Week 3: Yoga for Health, Flexibility

Farai Chideya stretches at Yoga Works in Santa Monica, Calif.

Farai Chideya stretches at Yoga Works in Santa Monica, Calif. Devin Robins, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Devin Robins, NPR

My trip to Yoga Works in Santa Monica, Calif., was the first time I've done yoga in more than a year. Yoga has a reputation for being all mellow and soft — but often, that could not be further from the truth.

Since my weigh-in last week, I've lost three pounds. I've biked, walked and done sit-ups. But yoga has me whupped.

My workout was guided by James Brown — yes, he's named after the Hardest Working Man in Show Business — who led our 15-person class through some of the traditional poses of this ancient art.

Yoga has become a hot trend — according to the magazine Yoga Journal, an estimated 16 million Americans spend almost $3 billion a year on classes and products. Yoga is being used as a mind-body workout everywhere from schools to prisons to hospitals.



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