Alton, IL – If you’re looking for effective ways to improve your health without medication or exotic herbs, look no further than Yoga, Py-Yoga, Tai Chi and prenatal yoga classes now offered at Alton Memorial Hospital. These classes are conveniently scheduled around your busy schedule and offer safe exercise. They are also proven to be beneficial for everything from stress relief to strengthening.

Certified yoga instructor Betsy Smith leads all classes. New six-week sessions of all classes begin next week.

Yoga is offered on Thursday evenings (starting Feb. 24) from 5:30 to 7 p.m. or Saturday mornings (starting Feb. 26) from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at the Human Motion Institute Rehabilitation and Sports Performance Center, 226 Regional Drive in Alton between Target and the Alton Square mall.

The Tai Chi session begins Tuesday, Feb. 22, and runs for six consecutive Tuesdays. There is an afternoon session from 1 to 2:15 p.m. or an evening session from 7:15 to 8:30 p.m. at the 226 Regional Drive location.

The Py-Yoga session begins Tuesday, Feb. 22, and runs for six consecutive Tuesdays from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the 226 Regional Drive location.

There is also a prenatal yoga session on six consecutive Thursdays beginning Feb. 24 from 7:15 to 8:30 p.m. in the Hatch meeting rooms at Alton Memorial Hospital.

The cost for each six-week session is $42. Call 1-800-392-0936 for more information or to register. Fees can be paid at the first class of the session.

Yoga is for all ages and abilities, including those who are overweight or elderly. Benefits include strengthening, toning, firming, increasing bone density, agility, flexibility and relaxation.

Tai Chi (pronounced Tie-chee) is proven to reduce blood pressure.

“It doesn’t provide a cardio workout but it does involve core stability,” Smith says about Tai Chi. “That means people still tone their abdominal muscles without the sweat. It can even help with menopause symptoms by relieving anxiety, stress and fatigue. It truly creates a feeling of enrichment through focus, which creates calmness.” 

Py-Yoga combines Pilates, yoga, dance and strength training. It’s more assertive and more aerobically challenging than yoga and is set to music for continuous movement. Benefits are core strengthening, balance, toning, firming and agility. It’s also ideal for posture and alignment, and offers good conditioning for athletes -- especially for those playing golf or tennis.

Prenatal Yoga classes are more popular than ever. When paired with a cardiovascular exercise such as walking, yoga can be an ideal way to stay in shape during your pregnancy. This age-old practice keeps you limber, tones your muscles and improves your balance and circulation, with little if any impact on your joints.

Betsy Smith

Certified Yoga Instructor

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