Yoga: Relaxing the body to heal the mind

GAYLORD — Over the years Yoga has become a go-to work out with a cultlike following. Yoga has become synonymous with tight abs, firm butts and tight stretchy pants. We hear the term yoga and instantly increased flexibility and strength comes to mind. But, yoga has a little secret — sometimes it makes you cry.

While it is true that yoga can transform you physically we hear very little about what happens to you emotionally when you begin a regular yoga practice.

"Yoga postures (are) really not exercises," said Dr. Gary Saks or Saks Wellness Center, 1447 S. Otsego Ave. "They're really positions you get into that are meant to be held for some period of time and you relax into. It affects body chemistry, affects brain chemistry, it affects the hormones that your body produces. There are 84 (postures), and they're designed to affect the body in certain, in very specific ways."

Yoga enriches the mind and spirit. Our bodies and emotions differ every day, and yoga helps manage that.

"Yoga is very much focused on creating a separation between our innermost self, our true self and those things that are going on around us," Saks said.

There is no shortage of ways to begin or deepen your practice in Gaylord. Here are a few places around town where you can hit the mat.

• Yoga-45 — Located in a converted garage in Gaylord's lovely downtown, this intimate studio offers a wide selection of classes and activities for all ages and experience levels. 148 W. Main St. (Entrance On Court Street); (989) 350-4660

• Song Of the Morning — Located in the Pigeon River State Forest. Song of the Morning offers a fully immersive yogic experience. Whether you’re looking for a personal retreat or an opportunity to learn spiritual tools, Song of the Morning awaits you. 9607 East Sturgeon Valley Road, Vanderbilt; (989) 983-4107

• Orion & The Stone Unicorn — Located in Gaylord's historic downtown, this curious little shop is the place to go if you are looking to get metaphysical. Gentle yoga is offered here starting inSeptember. 122 S Otsego Ave.; (989) 731-6400

• Otsego County Sportsplex — This facility is home to so many of Gaylord's beloved activities. From hockey to swimming, this place has it all including yoga. Slow flow, Vinyasa, and multi-level classes are available. 1250 Gornick Ave. (989) 858-3400