Yes, you CAN do yoga! -

Yes, you CAN do yoga!

Have you put off trying yoga because you think you're not flexible enough? Or you've heard of people getting injured? Or you think you have to sweat it out in a heated room?

America Now Wellness Expert Peggy Hall used to be a skeptic too, until her husband introduced her to her first yoga class -- and she got so hooked, she ultimately became certified as a yoga instructor.

Here, she sets the record straight about this ancient tradition with modern day applications:

1. First, yoga is not a religion...and you don't have to be a vegetarian to do it.

"Yoga is more of an outlook, an approach to living, a way of reducing stress and feeling better -- mind, body and spirit," says Peggy. She calls yoga a "toolkit" for better living.

2. Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means "union" or connection. 

The idea is that you connect your body and mind through the energy of the breath so you're more alert, alive and aware of the present moment, where life takes place.

"With yoga, there's no more sleepwalking through life," Peggy says.

3. Flexibility is not required to do yoga.

In fact, you'll increase your flexibility as you learn to stretch your muscles properly.

"Yoga poses should feel good," Peggy says. "I tell my students that instead of trying to execute a perfect pose, focus on experiencing yourself in the pose, remaining calm, open and free."

4. Injuries can occur with yoga -- if you approach it like a sport or competition.  Instead, follow Peggy's "ABCs" for yoga:

A: Awareness. Modify, adapt or adjust the pose as need be. Don't worry about what anyone else is doing, and never allow a teacher to force you into a pose.

B: Breath. If you hold your breath, you're holding tension in your body.

C: Calm cheerfulness. Peggy's advice is to approach yoga with a sense of cheerful curiosity, and then take that with you into your everyday life!

When it comes to choosing the right yoga class for you, Peggy says that you should try out a lot of different teachers and different classes until you find a good fit.

"There's everything out there from hot yoga to gentle to vigorous to Yoga for Surfers, which is my own special creation," Peggy says. "Yoga is so vast and varied, it's like food -- and the instructor is like a chef! So keep going until you find the class that satisfies your appetite."

Peggy recommends that anyone can give yoga a try.

"It might just change your life, as it did mine," she adds.

Try out Peggy's sample yoga poses at Yoga for Surfers.

Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.

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