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Workout Wednesday: Ohm Optional

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Liberation Yoga | Photo by Melissa Moore/LAist

With as many gurus of yoga available as the personality types frequenting their classes, finding a studio and a style as a beginner can be daunting. But one need look no further than the local newsstand and their dizzying array of yoga journals to see that the health (and other) benefits of the practice run far and wide.

Originally envisioned as a way to physically prepare the body for long bouts of meditation, yoga as us Westerners understand it is really just postures (asana) and breathing (pranayama), two of eight limbs found in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the eightfold path of yoga (Ashtanga). You can think of it as the exercise portion of a total life plan, and though the reasons for getting barefoot and sweaty may be to relax and de-stress from that long commute in rush hour traffic or simply a desire to obtain tight abs and an American Apparel ass (you know the ones I speak of), yogis often find their mental muscles also toning as a result of their time on the mat.