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Yoga has benefits for the body and mind
08/23/2010
Naperville resident Gina Cox says yoga has so many benefits that the day she stops practicing it is the day she dies.

She has lordosis, or a swayed lower back, and she’s stood 5 feet, 1.5 inches tall for most of her adult life. Now she’s 5 feet 2. She attributes her improved posture to yoga.

“You’re constantly being reminded to lengthen your spine,” she said. “It’s like making space for each vertebra.”

Woodridge resident Jenni Heim, who has practiced yoga for about four years, notices she feels stronger and less stressed every day.

“Toni Gilroy is the best teacher I have ever had in terms of incorporating your life off the mat in your yoga practice,” she said. “You think you’re just doing exercise, and she’ll give you something you’ll think about for the rest of your day.”

If you’ve heard of the benefits of yoga but aren’t sure which style to try, Edward Health & Fitness instructor Toni Gilroy will make the choice easy for you.

She’s the instructor behind Yoga University, a new course that will allow participants to experience a different style of yoga every month for seven months. While Westerners put yoga into different environments (such as hot yoga) and tempos (such as Vinyasa or flow yoga), it’s all the same, she said.

“All yoga is Hatha yoga,” she said. “‘Hatha’ means ‘sun and moon’ … or balance.”

And she’s not just talking about physical balance. People often start yoga for physical release of tight muscles, and they stay because stretching feels so good, she said. Yoga also teaches people how to breathe steadily, which lowers heart rate, lowers blood pressure and calms the mind.

“My teacher said, ‘Yoga is a way to make your life work,’” Gilroy said. “We’re constantly in situations where we need patience. Our lives move pretty fast. Usually we need to act fast and adapt pretty quickly, and we need to respond with calmness, not agitation.”

It seems Gilroy just gave you something to think about.



 

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