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The New You: The many benefits of yoga

You don't have to be a professional to feel real benefits from the practice of yoga. Even small, low impact movements can have big results

CLEVELAND — Since embarking on this "The New You journey, I’ve learned that that a healthy lifestyle is not only about eating well, it’s also about reducing anxiety and moving your body – two huge factors in the ancient practice of yoga.

That’s why, each week during our shared medical appointment, we take some time to work with Cleveland Clinic’s lead yoga therapist Judi Bar.

"The reason yoga is in the program is because it does help with mindfulness. We’re going to look at body awareness, am I breathing am I holding in my breath because just allowing ourselves to make a breath can many times, help us make a nice non-emotional decision," Bar told us the first week of the program.

Though virtual yoga has been great, Kati, Kim and I recently had the chance to practice with Judi in person, at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Center campus in Lyndhurst.

In our class, Judi explained that yoga can get a bad rap for being complicated and physically advanced. But right away, Judi told us yoga can be modified for all, and even low impact, simple motions can have lasting results. She had us start by using a chair to help us modify the poses instead of practicing on the floor. 

"The key here is we don't start out running a marathon. In yoga we can build our core, we can stretch our our rotator cuffs we can help support our back we can get better stronger legs more flexible feet," Bar said.

"All I ask you to do is listen to your body if something that I'm suggesting isn't working then you adjust and adapt."

But it’s not all about the physical workout. Just like we learned in our culinary medicine class, like food, yoga can even help fight infections in the body.

"The variety we get in yoga and the moving helps to really support a healthy immune system too it pumps that lymphatic fluid through to to get some detoxing done," she told us. 

Though none of us would call ourselves professionals, Kim, Kati and I all settled in pretty quickly to learn some of those famous poses you’ve probably heard about - including my favorite - the "warrior pose."

It wasn't all easy, but by the end of class, I think we looked pretty good! And Judi just may have convinced me to incorporate yoga into my daily routine. Namaste. 

We’re in this together!

If you're interested in learning more, or signing up for a similar program through the Cleveland Clinic, visit: 

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/departments/wellness/integrative

call: 216.448.4325 or email: cilm@ccf.org

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