Your Wellness Guide: Yoga 101
Balance your life with a little yoga.
Although she’s practiced yoga for 35 years, Beth Stone still considers herself to be a beginner.
“It’s not about getting anywhere; it’s about being where we are today,” says Stone, who holds a University of Central Florida master’s degree in sports and exercise sciences and teaches yoga at UCF, the YMCA and area studios. “If you can take a deep breath, you can do yoga.”
Start with movement to get your heart beating faster, then work on your breath to clear your mind and oxygenate the body. “When you’re breathing and moving, you’re opening space in the body. Nasal breathing keeps heat in the body, which helps soften muscle tissues and increases flexibility,” Stone says. Mindfulness is the third step in becoming aware of the body’s energy. “It’s grounding, and that’s how you use your mind, breath and body to create a physiological change,” she points out.
Gentle, or basic yoga, is the best way to begin. If you’re a new student who’s not sure of your body’s capabilities, share that with the teacher first. Then, “take a deep breath and own it.” Age doesn’t matter. For older yogis who might not be able to get on a mat, Stone suggests chair yoga.
Yogi Andy Storch, an entrepreneur and author of the book Own Your Career, Own Your Life, has practiced for years with Stone and other teachers. Now dealing with a cancer diagnosis, he’s working to keep yoga in his life. “The movement and mindfulness give me more joy and connection to the world and make it easier to deal with some of my treatments. When I do yoga, I feel more energetic, happy and connected to life.”