Yoga: The perfect full-body workout for the open-minded

Yoga: The perfect full-body workout for the open-minded

Submitted Content
by Dr. Ira Shapiro
Director of the Plaza Chiropractic Center
Old Bridge, New Jersey
If you’ve never tried or even considered yoga, it’s very possible you have it all wrong and are actually missing out on an excellent low-impact method for keeping joints flexible, maintaining muscle tone and managing weight.
So, it’s time to open your mind and dispel the myths. Yoga is not just for females. You’re never too old nor inflexible. It’s not about religion. And, you certainly don’t have to chant.
Here are the facts. Yoga originated in India about 5,000 years ago, well before written records came into existence. The key principles have been passed down for centuries and are now practiced in more than 100 different forms.
In recent years, yoga has become a favorite practice of men and women looking for a total mind-body workout that combines full-body strengthening with stretching and relaxation. More than 20 million Americans practice yoga, according to the 2012 Yoga in America study. Nearly 20 percent of these practitioners are men.
Plus, even though the stances may appear complicated or intimidating, there are movements that can be modified, simplified and adjusted to fit any age group or fitness level. In fact, yoga’s gentle, flowing motions are ideal for people, who are suffering from arthritis and require daily physical activity to keep flexible and improve joint function. It has even been introduced to the military as a method for dealing with anxiety, trauma and injury.
As for athletes, yoga offers a creative way to enhance core strength and endurance, while improving range of motion and reducing performance anxiety through enhanced breathing techniques. It is the perfect cross training complement.
Remember Diamond Dallas Page, the former professional wrestler? He became so enamored with yoga he started his own studio. Even the Seattle Seahawks have embraced yoga as part of the entire team’s training routine.
Now, even better news. It doesn’t take a lot of time. A few minutes a day can enhance muscle strength and improve balance in addition to boosting mood and controlling stress. Specialized equipment isn’t required and it can be done virtually anywhere, allowing each individual to work at their own pace and according to their own abilities.
Where to start? Here are some basic yoga moves to whet your appetite. However, it’s always best to begin any new training regimen or method with the advice and consult of trained, certified professionals. Above all, yoga is supposed to feel good. Don’t push too far too soon. And experiment. There are literally hundreds of poses from which to choose.

  • Mountain Pose: Stand tall with feet together, shoulders relaxed, weight evenly distributed through your body. Raise arms straight up with palms facing each other. Reach toward the sky for 30 seconds to one minute.
  • Warrior: Stand with legs together and then extend right leg forward until there is a three- to four-foot space between both legs. Look forward with right foot pointed directly in front and left foot turned slightly inward. Bring hands to hips. Relax shoulders. Extend arms out to sides, palms down. Bend right knee 90 degrees, keeping knee over ankle; gaze out over right hand. Stay for one minute. Switch sides and repeat.
  • Tree Pose: Start in mountain pose. Shift weight onto left leg keeping hips facing forward. Place the sole of your right foot inside your left thigh. Find your balance and then place hands a prayer position directly in-front of your chest. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute. Switch to other side.

For more information on creating better, fitter and healthier lives for the entire family please contact the Plaza Chiropractic Center at 732-723-0023 or visit Our trained staff will be happy to work with you, no matter your age or condition, to develop a safe and effective wellness program that complements your life style and offers long-lasting fitness rewards.
Dr. Ira A. Shapiro is the director of the Plaza Chiropractic Center, which he founded in Old Bridge, New Jersey in 1984. A two-time member of the U.S. Olympics medical staff, Throughout the past three decades, he has provided safe, gentle and effective chiropractic care to tens of thousands of patients ranging from community members to professional athletes competing at the highest international levels.