This year, nearly 16 million people will hit the yoga mat.
Some will strike a pose in a yoga studio. Others in front of their very own computer.
That's because yoga instructional videos are popping up all over the Internet.
Some say the how-to's strike the perfect balance between calm and convenience. Others say you should 'exercise' caution.
When Sherri Holman hits the yoga mat she stretches her body and her soul.
Sherri heads to the studio weekly. But now, she also lets go by logging on to a virtual yoga class.
She said, "It's convenient because I can actually tune into a specific yoga class at any given time."
A quick web search turns up thousands of videos. You'll find them on places like YouTube, as well as many yoga and exercise web sites.
Some are posted by apparent "do-it-yourselfers," others by experienced yogis.
Some show basic breathing and meditation. Others show more advanced positions.
But now, doctors and yoga experts say injuries are on the rise. And they're concerned about some of the clips.
Dr. Bill Stetson is a yoga expert with the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
He said, "I would say some of the most common injuries that we're seeing, secondary to yoga, include wrist injuries, shoulder injuries and also lower back injuries."
You could also strain muscles trying a back bend at home, or worse, suffer a herniated disk.
Terri Kennedy is chair of the board of the Yoga Alliance, which sets voluntary standards for the industry.
She also posts her own videos on the web. But she does warn, unless you're advanced in your practice, you should never try more difficult positions unsupervised.
She said, "So if you're doing something slightly off, the teacher can adjust you. And your alignment that might be off just a bit if you're watching an online video can cause an injury."
No certification or specific training is required to teach yoga.
Although the Alliance strongly advocates training and registers instructors after a minimum of 200 hours of approved schooling, Kennedy added, "Before practicing with a video, find out about the teacher's background and where they trained."
You can find the Yoga Alliance registry at: www.yogaalliance.org.
We spoke with three popular web sites that post yoga videos online.
All three say that safety is a top priority and that background info for each of its yoga instructors is posted clearly on the web.
Copyright 2008 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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