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Benefits of a yoga workout: Robin Downes stretches her way to health.

Although Robin Downes had a successful media career in film and television--even winning an Emmy in 1981 for news and documentary achievements for her work at ABC's 20/20--the seeds for becoming a certified yoga instructor had already taken root. A former dancer and gymnast, Downes had practiced martial arts. By the time she took her first yoga class, in 1994, at age 34, "it felt like home."

Concerned about keeping herself fit and youthful, Downes practiced yoga to combat the stresses of the entertainment industry and her mother's illness. "My mother was losing her battle with breast cancer," she explains. "These were all major alarms to pay attention to."

Her first class quickly led to training, then certification and a trip to India. Today, Downes teaches Hatha yoga, a form that focuses on breathing and strengthening the body through special poses called asanas. For 10 years she has grown her practice to include a CD and a DVD called Robin Dowries' Yoga Flava. She also worked with celebrities and business clients such as Russell Simmons, actress Vanessa Williams from the television series Soul Food, and talk show host and former NBA star John Salley.

Yoga, like any form of exercise, requires dedication and discipline. "It's important to take the time to work on ourselves," Downes implores. She offers five important reasons to get started.

31 De-stress On top of the stresses of hustling through the day's demands, many professionals are struggling with subconscious anxieties. Yoga poses involve asanas, which focus on relaxation and produce calming and soothing effects.

32 Detoxing In more vigorous yoga routines, perspiring helps eliminate toxins. "Twisting is [also] wonderful for detoxing the internal organs, such as the liver and intestines."

33 De-aging Alleviating stress is important II in slowing the aging process. Inverted poses, in particular, are rejuvenating to the system.

34 Breathing "Proper breathing gives you energy," Downes explains. "A lot of people are walking around tired and wondering why. They're not bringing in a full fresh supply of oxygen to nourish the entire body."

35 Meditation and visualization Yoga enables the body to prepare for meditation. Strengthening the body and learning how to breathe are the first stages. "Taking time to still the body helps you gain clarity for business and personal decisions as well as future projects." For more information, log onto www.yogaflava.com.
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Title Annotation:35 STEPS TO A BETTER LIFE
Author:Alleyne, Sonia
Publication:Black Enterprise
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2005
Words:393
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