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Yoga is Australia’s fastest growing fitness trend, so grab a mat and give it a go

Yoga is Australia’s fastest growing fitness activity according to recent Roy Morgan research, with one in ten Australians over 14 currently engaged in a yoga practice of one sort or another. Apparently it’s now more popular than plenty of other sporting activities like soccer, cricket, tennis and golf – and enjoyed by both men and women. So what’s all the fuss about?

Can one discipline offer so many positive outcomes for living and health? Yoga can indeed offer all of this and more! The usual excuses of “I don’t have time”, “I’m not flexible” or “It’s too slow” don’t apply because the beauty of it is, yoga can be adapted to suit different needs.

Yoga is an ancient art with its roots in India. Yoga means “union” and you can consider this as finding harmony of body, mind and breath. There are many styles of yoga – examples of the classical styles that came to the west include Hatha Yoga, Iyengar Yoga and Asthanga Yoga.

Today there are plenty of modern Yoga styles which have evolved, including Prana Vinyasa Yoga, Power Yoga, Jivamukti Yoga, and Yin Yoga, each bringing its own approach to health and fitness.

You’ll also find yoga specialisation including restorative and therapeutic, pre and post-natal, yoga for kids and teens, corporate yoga, chair yoga and laughter. In fact there’s a yoga style for everyone, with classes going on in fitness centres, school halls, church halls and studios all over the country.

A typical yoga class lasts between 60 and 90 minutes and will include a blend of elements to create breath awareness and a sense of vitality and wellbeing, including:

• Asana (postures and movement)
• Pranayama (breathing techniques)
• Meditation/ mindfulness
• Relaxation.

Some classes will flow gentle and restorative, others which are more dynamic and energetic will challenge you and make you sweat. Yoga is non-competitive, and regular practice increases vitality and energy levels, improves mental and physical fitness and self-awareness and generally makes you feel good. You will “do” yoga at class and take the benefits into daily living.

With 2017 just starting, have you made a resolution to get fit, slow down, be mindful and take time out for you? To find a qualified yoga teacher, go to iyta. org.au or yogaaustralia. org.au. You’ll find a wide selection of yoga classes across Hornsby and Ku ring gai. Talk to one of the teachers and they’ll help you choose the class best suited to you, especially if you have a specific need. Always consult your GP before commencing a new exercise activity. Namaste.

You will “do” yoga at class and take the benefits into daily living People say yoga helps them

• increase fitness and build strength
• lose weight and get healthy
• play their weekend sport better
• learn to stretch, increase flexibility and develop balance
• breathe, relax and create a sense of calm
• develop balance and focus to help everyday stress
• assist through illness by encouraging mental and physical stamina
• create some space and find “me” again.

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Janice Pitt is a yoga teacher in Thornleigh with 14 years’ experience in teaching yoga to the local community, with classes for people of all levels aiming to restore harmony and balance while bringing flexibility and strength to body and mind. www.yogapulse.com.au.

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