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Looking for the perfect New Year's Resolution? Tired of being stressed all the time? Then yoga is the answer to your questions. Yoga is an exercise and relaxation regimen that helps you focus and relieve stress. It combines breathing exercises, stretching, relaxation techniques and strength-building exercises to create the perfect relaxing workout.

According to Yoga Journal, yoga is a 5,000-year-old practice that continues to evolve through the years to meet the needs of every individual. Even people with physical restrictions can do yoga.

"I started the gentle yoga class for people with limitations like surgery or cancer," said Dr. Adrianna Lancaster, a yoga instructor through East Central University's Center of Continuing Education & Community Services.

ECU's gentle yoga and hatha yoga classes will begin Jan. 13 [WEDNESDAY].

Lancaster has been practicing yoga for 12 years and teaching for six years.

Over time, yoga has become increasingly popular not only as an exercise program but also as a relaxation technique. It's exercise for not only the body, but for the mind as well, she said.

"It's the way it makes you feel," said Lancaster, that motivates people to begin yoga classes.

With overwhelming responsibilities in daily life, stress and fatigue become more a part of peoples' lives than ever. However, according to Yoga Journal, yoga relaxes the body and the mind while also increasing energy levels and productivity.

And, there is no need to be intimidated by the rumors of abnormal body movements and unimaginable poses.

"You don't have to be flexible to practice yoga," said Rebecca Gatz. "You practice to become flexible."

Gatz has been practicing yoga for 15 years and teaching yoga classes for eight years.

In addition to ECU's hatha yoga and gentle yoga classes that begin Jan. 13 [WEDNESDAY], a second hatha yoga class will be held on Mondays beginning Jan. 25.

The classes, which are suitable for adults of any age and are not college classes, offer a workout that helps remove stress. Those who have never done yoga before don't need to be nervous -- they won't be the only beginners. In fact, of the people enrolled in the classes, "most have never done yoga before," said Gatz.

Beginners also don't have to have their own mats or props. In the classroom, "there are mats and props available," said Lancaster. Just make sure to "wear something you can move in."

Sure, there are yoga videos to watch at home, but they don't provide the full experience.

"You don't have someone personally helping and correcting you," Gatz said.

With the help of a personal instructor, you can learn the right and wrong way to perform the poses, she added.

To enroll in the ECU Continuing Education classes, visit, email Charlee Lanis at or call the Center for Continuing Education & Community Services office at 580-559-5456.

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