Yoga is an exercise that can benefit anyone, whether you’re a workout buff, a couch potato or something in between.

“Everyone should do it,” said Michelle Villmer, physical director at the Four Rivers Family YMCA in Washington. “There are so many benefits to yoga. It’s great for range or motion.”

So what is yoga?

By definition, yoga is a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation.

In simpler terms, Yoga is a system of exercises for mental and physical health.

The classical techniques of yoga date back more than 5,000 years.

In ancient times, the desire for greater personal freedom, health and long life, and heightened self-understanding gave birth to this system of physical and mental exercise which has since spread throughout the world.

The word yoga means “to join or yoke together,” and it brings the body and mind together into one harmonious experience.

“So much focus is put on weight loss and looking great on the outside, we often forget what’s going on inside the body,” Villmer said. “Yoga is a way to get in tough with your inner thoughts and a way to become happier with yourself from the inside.”

The Four Rivers Family YMCA in Washington offers two different types of yoga classes.

“We have two Vinyasa Flow classes that cater to all ages, including seniors,” Villmer said. “We also have Silver Sneakers Yoga, which is done in a chair for active older adults who have difficulty in traditional classes for any number of reasons.”

Vinyasa Flow Yoga is one of the most popular styles of yoga for its fast-paced, fitness approach.

“It’s a more traditional style of yoga,” Villmer said. “There’s a lot of balance work. You’re on your feet or the floor at all times.”

Vinyasa Flow classes take place at the Four Rivers Family YMCA every Monday at 9:45 a.m. and Thursday at 8 a.m. The cost is $22 for full members for a seven-week session.

Silver Sneakers Yoga, open to people of all ages, is a version of yoga designed for older adults.

It is part of the Silver Sneakers program of group exercise classes that offer ways for adults who are retirement age and beyond to stay physically active and improve their physical fitness levels.

Silver Sneakers Yoga is free for full members of the YMCA and runs every Thursday at 10:55 a.m.

“Both classes, Vinyasa Flow and Silver Sneakers, caters to people of all levels of physical well-being,” Villmer said. “It’s such a great way to make you feel better about yourself, both physically and mentally. It increases your mobility, flexibility, balance and strength.”

For more information on the yoga classes, contact the Four Rivers Family YMCA at 636-239-5704.