MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Yoga is widely seen as a way to relax and reduce stress, but more people are discovering yoga’s healing effects.

“More traditional yoga is really a slowing down and connecting your mind to your body and that is very powerful, especially in conditions like chronic pain,” said Sara Hall, a pain management nurse specialist at Regions Hospital.

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She says yoga helps bring oxygen to the muscles. She adds that it also provides pain relief and improves sleep.

Last summer, Hall and researchers at the HealthPartners Institute studied 33 patients who have chronic pain.

They taught them yoga poses in a weekly classes and encouraged them to do yoga at home.

“So many people carry a ton of tension in their shoulder blades and have this rounded forward posture,” Hall said. “We are on our computers and phones all day.”

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And if they couldn’t get down on the floor, the poses were modified and performed in chairs.

The early results show patients are feeling better.

“People say their pain is better, they slept better,” Hall said. “People started doing yoga at home because we taught them how to weave it into their lifestyles at work and with their kids.”

HealthPartners is planning to do more yoga studies next year.

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If you are interested in taking a yoga class that targets pain relief and offers chair yoga, click here.