From YOU: The Owner’s Manual, by RealAge experts Michael F. Roizen, MD, and Mehmet C. Oz, MD
One, it increases your flexibility. Your muscles aren’t static tissues. They move, they expand, they contract. The more flexible they are, the better range of motion you have and the less stress you’ll put on your joints doing normal activities.
Two, yoga increases your strength. No, you’re not holding any weights in yoga, and yes, yoga looks more tranquil than a Pacific Ocean sunset. But some of these poses are as taxing as they are relaxing. They force your muscles to lift and hold your body weight, which counts as resistance training.
Doing the Sun Salutation every day works most of your muscle groups in one flowing routine.
|1. Stand with both feet touching. Bring your hands together, palm to palm, at the heart. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed. Exhale.|
|2. Raise your arms upward. Slowly bend backward, stretching arms above the head. Relax your neck. Inhale.|
|3. Exhale while you slowly bend forward until your hands are in line with your feet, touching your head to your knees, if possible. Press your palms down, fingertips in line with toes (bend your knees if you have to), and touch the floor.|
|4. Move your right leg back behind your body in a wide lunge. As you inhale, keep your hands and feet on the ground, with your left foot between your hands, and raise your head.|
|5. Bring your left foot together with your right foot.|
|6. Exhale as you lower your body, resting on your forearms.|
|7. As you inhale, lower your pelvis to the ground and raise your head and bend backward as far as possible, while straightening your arms.|
|8. Putting your hand on the ground and keeping your arms straight, raise your hips and align your head with your arms. Exhale.|
|9. Slowly inhale and bend your right leg to take a wide forward step. Keeping your hands firmly on the ground, place your right foot between your hands and lift your head up.|
|10. Keeping your hands in place, bring both feet together. Straighten your legs but keep your waist bent and upper body lowered. Touch your head to your knees, if possible. Exhale.|
|11. Slowly rise, straightening your back into a standing pose. Bend backward, stretching your arms above your head as you inhale.|
|12. Return to position number 1. Exhale.|
Remember, yoga is not about ego. It’s all about how much you can do -- knowing your body and its limits.