Yoga for Everyone Anywhere

NH Magazine Sep. 2011 (view/download complete article)

Look at it this way: If you are going to bend over backwards to get into shape, why not do it with yoga style and grace?

Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India, whose goal is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility.

When you think of "yoga people," certain celebrities might come to mind. Famous touters of the practice like Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna and Jennifer Aniston often claim that yoga is entirely responsible for their perfect physiques. Singer Sting has added great sex to the list of reasons to do yoga. But, even in celebrity circles, "yoga people" cut a pretty broad swath across the population. Comic Jerry Seinfeld does yoga. Bad boy Charlie Sheen thinks yoga is "winning!" AARP cover girls Candice Bergen and Jamie Lee Curtis credit yoga for their well-preserved looks.

The point is, yoga is being done by all sorts of people. Even here in New Hampshire, arguably the opposite end of the universe from Hollywood, yoga is all over the place.

Not only is there no shortage of yoga studios in New Hampshire, there is astonishing variety among them, from Kripalu, which recommends movement "in response to the body's wisdom," to Power Yoga, a Western invention that takes a fitness-oriented approach, to Iyengar, which encourages the use of props such as blankets, socks and straps to bring the body into alignment.

If you're not a yoga person, the choices can be as puzzling as the Sanskrit terms associated with the practice (asanas, mudras, bahkti, dharana, spandex, etc.). But talk to just a few people within New Hampshire's ever-growing yoga circles and you'll hear a consistent message: there's a yoga style, studio or philosophy for everyone, and you'll know yours when you find it.

Namaste, indeed.

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