Yoga is often considered an intense workout with the obvious physical health benefits of flexibility, cardiovascular strengthening and balance. Yoga practice also has plenty of mental health benefits.
Cortney Singleton of Orlando Power Yoga says yoga is not just about sweating and bending your body into difficult poses. It also has a meditative and relaxing side.
“Yoga doesn’t have to only be a rigorous, sweaty workout,” she says. “There are many types of yoga. It can also be a gentle, moving prayer.”
Orlando Power Yoga offers Yin Yoga. This slower-paced technique focuses on stretching and holding poses for longer periods of time – time that can be used to meditate or mentally focus.
Winter Park resident Maria Reyes-Jones has been practicing yoga for about 12 years. She enjoys the more strenuous styles and says she is often able to achieve a meditative state while doing yoga regardless of the style.
“There are times when I feel extremely relaxed and peaceful while I’m doing yoga,” she says.
Empower Yoga of Waterford Lakes and Inspirit Yoga of Southwest Orlando both offer chair yoga classes, which are aimed at seniors as well as the disabled. These softer styles of yoga prove it is not just for ultra-fit Hollywood actresses or Ironman athletes.
Daniel Graxton, director of Lineages Buddhist Meditation Center, points out that the yoga, a Sanskrit word, means union. In Eastern tradition, yoga usually refers to humanity’s union with the metaphysical. The action you take to achieve that unity can be so much more than bending and stretching.
“You can do yoga of laughing, yoga of washing the dishes or yoga of walking your dog,” Graxton says. “The more accurate definition of yoga is to focus and be in the moment.”