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September 16, 2009 > Washington Women's Center Yoga Class Focuses on Mind and Body

Washington Women's Center Yoga Class Focuses on Mind and Body

Are you looking for a light workout exercise program that's easy to learn, requires no equipment, and soothes your soul while toning your body? If strengthening your cardiovascular system, stretching your muscles, and improving your mental fitness are on your to-do list, then a yoga course offered through the Washington Women's Center may be just for you.

"Yoga can help the body heal and improve your sense of well being," according to course instructor, Bonnie Maeda, R.N., a certified yoga instructor at Washington Hospital. "Yoga can help people build confidence, improve the way you breathe and can help people cope with chronic illnesses such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, lung disease, and heart disease."

Gentle Yoga for Health & Healing is a yoga program that focuses on slow stretching, flexibility, and deep breathing exercises. Each sequence will include the basic principles of movement, your body's posture, and breathing awareness.
"Yoga has the ability to improve the overall health of the body," says Maeda.
"This class is intended to help women improve their breathing, blood circulation and increase their energy levels."

The next six-week session will take place on Thursdays starting September 24, 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. No previous yoga experience is necessary.

Potential Physiological Benefits of Yoga Include:
* Improving breathing quality and efficiency
* Reducing muscle tension and fatigue
* Improving flexibility of the joints
* Increasing energy levels
* Improving quality and duration of sleep

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 and 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," says Maeda. "I've taught a 95 year-old woman in the past so I encourage women of all ages, abilities and body types to join our group."

Classes are now forming for the Gentle Yoga Program for health and healing. To learn more about this class and other Washington Women's Center education and exercise programs, call (510) 608-1356 or visit: www.whhs.com/womens-health.


Gentle Yoga for Health and Healing

When: Thursdays starting September 24, 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 (Suite 145) 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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