Namaste! Happy Yoga Day USA


By: , SparkPeople Blogger

Namaste! Today is Yoga Day USA--a great time to try out a yoga class.

I started practicing yoga in college, when a friend and I signed up for a weekly 90-minute hatha yoga class at our university rec center. With plenty of stretching, basic poses and a slow pace, this was a great introductory class. Over the next few years I took classes at my gym and did DVDs at home, but I really didn't consider yoga much more than a nice stretching workout that helped tone my muscles a bit.

Almost two years ago, a good friend of mine started training as a yoga teacher. She came to visit and took me to an Ashtanga (sometimes called power) yoga class. I'm naturally flexible but not very strong, so the class was a great combination of comfort and challenges.

By the time we left Savasana (corpse pose) and chanted a closing "Om," I was hooked. I felt so centered, so relaxed, so healthy. I now make time for almost daily yoga practice. Sometimes I take classes, sometimes I do a DVD, but most of the time I practice on my own. On busy days, I just do stretching poses for 10 minutes or so, but usually I find time for 30 or more minutes.

In addition to the fitness benefits (flexibility, balance, coordination and strength), yoga offers relaxation and spiritual benefits for many people.

Today, many studios around the country are hosting free yoga classes and workshops. Find one near you.

If you can't get to a class, check out some of our yoga resources:
A Beginner's Guide to Yoga
Yoga Body Bliss
Relax Your Mind and Body with Yoga

Do you practice yoga? What type of yoga do you prefer? What pose is your favorite? For those of you who practice yoga regularly, which pose is the most challenging for you?

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  • 55
    I started yoga this fall. An instructor comes to our school once a week for an hour of yoga. She is wonderful! I am trying to add another 20-30 minute workout during the week. Our counselor does yoga with my class once a week. - 1/25/2009   12:44:34 AM
  • 54
    I've tried yoga, my daughter as a couple of videos and she loves it. I just couldn't get into it - 1/24/2009   11:55:37 PM
  • 53
    I've tried yoga only once or twice, and that was a long time ago. I think I should try it again, as it might help me build some strength. - 1/24/2009   11:47:37 PM
  • 52
    I love Yoga. Due to some back problems & a large gut I do modified yoga, which an instructor who knew my history helpedmto create for me. I love the prayer position. - 1/24/2009   10:07:39 PM
  • 51
    Yay! I just recently have tried yoga. Might I suggest (for those who don't have the time or money or commitment to go to classes) to go to and searching for beginning yoga poses. Have fun and happy yoga day! :D - 1/24/2009   9:57:02 PM
  • 50
    How ironic. This morning I decided to go to yoga. This was my third yoga class. I decided it's not for me. I gave it three honest tries!! :) - 1/24/2009   9:44:02 PM
    Love yoga and get great results, I need to work on doing regularly. My joint pain goes away within a week and I see increased flexablity with each session. - 1/24/2009   9:32:58 PM

    Nice posting. Do you know about these yoga books?

    - 1/24/2009   9:20:06 PM
  • 47
    I've just started yoga - once a week at the gym. I'm still sore in my hips afterwards, but I am pretty sure it will help me become more flexible. - 1/24/2009   8:31:21 PM
    I love yoga! I take 3 classes a week at my gym. I also have a couple of DVD's. I am not very good with ballance so I am improving on that. - 1/24/2009   8:27:10 PM
  • 45
    When I did ashtanga yoga, I felt great, but there isn't a teacher in town. I've tried hatha twice and ended up pulling a piriformis muscle. Both times hobbled around for about 6 months until it healed. I think I'll try Tai Chi instead. - 1/24/2009   6:37:36 PM
    Namaste! Yoga and pilates via dvd or at my gym get me through each stressful day that a fulltime student can endure...keep up the great work everyone! - 1/24/2009   6:21:24 PM
  • 43
    I love YOGA! My yoga teacher has given us a yoga challenge: 40 Days of Yoga. She gave us a chart to record 10 minutes of extra yoga every day for the next 40 days. Unfortunately, the gym wouldn't let her do the Yoga Day free class. Nice alternative, PJ (my yoga teacher)! HAPPY YOGA DAY!!!!!
    Join the Yoga Lovers SparkTeam! - 1/24/2009   5:27:13 PM
  • 42
    Thanks to the member who suggested I've been thinking about starting, but my school conflicts with all the newbie classes at my gym. I didn't know what else to do and didn't want to join a studio on top of what I pay for the gym. That is the best website I've seen in a very long time!! Thanks again!!! - 1/24/2009   3:59:30 PM
  • 41
    I love yoga too!!! Happy Yoga Day - 1/24/2009   3:54:04 PM
  • 40
    I used to go the the YMCA and they offered a Yoga class . . I loved it!! I am no longer a member, but I have some videos so I can start doing Yoga at home on my own. I am not real flexible, so this has helped me a lot. I love the stretching and how I feel after doing Yoga . . relaxed, calm and centered. This makes me want to start my home Yoga program right now. - 1/24/2009   3:25:33 PM
  • 39
    I love yoga - I take a weekly hatha yoga class and practice at home with DVDs, wii fit or in my office with yogatoday. - 1/24/2009   3:19:07 PM
  • 38
    Thanks to I have been practicing yoga nearly every day. It really has helped improved my quality of life by calming my nerves and eased back/joint pain. I would be a mess without yoga. Namaste! - 1/24/2009   2:56:00 PM
  • 37
    This makes me want to take a Yoga class - 1/24/2009   2:47:38 PM
  • 36
    I do Bikram yoga and love it! It gets your blood pumping and is refreshing at the same time. Happy Yoga Day! - 1/24/2009   2:47:21 PM
  • 35
    I started taking yoga about a year ago. Before starting I thought yoga wasn't manly enough for me, but I've become a changed man. Today I would be totally lost without yoga. I've become more flexible and stronger due to yoga.
    Namaste Everyone! - 1/24/2009   2:42:24 PM
  • 34
    We had yoga once a week at school a few years back. When that ended, I haven't gotten to go. I miss it. - 1/24/2009   2:41:35 PM
  • 33
    Yoga does so much to keep me centered. I prefer the gentle type or Hatha. Vinyasa or power is too much jumping around for me--I don't feel the flow!!
    Anyway, I highly recommend yoga for everyone. - 1/24/2009   2:32:46 PM
  • 32
    WOW happy YOGA!!! day people I love yoga it keeps me @ peace - 1/24/2009   2:26:59 PM
    I love yoga ! I've been practicing for a couple of years now. One thing I'll say is that it really has enhanced every other sport I participate in. My balance and flexibility have really improved. I wish I'd started it sooner.

    - 1/24/2009   2:06:38 PM
  • JULCAT51
    I have practiced yoga off and on through the years. I love how the stretches ease the body and make me stand taller. My favorite is child's pose because of stretch to the lower back and let's face it; I could sleep in that pose. - 1/24/2009   1:59:19 PM
  • 29
    I take a weekly yoga class when I am at our summer home in Michigan. I just haven't found a great instructor for the winter yet. My yoga instructor in Michigan turned me on to the 5 Tibetian Rites. I have been doing them almost every day since late October and I can see a big difference in the strength of my arms and lower back, in particular. It also seems to ramp up my energy for the day and is even good for getting rid of a headach. When you start this group of exercises you start with 3 repititions of each of the 5 rites. Then you slowly work your way up to 21 of each. I am at 11 reps so far and hope to make it up to 21 before I go back to Michigan in May.
    Try it. (lots of instructions on the net) Namaste! - 1/24/2009   1:57:08 PM
  • 28
    I have been practicing yoga intermittently, for 10 years. I feel amazing when I am practicing daily. I began a renewed commitment to yoga practice with the New Year.

    Thank you SparkPeople for letting us know that it is Yoga Day!
    I have several yoga tapes. My favorite are YogaJournal with Rodney Yee.

    You can practice yoga at 300 pounds. The poses will become more centered with more practice.

    Namaste... - 1/24/2009   1:48:45 PM
  • 27
    No I never have. - 1/24/2009   1:23:40 PM
  • 26
    Gonna give it a try, looks like fun to me. - 1/24/2009   1:18:45 PM
  • 25
    They offered a yoga class at my school once a week after the kids left for 6 weeks, I completed the 6 weeks and wasn't going back, but the asst. principal paid for me to have another 6 weeks as a birthday gift. Now - I created the sign-up sheet to see if we can have another session. Sadly only 5 have signed up, so it may not even occur. It took a while for me to begin to like it, and I have yet to experience the sense of peace, but I'm willing to keep trying. Namaste! - 1/24/2009   12:57:29 PM
    I just got the basic yoga workout for dummies at the dollar general store for a dollar. I am going to try it out. My friend has it and she love it. - 1/24/2009   12:55:43 PM
  • 23
    I have a one-hour yoga tape and my church has a one-hour class for free every Tuesday evening!

    Jenny* - 1/24/2009   12:51:34 PM
  • 22
    I love yoga! Mostly I work out with DVD's. My fav's are anything by sarah Ivanhoe. I use Yoga Booty Ballet for more toning and I really love Kundalini Yoga (it is a bit strange at first)! - 1/24/2009   12:51:34 PM
  • 21
    I am going to give it a try .. - 1/24/2009   12:45:39 PM
  • 20
    I have been practicing yoga for about 4 years and I am truly hooked! I started it as a way to help me with a huge transition in my life and found that benefits of mind, body and spirit. I start every morning with a sun salutation and try to get to a class twice a week. When I can't get to a class, I use the that was suggested here by Spark People. I highly recommend yoga for any body type! - 1/24/2009   11:24:48 AM
  • 19
    I have a couple of Yoga DVD's I tried then out once. Not sure if it is for me or not. It wasn't too bad I guess. Maybe I need to give it another try and stay at it for a little bit. - 1/24/2009   11:15:10 AM
  • 18
    Can someone who weighs close to 300lbs do yoga?? - 1/24/2009   11:11:32 AM
  • 17
    I love yoga and don't do it enough!!! I prefer going to a yoga studio...I don't really like DVDs!!! My favorite poses are pigeon and tree...I'm learning to like handstands but they still scare me!!! - 1/24/2009   11:03:57 AM
  • 16
    I have a few Yoga dvds. Denise Austin and the Biggest loser. They are really good. - 1/24/2009   10:54:54 AM
  • BMORE73
    I have a few yoga DVDs and tried to get into it but it is not for me. On my Power 90 DVD we start off with Power Yoga and I don't like it so I skip that part. Maybe I will give it another chance. I am not flexible and some of the poses hurt my poor joints. I will pop one in today and take another look at it. Hopefully, I will see the positive potential. - 1/24/2009   10:36:29 AM
    I love to do power yoga 3 or 4 times per week for 1 hour. I would love to do a more "gentle" yoga on the other days, but I only manage it once in while. I love downward facing dog and bridge poses. I find arm balance poses to be very challenging (ie - fall down all the time, lol). I love to try all poses, even the really challenging ones and hope to be able to do those poses with grace one day. Yoga helps me build strength, balance and peace of mind.
    CTPATT - there are free yoga classes online at, on the Oxygen channel - "Inhale", and FitTV "Namaste Yoga". - 1/24/2009   10:09:08 AM
  • 13
    I believe that more people use yoga than realize it. Many of the stretching poses are incorporated into other exercises. - 1/24/2009   10:07:50 AM
  • 12
    until they make a full contact competitive yoga class - I'll pass... - 1/24/2009   10:03:28 AM
    I just thought I would let everyone know that I believe Yoga to be just about the best way to exercise, honor and help your body. My mom is 85 years old and has been teaching yoga exercise classes for the last 30 years. While I did try it for about 5 years (and did feel all the benefits of it) I simply do not have the patience and I am worse for it. I can't find a way to block out my day and chores to get the benefit of even the short hour of time. I am hoping that Sparkpeople hints will help me get back to it though. Namaste! - 1/24/2009   9:41:13 AM
  • 10
    I want to try yoga too. I have pattered around with a DVD or two but ever since losing weight I have really grown an interest in becoming a "yoga chick" haha - 1/24/2009   9:22:32 AM
  • 9
    I do some at home but I have yet to attend a class, all the classes around me conflict with my job :( but I will go ONE day !! - 1/24/2009   8:45:21 AM
  • 8
    I started taking yoga classes in my mid 50's. I had been having a lot of trouble with my back, neck, and feeling like my whole body was wracked with arthritis! I was too young to have to feel this bad! Even after only one class or two, I could tell that I was feeling better in the mornings...not as stiff and by the time I'd been going for a few weeks, my back, and neck were pain free. I could tell that I was so much more flexible and stronger. Now, if I wake up feeling sore, I know exactly which stretches to do to slowly relax those sore muscles - it's wonderful! You're never to old to begin. Our local senior center began chair yoga classes for the elderly and the ladies are saying they've never enjoyed anything more. My yoga teacher said that a big part of her early morning classes are doctors who stop on their way into work.....they know the wonderful benefits that yoga can do for your body. Try it and enjoy listening to your body sigh a thankful prayer each morning. - 1/24/2009   8:44:22 AM
  • 7
    I don't do Yoga but have always been fascinated by it. I think people who do it are stronger and more in command of themselves. They are very self controlled people. I think if they had a yoga class here where I live it would go by good. - 1/24/2009   8:39:19 AM
  • 6
    Yoga is a huge part of the joy and centeredness in my life. And at 41 I've finally learned how to do a handstand! My favorite is Anusara but I'll try most everything. - 1/24/2009   8:35:36 AM

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