In spite of what you might have heard, yoga does not require contortions, a slender body, or being 20-something. Hatha yoga is a simple, at-your-own-pace practice that uses poses, known as asanas, to help you stretch muscles, work your core, and improve your sense of balance. The only person you’re competing against is yourself and your level of fitness is up to you. No huffing and puffing or sweating is required, unless you try Birkam, or hot, yoga, which takes place in a studio heated to 106 degrees. Most studios are warm but not hot.

As with any exercise, it’s important to warm up first. The room should also be comfortably warm, or you can practice outside in the summer.Yoga routines start with poses that stretch the muscles and then move on to asanas that deepen the stretches and add balancing to the routine. Poses are done standing or lying down and always allow for a bit of relaxation between each.

There are many types of yoga to choose from and studios in almost every town and city. You can buy a membership or punch card, and most allow you to come on a drop-in basis for a class-by-class fee.

Increased fitness is only one of the benefits. Yoga practitioners tend to have lower blood pressure and to be more calm and centered. If you want to improve both your body and your mood, why not give yoga a try?