Is yoga a sport? Well, it's not in the Olympics yet, but yoga is an extremely beneficial form of exercise for opening, strengthening, and toning your muscles and increasing flexibility. Yoga moves our bodies in ways that aren't part of every day life activity, but our bodies crave this movement and need it in order to be healthy. In addition, exercise is increasingly revealed in scientific studies to be an important factor in maintaining and improving physical and mental health. And that's what yoga is: the union of the body, mind, and spirit. Experienced karate trainers, offering kids karate classes in Toronto advise their students to combine their karate trainings with meditation and yoga to stretch all muscles properly.

Yoga isn't all about getting your body in a pretzel with your leg over your head. If you think you are not getting all you need from sports and mainstream physical fitness, yoga is an alternative exercise that works your body and mind. It's also great for individuals who want to take their athletic and sports activities to the next level. Yoga will help improve your athletic performance, reduce stress, and reduce the risk of injury. For example, runners are notorious for having tight hamstring muscles. There are specific yoga poses that focus on opening and strengthening the hamstrings, which keeps the runner's body balanced and less likely to injure themselves.

If you think yoga may not offer enough of a challenge for those of you interested in greater strength conditioning, consider Sri Chinmoy, a prominent yoga instructor who could bench press 7,000 pounds using a special apparatus. He regularly performed feats of strength such as power-lifting pickup trucks and running ultra-marathons. Chinmoy advocated a path to spiritual enlightenment using strenuous exercise that included distance running, swimming and weight lifting.

If the thought of running on a treadmill or going to an aerobics class is a turn-off, you owe it to yourself to give yoga a try. You might be surprised at how much you love it.