Fitness centers in Copperas Cove are offering yoga classes several times a week to members and non-members.

The popular fitness craze works to sculpt the body and mind through physical and spiritual exercises.

The Armed Services YMCA offers morning and evening classes that target specific areas in the body and build strength in more ways than one.

Yoga instructor Emmalyn Smith said her class is a mix of traditional and modern-style yoga centering on the fast-paced technique called vinyasa flow.

“The basic idea behind it is linking breath with movement,” she said. “We’re really focused on being aware of our breathing, and how that influences the movement.”

The health benefits associated with yoga, Smith said, are vast — ranging from heart health to chasing away daily aches and pains.

The mental aspect also is a huge factor of the yoga culture.

“You get a sense of calmness of the mind and become more aware of your body,” Smith said.

“I’ve had students come up to me and say, ‘Oh my gosh, I never knew I had these muscles in my body.’”

The hour-and-a-half sessions begin with a warm-up activity, then move on to more challenging poses and end with a cool-down exercise, Smith said.

Family Center Director Doreen Vasseur said the center’s yoga program has been successful since it began nearly three years ago. More than half of the allotted class size attends.

“I’ve heard people who have muscles problems or who aren’t in good shape say yoga loosens them up and are not in as much pain as they were in before doing yoga,” she said.

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