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Why rugby stars are taking up yoga
Around the Academy:

Geri and Michael P
Geri Halliwell tells Parky about her yoga techniques
Wales's rugby stars have taken up yoga as part of their World Cup preparations.

Fitness coach Andy Hore has signed up the entire 55-man squad for weekly lessons.

He hopes it will improve the players' kicking ability, speed and power.

So here at the Academy we decided to find out how even props and second rows can benefit from this super stretchy sport.

What is yoga?
Yoga is a way of exercising that helps you control your body and mind.

Who does yoga?
Yoga can be done by people of all ages. It is more popular with women than men but, like the Welsh rugby team have shown, it's becoming more popular with men.

Why do people do yoga?
Yoga helps you to improve and focus the alignment of your body.

It can also develop the coordination of your breathing and movement as well as teaching you how to hold your posture and flow from one posture to another.

Are there lots different types of yoga?
Yes, there are many styles of yoga - but basically they all have the same aim.

The founders of the three major styles - Astanga, Iyengar and Viniyoga - were all students at the Yoga Institute at the Mysore Palace in India.

Two other common styles are called Integral and Sivananda. If you fancy taking up yoga, try a few of the different styles and see which one you prefer.

Yoga originated in India

What are the different postures?
There are too many to go through them all but the basic sitting easy position is called Sukhasana.

This is a starting position that helps focus awareness on breathing and the body. It also helps strengthen the lower back and open the groin and hips.

Another well known position is the Warrior. This strengthens your legs and your arms.

Can kids do yoga?
Yes, there are special classes for children.

People forget that kids today are under a lot of stress with school work, the pressure to compete with other children and even parents so some children are turning to Yoga to help them relax.

It helps them to develop better body awareness, self-control, flexibility and coordination. It can also help them become better with their daily routines.

Do any celebrities do yoga?
Geri Halliwell and Jennifer Anniston both use yoga in their free time.

And now you can count all the Welsh rugby stars in too!

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