Yoga classes offer student escape

Jenny Rohl /The News Makenzie Sindelar, senior from Princeton, Ky., concentrates on breathing during a yoga class.
Jenny Rohl /The News Makenzie Sindelar, senior from Princeton, Ky., concentrates on breathing during a yoga class.

Jenny Rohl /The News
Makenzie Sindelar, senior from Princeton, Ky., concentrates on breathing during a yoga class.

As the fourth week of classes is coming to a close, students’ agendas are quickly filling up with assignments and events. Stress is an inevitable part of college life. Some Racers choose to release this stress by practicing yoga.

Held in the Carr Health Building Dance Studio, three different offerings of connected warrior yoga and vinyasa flow.

Gayle Rogers, certified yoga instructor, has been teaching yoga since 1997 and noticed an increase in the number of people participating in her yoga classes.

“I was hopeful to have a good response the first year (at Murray),” Rogers said. “I had about 20 students then and now have had up to 33 students in a single class.”

The Yoga for Wellness class, taught by Rogers, has grown so quickly in the previous years that during this semester, Murray State is offering two separate class sessions for credit.

“The class roster usually fills up in one hour,” Rogers said.

Although there is a high demand for the class, credit isn’t the only thing students gain. There are both physical and mental benefits from practicing yoga.

“Physically, yoga increases flexibility, strength and balance,” Rogers said. “Emotionally it helps you be more centered and grounded and it keeps you focused.”

Ginger Cupp, senior from Carterville, Ill., practices yoga two to three times each week because of the benefits.

“I needed something that provided a release from stress,” Cupp said. “Yoga seemed to combine this as well as exercise. It has helped my posture and has taught me tricks to mediate stress. I use it for fixing any joint or muscle problems that arise, rather than going to a chiropractor.”

Rogers explained that some people may be hesitant to try yoga because they are worried it will influence their traditional values.

“The number one obstacle for being able to share the gifts is a lack of information, perception” Rogers said. “This is not about religion, but you can connect to your own sense of spirituality.”

Understanding that each person has a different set of issues, Rogers says yoga will adapt to individuals.

“Whether you need energy, or have some depression, or have too much energy each body receives it in a different way.”

Debbie Ray, community participant from Murray, takes the Yoga for Wellness class offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“I have been taking yoga for 10 years,” Ray said. “It really helps with my flexibility and helps my golf game.”

If you would like to join a yoga class and are not enrolled in the yoga for wellness course at Murray State, Rogers provides classes that are open to the public as well. Participants in these classes range in age from 14 to 87 years.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 a.m. Rogers teaches peaceful spirit yoga as a multi-level class. A separate class is also offered Tuesday evenings at 6:30. The sessions are five dollars. Students also have the opportunity to take the one credit hour Yoga for Wellness course.

Rogers also offers class Wednesday mornings at 8:00 as a volunteer instructor with the Connected Warrior Program.  This program brings a free yoga class to active or inactive military personnel and/or their family members that are 18 years or older.

“Yoga is powerful and not a respecter of age or physical ability,” Rogers said. “Wherever you are on your path to wellness, yoga meets you there.”


Story by Tiffany Whitfill, Staff writer