Most of us have had basic stretching exercises drilled into us since grade school gym class. Bend down and touch your toes, reach to the right, reach to the left, roll your head from front to side to side. The difference between this type of stretching and yoga is that yoga stretches are specifically designed not only to lengthen your muscles, but also to stabilize your joints, stimulate your organs, balance your endocrine system, and strengthen your muscles as you hold the stretch. It's still a good idea to do basic stretches before engaging in strenuous exercise, such as running or swimming, but if you also add yoga to your fitness program, stretching will soon be a breeze.
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