Five Great Reasons to Try Yoga This Winter

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In the winter, balance becomes especially important as we deal with slippery sidewalks and clunky boots. Yet, many of us lead sedentary lives, and the lack of use and movement affects our balance and coordination. In turn, this makes us more prone to injury from falls. But how do you counteract the effects of extended sitting? Yoga, a practice that focuses on breathing and stretching techniques, can certainly help. Here are five reasons to give yoga a try this winter:

1. Yoga is gentle on the body. Unlike many other forms of exercise, yoga suits any body type, does not stress your joints when proper alignment is used, and can be customized to any ability level.

2. Yoga eases chronic pain. A 2011 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that participants who attended weekly yoga classes experienced clinically significant improvement to their chronic back pain versus a group that did not attend any sessions.

3. Yoga increases alertness and awareness. Because of its meditative focus on breathing, yoga helps attune people to their bodies while also developing better concentration skills.

4. Yoga increases strength, balance, and flexibility. In practicing yoga, you use the resistance of your own body to strengthen your muscles. Yoga poses also challenge your body’s ability to maintain balance. Because yoga emphasizes stretching and lengthening the body, you also increase your flexibility.

5. Yoga reduces diabetes and heart disease risk. A study published in The Journal of Health and Complementary Medicine found that fasting glucose, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol), VLDL cholesterol, total cholesterol/HDL ratio, and triglycerides all decreased and HDL cholesterol (healthy cholesterol) increased in participants who performed intensive yoga sessions.

Charmaine Swan of Ashland Yoga Studio will stop by the Co-op to discuss yoga for this month’s Wellness Wednesday on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 from noon until 4:30 p.m. For more information about Ashland Yoga Studio, please visit