Want to tone up, feel happier and improve your RealAge? Try yoga. Here's why: First, yoga makes you more flexible. Your muscles aren't static tissues; they move, expand and contract. The more flexible your muscles are, the better your range of motion. Secondly, yoga makes you stronger. The weight-bearing moves count as resistance training -- and that builds strength as well as bone density. Finally, research shows yoga, with its deep breathing and tension-reducing poses, can help boost your mood and relieve anxiety.
Still not convinced? Try this easy, 12-step Sun Salutation. We'll bet you'll be hooked in no time.
1. Stand with both feet touching. Bring your hands together, palm to palm, at the heart. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed. Exhale.
2. Raise your arms upward. Slowly bend backward, stretching arms above the head. Relax your neck. Inhale.
3. Exhale while you slowly bend forward until your hands are in line with your feet, touching your head to your knees, if possible. Press your palms down, fingertips in line with toes (bend your knees if you have to), and touch the floor.
4. Move your right leg back behind your body in a wide lunge. As you inhale, keep your hands and feet on the ground, with your left foot between your hands, and raise your head.
5. Inhale as you bring your left foot to meet your your right foot at the back of the mat, keeping your feet hip-distance apart.
6. Exhale as you lower your body, keeping your elbows by your side.
7. As you inhale, lower your pelvis to the ground and raise your head and bend backward as far as possible, while straightening your arms.
8. Putting your hand on the ground and keeping your arms straight, raise your hips and align your head with your arms. Exhale.
9. Slowly inhale and bend your left leg to take a wide forward step. Keeping your hands firmly on the ground, place your left foot between your hands and lift your head up.
10. Keeping your hands in place, bring both feet together. Straighten your legs but keep your waist bent and upper body lowered. Touch your head to your knees, if possible. Exhale.
11. Slowly rise, straightening your back into a standing pose. Bend backward, stretching your arms above your head as you inhale.
12. Return to position number 1. Exhale.