Ancient art of yoga has many benefits
Posted January 11, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — If you've made a New Year's resolution to shed some pounds, be more flexible, reduce stress, get more sleep or just be healthier, yoga might be for you.
The ancient art provides many of same benefits that weightlifting, cardio equipment and aerobics classes do but at a slower, more relaxed pace without hurting the joints.
Marty Ray Gooch, a yoga instructor at Rex Wellness Center in Wakefield, fell in love with it 14 years ago and has been teaching it for the past nine.
He welcomes anyone to his classes, regardless of their ability.
"I try to keep it to where nobody feels like they're silly or can't do a pose," he said. "So, they can always do something."
That's what 66-year-old Allen Murdock first liked about the class.
About five years ago, he had spinal fusion surgeon and turned to yoga.
"It stretches you out, and it relaxes you, and I actually feel better, and I sleep better," he said.
Carol Ann Chimento, also 66, sought out yoga last summer to regain her strength after treatment for ovarian cancer.
"The older I get, the more I realize I need to keep stretching and moving, and this is kind of a fun way to do it," she said.
Yoga can also help in weight loss.
"The main thing with yoga, I think, is the stress reduction and relaxation," Gooch said.
Stress is known to increase levels of cortisol, also called a fear hormone, which makes the body hold on to fat.
"If you can relax and let go of that fear hormone, then all of a sudden, your fat starts to go away," Gooch said.
Although yoga is much calmer than other forms of exercise, there are risks for injury that can be reduced with the help of an expert instructor.
Gooch, for example, is careful to make sure his students don't go into poses that cause them pain.
Higher levels of yoga, which involved extreme poses for long periods, can also increase risk for injury.