Fedak, Mike_2012This month we are going to discuss yoga. And first of all, yoga is NOT just for women. Yoga is a multitude of different types of exercises that can accomplish many goals. Want to increase your flexibility?  Yoga is for you. Back problems? Yoga can help. Want to work on your balance? Yoga is excellent.  Want to work on total body fitness? Yes, yoga can help you.

For the most part, yoga involves getting into a position, or pose, and holding that pose. Depending on the pose, this can help your flexibility, your core strength (which we discussed last month), your balance or your overall strength.

Another benefit of yoga is that it can help you relax. The breathing techniques that yoga teaches you while holding the poses can slow your pulse and control your breathing, which can be very beneficial if you have anxiety issues. By focusing on your breathing and your poses, yoga can also help you to focus and concentrate in other activities. Many elite athletes use yoga just for that purpose.

There are many different types of yoga available to practice.  Each one works to achieve different goals, and they can be combined in your workout.  The scope of that is beyond this article, but many excellent websites are available that describe the differences in the various practices of yoga and the poses they involve.

Two books that I have used in my yoga practice is “Real Men Do Yoga,” by John Capoayo and “Yoga for Wellness” by Gary Kraftson. Both are very informative and can help build a yoga routine. I have also used several DVDs, including the Gaiam series by Rodney Yee, Shiva Rey’s “Fluid Power Vinyasa Yoga,” and “Power Yoga” by Ashley Towe.

There is a 90-minute yoga workout in the exercise program P90X. I did the program and I have never sweat more than when I did that yoga workout, so don’t think that yoga is necessarily going to be an easy workout.  It can be as strenuous as you want it to be.

So, go out and buy a book on yoga or a DVD and include it in your routine once or twice weekly.