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Can yoga help me to relax or sleep better? YES - A combination of stretching and breathing practices (to relieve physical tensions) and yoga nidra (to ease anxiety and mental tensions) may remove many of the obstacles that prevent a good night's sleep.

Can yoga help me to get fit and flexible? YES - With regular practice, yoga can make a substantial difference to your fitness and flexibility. It may improve digestion and elimination, increase the vital capacity of your lungs and strengthen and stabilise the core muscle groups of the body. It tends to build long, lean muscle rather than bulky biceps.

Can yoga help me to ease my bad back? YES - in many cases, when done with awareness. Gentle stretches and twists (if appropriate) can ease out tense muscles and release the joints and surrounding fascia and tissues.

Yoga is not really about being bendy or being able to wrap your feet behind your head (although you might think this is a neat party trick). Yoga will help develop your flexibility and strength, and with time and practice you may be surprised that you can touch your toes. But more importantly yoga will help you to develop awareness, balance and mental flexibility that can be applied to your daily life.
And "being good at yoga" is irrelevant. Yoga is non-competitive and is about developing yourself, not being compared to others.

PLEASE REMEMBER that it is very important that you let your yoga teacher know BEFORE the class begins if you have any medical condition or are on medication. You should also consult with your GP or other qualified healthcare professional if you are currently receiving or have recently had treatment.

And you can print out a health questionnaire (click to download and print), fill it in and bring it with you to the first class.
(If this is difficult you can get a form when you come to the class.)

You can practise yoga at any age, whether it be 10, 20, 40, 60 or 80, because the practices begin gradually and are simple enough to exercise the different parts of the entire body. It is not necessary to practise advanced yoga like standing on your head or performing intricate contortions. Asana is a practise through which you attain awareness of the body, release tension and stress from different joints and muscles and come to a state of relaxation in which you are physically comfortable whatever you do.

Swami Naranjananda

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