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Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice that originated in India. There are a broad variety of schools, practices, and goals, and yoga is now practiced throughout the world. While the goals and practices of yoga may differ, what is shared is the mental, emotional, and physical benefits.

Person sitting cross-legged stretching to the sideYoga is for everyone! No matter your age, your activity level, and what kind of health you’re in, yoga moves and poses can be modified to work with and for you. Yoga has been known to support the overall health of people who have experienced trauma, or struggling with anxiety, and depression, as well as veterans, young people, older adults, and people who are incarcerated.

Meditation and deep breathing are core components of yoga. Some people find it challenging to practice meditation alone. If meditation isn’t your thing, and you want something more active, yoga is worth a try.

Our physical and mental health are deeply connected, and stress exacerbates both physical problems, like irritable bowel syndrome, and emotional health conditions, like depression and anxiety. So when we’re less stressed, our whole bodies benefit. Yoga has a spiritual component to it, and many people experience feelings of gratitude, empathy, and forgiveness, as well as a sense that they’re part of something bigger.

Health Benefits

There are tons of physical health benefits of yoga, from increased flexibility, balance, blood flow, and muscle strength, to boosted immunity. Yoga also improves lung function, improves digestion, and can prevent serious bowel conditions from occurring.

As if that wasn’t enough, yoga also has tremendous mental and emotional health benefits. Practicing yoga helps you focus and sleep better, as it relaxes the nervous system. It gives you inner strength, and can even boost the benefits of any kind of medications you’re taking or therapy you’re doing.
Person with short hair standing on one leg with arms to chest

Where to Find a Yoga Class

Many companies offer free yoga classes to their employees, like the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Some libraries, community centers, and senior centers also offer free or low cost yoga.

Find a yoga class near you here, or try out these yoga poses for stress relief on your own here!

Written By:


Community Suicide Prevention Coordinator

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