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HATHA YOGA: Benefits and Principles for a More Meaningful Practice

Markil, Nina M.S., ACSM CES, RYT; Geithner, Christina A. Ph.D., FACSM, ACSM H/FS, RYT; Penhollow, Tina M. Ph.D., CHES

doi: 10.1249/FIT.0b013e3181ed5af2

LEARNING OBJECTIVE • To understand Yoga more fully by learning about the eight limbs of Yoga. More specifically, to understand the yamas and niyamas, or ethical principles for living well, enough to be able to incorporate these principles both on and off the mat for a more meaningful practice.

A Hatha yoga practice may be performed purely for physical reasons, as it has many fitness and health benefits. We can move beyond the physical and health benefits that yoga offers by incorporating a few principles rooted in the foundations of yoga, and thereby transform our physical practice of yoga into a more mindful and meaningful lifestyle practice.

Nina Markil, M.S., ACSM CES, RYT, completed her Master's degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion at Florida Atlantic University. Ms. Markil is ACSM Clinical Exercise SpecialistSM certified and is a Registered Yoga Alliance instructor. Her Master's Thesis investigated the effects of Hatha Yoga and relaxation on heart rate variability. Markil's other research interests include behavior change, health literacy, and nutrition/ physical activity interventions.

Christina A. Geithner, Ph.D., FACSM, ACSM H/FS, RYT, is a professor in the Department of Human Physiology at Gonzaga University. Dr. Geithner is ACSM Health/Fitness SpecialistSM certified a Registered Yoga Alliance instructor. Dr. Geithner's research interests include growth, maturation, and aging; barriers to and motivators for physical activity; work-life balance; kinanthropometry, and talent identification in sport.

Tina M. Penhollow, Ph.D., CHES, is an assistant professor in the Department of Exercise Science and Health Promotion at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Penhollow is a nationally Certified Health Education Specialist. Dr. Penhollow's research interests include aging, exercise/physical activity, and health-risk behavior.

© 2010 American College of Sports Medicine.