Turn Up the Heat on Your Path to Wellness

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    As the days get warmer, many weekend warriors emerge for a summer full of activity. But after a winter indoors, you may find yourself in a fitness rut, or perhaps a bit more out of shape than you thought. This year, resolve to challenge yourself in ways that add to your complete well-being, body and spirit.

    While yoga is nothing new in the Twin Cities, there are plenty of new ways to incorporate this ancient practice into your lifestyle. One of the hottest is Bikram Yoga, performed in a room heated to 105 degrees.

    The heat can sound intimidating, but as even the most amateur athlete knows, warm muscles stretch much more easily — and deeply. The series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises are performed in a sequence to reach all the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the body. The classes increase strength and flexibility, but the benefits don’t stop there.

    “Bikram Yoga is not only a physical workout, but a 90-minute open-eyed meditation,” says Sarah Morse, the owner of Bikram Yoga Saint Paul, a new studio on Dale Street. She has taught this type of yoga for three years and was trained and certified by the creator, Bikram Choudhury. “It is a challenge, but one that is accessible to all ages and abilities. It’s a meditation that starts on the outside. You’re pushing yourself and concentrating fully on the task at hand, freeing the mind from all the problems and annoyances of the day.”

    The Bikram Yoga series of poses encourages proper weight and muscle tone, while increasing energy and flexibility and releasing tension and stress. The heat of the room promotes a cleansing sweat that helps release toxins. It’s a full body workout, from start to finish, and unlike other sports, its benefits will translate to other activities.

    “Bikram Yoga teaches both physical and mental balance. The best part is that anyone can benefit — no matter what shape you’re in,” says Morse. “We have students of all shapes, ages and levels of fitness at Bikram Yoga Saint Paul. One of the greatest rewards for me as a teacher is seeing how every person discovers the ways yoga can improve their physical and mental health.”

    For more information on Bikram Yoga and class schedules, visit www.bikramyogasaintpaul.com or call (651) 225-YOGA (9642).

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