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S12 Episode 01: Health Benefits of Yoga

Physical therapist and yoga instructor Dr. Allison Mitch discusses some of the many benefits of yoga both for the general population and for those with medical conditions or special needs.

This episode is part of Series 12: Yoga.

For a list of ParkTalk episodes and series visit  

Quote from the episode:
“You get the flexibility benefits (of yoga), of course, but there are so many more, from stress reduction to relief from anxiety and depression, joint lubrication and joint health, posture, improved lung capacity, improved venous flow and improved lymphatic flow.” – Dr. Allison Mitch

Looking for a local yoga class in the Naperville, Illinois area? 

Naperville Park District offers a variety of classes each season. Check the current program guide under “Fitness and Wellness.”

One of the yoga classes at Fort Hill Activity Center that is part of the group exercise program.

Adaptive Yoga Instruction

One on One adaptive yoga sessions: email Dr. Allison Mitch at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Adaptive Yoga:  NextSteps Chicago, where Allison offers once a month adaptive yoga classes: 

Read an article by Dr. Allison Mitch in Natural Awakenings at

Finding a qualified yoga instructor: Yoga Alliance -

Finding a yoga therapist: International Association of Yoga Therapists -

Learn more about yoga and health with these resources

Yoga as a complementary health approach:  information from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) – part of the National Institutes of Health:

Access abstracts of research about the effects of yoga practice on specific health conditions or symptoms by using Pubmed, a free search engine:

Resources for adaptive yoga:

Mind Body solutions In Minneapolis:  started by Matthew Sanford, who wrote a book (Waking:  A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence) about his healing journey using yoga following a spinal cord injury.  Offers classes and trainings.

Yoga Today for people with MS.  Developed by Eric Small, who has MS. 

Love your Brain - For people who have experienced a traumatic brain injury and their caregivers.  Offers classes, trainings, retreats.  


Yoga for everyone: 50 Poses for Every Type of Body by Dianne Bondy

Every Body Yoga:  Let Go of Fear, Get on the Mat, Love Your Body by Jessamyn Stanley

Overcoming Trauma through Yoga:  Reclaiming Your Body by David Emerson

The Body Keeps the Score:  Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel  van der Kolk, MD

Yoga as Medicine:  The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing by Timothy McCall, MD

Principles and Practice of Yoga in Health Care by Sat Bir Singh Khalsa

Articles on practicing yoga outdoors:

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On Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 Naperville Park District officials heard the good news for which they have been waiting for many months: the District has achieved national accreditation through the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).

The decision was announced at the NRPA national conference in Atlanta following a formal hearing before the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).

Naperville is only the second park district in Illinois to earn this distinction and the 104th nationally accredited agency in the nation; there are more than 10,000 recreation agencies in the United States. The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies accredits a handful of park agencies each year that have completed a multi-step process involving a self-review by the agency, a site visit, and an evaluation and formal report by the Commission.

“We are extremely proud to bring this honor to Naperville,” said Park District Executive Director Ray McGury. “It’s an affirmation of our high standards and also an encouragement to continue bringing high quality recreation and parks experiences to our community.”

The Park District’s accreditation process began approximately one year ago and included an extensive self-evaluation by staff and a 5-day visit from CAPRA reviewers this past July. Maintaining the accreditation requires annual reports and 5- and 10-year reviews.

Park District staff members noted that the CAPRA process has helped them see the big picture, focus on long term goals and plans, review plans more regularly, organize documents so that they are accessible and useable, and collaborate more effectively with other departments and outside organizations.

Our Mission
We provide recreation and park experiences that promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community.
Our Vision
To be a national leader in parks and recreation providing and promoting high quality experiences and facilities at a great value to our community.
Core Values
Health and Wellness, Environmental Education, Stewardship and Sustainability, Community Enrichment, Public Safety, Accessibility, Personal Growth and Enrichment.
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