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Yoga, long touted as the antidote for stress and stiffness, is now a prescription of choice for physicians who see its benefits in areas like lowering blood pressure and helping cancer patients combat the side effects of radiation. To extend this assistance to its patients and the community, UCF Pegasus Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice, will begin offering weekly therapeutic yoga classes starting September 5 at its 3400 Quadrangle Blvd. location, just blocks from the main UCF campus.

Developed and led by nationally certified yoga instructor, Alpa Bhatia, the UCF Pegasus Health classes will be at times throughout the day and focus on the needs of specific people:

  • Yoga for Heart Disease & Hypertension (9 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.) – Gentle yoga postures are used to exercise the muscles, which benefits the heart and blood vessels. This class also focuses on deep-breathing exercises that help lower blood pressure and calm the sympathetic nervous system, responsible for generating stress hormones.
  •  Yoga for Arthritis & Pain Management (10 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.) – A series of controlled poses, breathing exercises and relaxation techniques will be used to control joint tenderness and swelling, with the goal of increasing flexibility and relieving pain. This class also focuses on building core strength, key to supporting the overall body.
  • Yoga for Diabetes (11 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.) – Yoga postures that focus on stimulating the pancreas, as well as improving blood circulation to organs and the endocrine glands will be the focus of this class. Yoga also has been show to reduce production of the hormone glucagon, known to increase blood sugar levels. Many yoga participants who also practice meditation have reported a decrease in food cravings, especially sweets, after a while.

“While yoga does not replace the care necessary for managing chronic medical conditions, it often helps patients restore some of their lost mobility, learn to better control anxiety and stress, and generally feel better,” said Dr. Neha Bhanusali, a faculty physician at UCF Pegasus Health who specializes in rheumatology and does yoga herself. “Some are even able to come off of certain prescription medications. “As a rheumatologist and yoga practitioner, I’ve seen firsthand how therapeutic yoga can improve the overall quality of life.”

Two free informational sessions about the classes will be held from 11 a.m. to noon on Friday July 25 and Friday, August 29 at UCF Pegasus Health. Classes are $60 per month, with registration beginning July 25. Before beginning any new exercise program, please consult with your physician.

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