Yoga is a fun and healthy activity

Times-Herald Editorial Staff
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Yoga is a fun way to relax and stay in shape.

Despite belief that it is just for relaxation, yoga is an effective way to increase flexibility, tone the muscles and increase lubrication of the joints, tendons and other ligaments in the body.

On Tuesdays, there is a weekly event of free yoga classes in Crescent Park. Provided sufficient mosquito spray is brought, partaking in these yoga sessions will unite body and mind for an enjoyable evening.

Yoga isn’t a new concept. It’s been practiced since at least 3000 B.C. The original purpose of yoga was to heal members of the community and to apply and understand the world. Its later purpose was to transform the self through tranquility. In the sixth century, the meditation and poses became a crucial element of the practice.

Modern yoga is based on five elements - relaxation, exercise, breathing, diet and positive thinking and meditation.

Emptying the mind of all thoughts and relaxing to look deep within the self achieve meditation. In yoga, proper diet means eating in moderation and only when hungry, not when someone is feeling upset.

According to a 2005 study done by research experts Dawn Boehde and John Porcari at the University of Wisconsin in La Crosse, yoga was proven to increase flexibility, muscular strength and endurance as well as balance. The study was done over an eight-week period and concluded that attending regular yoga sessions was the most effective.

Flexibility was noted to increase when the poses are held for at least 30 seconds to increase flexibility. Poses like the plank, half-moon, boat, camel and revolved triangle are the best for improving strength because of the support for the upper body. One-legged stands, for instance, increased balance for an average of 17 seconds over an eight-week period.

The study also said that yoga might increase strength, but not nearly as much or as quickly as lifting weights. It also isn’t something that will increase cardio fitness. But what yoga does offer that other workouts don’t is the flexibility, balance and state of relaxation that yoga offers.

For the summer, yoga in the park is a chance to get out of the house and enjoy the weather. With all of those benefits, yoga is a healthy way to relax.

All Times-Herald editorials are written by the editorial staff.

Organizations: University of Wisconsin

Geographic location: Crescent Park, La Crosse

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