Dev Kar closes his eyes and tries to breathe, first through the right nostril, then the left. He stretches out to reach the floor, then arches backward in the sun salutation posture.
His flexibility is not bad for age 49. What's better is that he has been able to cut his arthritis medication to half his recommended dose.
"Without yoga, I'd be in bad shape," says Mr. Kar of Oakton. "I have had arthritis for 20 years, but I have excellent flexibility. The yoga really helps."
Mr. Kar, who has been studying at Vienna Woods Yoga Studio for about five years, is among the 6 million people in the United States practicing the 5,000-year-old art that combines breathing, postures and meditation.
In Sanskrit, the word "yoga" means union. Yoga teachers guide their students to unite mind and body - to get in touch with emotions as they concentrate on postures that stretch away the tensions of daily life, says Georg Feuerstein, founder of the Yoga Research Center in Lower Lake, Calif., and author of more than two dozen books on the subject.
If practiced correctly and consistently, yoga can lead to a toned body, enlightened spirit and …