Embrace National Yoga Month

Friday, September 1, 2017

By: Molly Soto

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September is National Yoga Month. Go for it. Embrace it.


All ages can benefit from yoga, which was developed thousands of years ago in India as a way to foster physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.


Today, there are many varieties of yoga, each promoting some aspect of physical or mental wellness. The experience and the benefits, however, are different for each person.


“Yoga is great for heart health,” says Dr. William Witmer, an interventional cardiologist with Aurora BayCare Cardiology.


Yoga helps to improve circulation, more efficiently delivering oxygenated blood to the body’s cells, especially via yoga breathing techniques.  Even modest yoga workouts help lower the resting heart rate, increase endurance and improve oxygen intake.


“Its positions can be done on the go, with many of the same benefits as a long class,” says Witmer, who’s an avid yoga practitioner.


Yoga Alliance, a non-profit professional trade group of 86,000 yoga teachers and schools, tracks research on yoga’s benefits for physical and mental health for people of all ages.


For older people, yoga can help improve flexibility, mobility and balance, and reduce the risk of falls.


Yoga also may help those with back pain, spinal injuries, osteoporosis, cancer, chronic pain, weight issues, diabetes or women’s health issues. It also may contribute to fitness, wellness, stress relief, vitality, mental clarity, healing, peace of mind and spiritual growth.


With summer winding down, outdoor yoga classes will give way to indoor classes. They’re widely available, either in group or individual settings. Check with community recreation programs, fitness centers and private yoga studios.


Hot yoga isn’t for everyone. Heart patients should stay with conventional yoga and not subject their heart and lungs to hot yoga conditions, Witmer says.

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BayCare Clinic,, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.