It is said that yoga was founded in India, about 5,000 years ago, and that about 30 million Americans now practice it.
Cheryl Van Demark, who has a degree in physical therapy and physical education, started getting into yoga in her 20s, but really got serious about it after moving to this area about 10 years ago with her husband, Richard, and children, Kathryn and Dylan, and now teaches yoga classes.
"You can't learn yoga from a book or a video; it is a teacher-to-student tradition," Cheryl explained. "Having the training I have, I felt I knew the body well, but yoga opens up a whole new experience in getting to know your own body."
Yoga is known to have many health benefits for all age groups. It is said that yoga helps normalize blood pressure, reduce stress, build flexibility for muscles, joints and more.
"Yoga is a holistic approach to life, which helps with mind, body and spirit. Yoga asana (physical postures) require your undivided attention to your breathing, which is the cornerstone of all yoga practices," Cheryl said.
Yoga helped Cheryl cope with her busy life as a working mother and wife.
"When I actually became a yoga student, the difference I felt was an immediate shift. These are amazing practices for well being that produce rapid and dramatic changes. Physically it changed me by getting rid of aches, pains, and stiffness that I associated with being over 40," she smiled.
Cheryl clarifies that yoga is not a religion as some might think.
"Yoga is misunderstood to be a religion," Cheryl said. "But in reality it is a pathway to the inner self that allows freedom for all spiritual preferences, and helps you find your spiritual anchor."
Cheryl is now teaching a series of yoga classes at the Academy of Performing Arts in Chino Valley and people can reach her at 925-4388.