Challenging the Physical Fitness Stereotypes, One Yoga Pose at a Time At Heartsong Yoga

When searching for a new fitness routine, many people tend to skip over yoga, believing it isn't a fitness regimen at all but instead simply a meditation. While there are aspects of meditation involved in the practice of yoga, it encompasses so much more, including physical fitness.

"Yoga is a holistic practice that brings health and vitality to the body, mind and spirit," Shelia Magalhaes, owner of Heartsong Yoga in East Longmeadow, said. "It is much more than just exercise, it is a practice designed to strengthen the physical body, relax and calm the nervous system, and quiet the busy mind."

One of the only physical regimens to focus on mind, body, and spirit, yoga concentrates on your total health, not just one aspect of it. One of the perks of yoga is that it can be tailored to any body, regardless of shape, size, or flexibility. The practice ranges from slow, soft movements coupled with meditation to more intense, challenging yoga workouts. Despite mostly being practiced in group settings, yoga classes are without judgment as everyone focuses on their inner selves, not what is occurring around the room during class.

Of course, yoga is not without substantial health benefits. Several recent studies have shown immense benefits for those suffering from trauma, anxiety, depression, insomnia, weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and more.

"Yoga helps you to feel more comfortable in your body, more relaxed in your mind, and allows you to make healthy lifestyle choices over time," Magalhaes said. For individuals struggling to manage stress, yoga has been known to help. The practice guides you on the path to understanding how to manage stress by resetting the body to relaxed responses.With a routine yoga practice, you'll be able to normalize heart rate and blood pressure, restore healthy breathing patterns, and even improve digestion.

"A yoga practice can help a student become more responsive and less reactive when faced with stressful situations," Magalhaes said. "And the philosophy of yoga helps us to learn to be more accepting, patient and less attached to outcomes."

Heartsong Yoga wants to encourage and expand the practice of yoga, helping newcomers to the practice understand and appreciate the benefits. The studio strives to put forth a warm and welcoming vibe, showing they are inclusive to everyone, not just yoga masters.

"We are proud of the way we meet and greet new students, especially those who are nervous about attending their first class," Magalhaes said. The East Longmeadow-based studio, just three miles from Springfield, welcomes all ages and strengths, believing that you do not have to be perfectly strong, healthy, or flexible to begin.

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