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Stretching out


Albany, NY – Long relegated to the realm of hippies and alternative medicine, yoga has reached a new level of mainstream popularity-- in many different forms. Doctors send pregnant women to yoga classes for a low-impact workout that can relieve aches from kicking infants. Steamy studios host Bikhram yoga classes, where participants are encouraged to sweat toxins out of their bodies. Many people diagnosed for depression and anxiety claim the calming focus of a yoga practice works better than Zoloft.

For yoga superstar Seane Corn, the exercise offered an alternative to drugs and alcohol. She discovered yoga around the age of 20. Now, she runs a successful studio in Los Angeles and travels the yoga workshop circuit, teaching intensive classes all over the country. She's appeared in Nike ads and Allure Magazine calls her the most sought-after yoga instructor in L.A. Corn is using many of the proceeds of her yoga empire to support non-profits around the world. Along with two other women in yoga, she's started a campaign called Off the Mat and Into the World, which supports local and global agencies, including the Cambodian Children's Fund.

I sat down with Corn at a conference at the Omega Institute in New York's Hudson Valley to talk about her devotion to yoga, and how it's changed her life.

In yoga, there's an emphasis on individuality - teachers often say in yoga classes to stretch as far as you're comfortable, or give alternate poses if one posture proves difficult. They will come up with certain stretches for students who have injuries in certain parts of their bodies. Other times, instructors change stretches from class to class to keep them from getting too repetitive and to work different muscles in the body. It's tough to get that kind of variety and individual attention from a DVD or CD at home. But one yoga teacher in Connecticut says she's come up with a solution.

Robin Lange started taking yoga classes as a young actress in Los Angeles, and then began teaching them to supplement her income. She opened her own studio on the East Coast and worked with a student who happens to be an audio engineer to come up with a new idea that they have dubbed iYoga Studio. Existing only on the Web, the studio sells individual poses on iTunes and Rhapsody music sites. Students can buy different poses and compile them into their own playlists. On her Web site, iYogastudio.net, Lange gives some playlist suggestions. I spoke with Lange about her iYoga Studio - and why she went online.