a free-lance writer in New York City.

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