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Starting a new exercise routine? Consider yoga to strengthen the mind, body & spirit

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - If you think about exercise, images of people on treadmills and lifting weights may come to mind.  This is what many of us perceive as "traditional" exercises.  But traditional is in the eyes of the beholder!

The tradition of yoga dates back maybe 10,000 years, and it's just as relevant today as it has been through the centuries.

Yoga is a discipline that strengthens the mind, body, and spirit.

Suzy Friedman teaches yoga at the Huntsville Hospital Wellness Center in the Medical Mall.

It brings a spiritual environment that produces results for which many are searching.  It's sort of like taking a step -- a leap of faith -- and the bridge will appear.

"A lot of people lose weight.  There is a person in here that has been here for six months and has lost 30 pounds," said Friedman.

"You have to come to yoga to really experience it.  There is a sense of release that comes over you.  It's medically proven that the brain changes in a yoga class," Friedman added.

The serene environment helps build a person's confidence and strength.

"You know, you think it's just folding yourself over, right, and stretching -- you have to get up from that stretch, use your abdominals to get up from that stretch," said Karen Gelmis.  "Your legs to get up from that pose. You are using leg strength and abdominal strength to get in and out of the poses and it's remarkable to me that there is so much strength involved."

Yoga is a discipline for a lifetime. It's a proactive pursuit of health.

"Suzy tells us to prevent problems before occurring, and I look to myself and look at myself and see all sorts of problems occurring," said Zara Renander. "My life creeps along.  So what was I to do?  Yoga was a discipline for me of keeping fit... keeping strong."

Yoga is a pursuit that allow you to realize more clearly that when your gratitude exceeds expectation, it's a good day.

"When I first came to yoga, someone drug me, I didn't need that, I didn't want to do that," said Randy Stewart. "But after about three or six months... my body just said 'thank you.'"

To find out more about the yoga classes at the Huntsville Hospital Wellness Center, call (256) 265-9355.  You can also find more information at huntsvillehospital.org.