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January 7, 2009 > Yoga Can Improve Overall Health and Well-Being

Yoga Can Improve Overall Health and Well-Being

Washington Hospital Yoga Class and Seminar are for Every Woman

If your New Year's resolution this year is to improve your health, consider trying yoga. The ancient practice can help breathe new life into your body, mind and spirit.

"Yoga improves stamina, flexibility and breathing," said Bonnie Maeda, RN, a certified yoga instructor at Washington Hospital who is teaching the upcoming "Yoga for Health and Healing" class as well as a February 3 seminar on yoga and your immune system, both for women only. "Yoga reduces stress and improves overall health and well-being. Even people with serious health problems can find a much better quality of life through yoga."

The six-week class will be held on Thursdays starting January 15, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. and again from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m., at the Washington Women's Center, 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont. The class is limited to 15 participants and registration is required. The fee is $75 and a credit card number must be provided at the time of registration. Call (510) 608-1301 to register.

When people think of yoga, they often imagine having to stretch and contort their bodies like professional gymnasts, which could lead them to believe they are too old or out of shape for yoga. But Maeda assures first-time participants that couldn't be further from the truth.

"Yoga is available to every body," Maeda said. "Which means people of every age, ability, and body type can benefit from yoga."
Individualized Instruction

Maeda offers individualized instruction specifically tailored to each participant's abilities. "It's really about teaching people to know their limitations, called stretch points, so they don't overdo it and hurt themselves."
At the first class, she will explain what yoga is and provide details about its health and wellness benefits. Yoga involves a series of poses that stretch not only muscles, but also soft tissue like tendons.

This stretching releases the lactic acid that builds up in the muscles and causes stiffness, tension, pain and fatigue. Yoga also increases range of motion in the joints, making it very beneficial for people with arthritis.

Even gentle forms of yoga build strength and endurance. The poses also help to align the body and improve posture.

Because of the deep, mindful breathing in yoga, lung capacity often improves. This deep breathing also helps to increase relaxation and reduce stress.

"Yoga offers so many health benefits," Maeda said. "If you are a beginner or are apprehensive - maybe you tried yoga before and it didn't work out - this class is definitely for you."


Yoga and Your Immune System

The immune system is the body's defense system. It continually battles bacteria, microbes, viruses, toxins, parasites and other invaders from the outside world. A strong immune system means fewer illnesses and better health.

"Yoga and the Immune System" is scheduled for Tuesday, February 3, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Washington Women's Center, 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont. The seminar is limited to 12 participants and registration is required. The fee is $15 and a credit card number must be provided at the time of registration. Call (510) 608-1301 to register.

The first 45 minutes will be devoted to discussion. Maeda will talk about the benefits of yoga and ways it helps to improve your immune system, including through improved circulation, oxygen flow, and lung mobility as well as by massaging and rejuvenating internal organs, and relaxing the nervous system and boosting the immune response. She will then lead the class through a number of yoga poses that can help to improve the immune system.

"It will be a series of breathing awareness and restorative poses, which help individuals manage stress," Maeda said. "We know stress tears down the immune system."

For more information about other programs and services offered by the Washington Women's Center, visit www.whhs.com/services/womens_health/


Gentle Yoga for Health and Healing

When: Thursdays starting January 15, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. and again from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m.

Where: Washington Women's Center, 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont.
The six-week classes are limited to 15 participants and registration is required. The fee is $75 and a credit card number must be provided at the time of registration. Call (510) 608-1301 to register.

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