Yoga for wellness teaches students to calm their minds

Illustration by Kelsey Randolph/The News

The popular class focuses on a variety of relaxing exercises, which can also increase flexibility, strength and balance.

Story by Clara FirtosContributing writer

Illustration by Kelsey Randolph/The News

Illustration by Kelsey Randolph/The News

As the school year winds down, stress levels increase but some students are finding ways to alleviate that stress with the century-old tradition of yoga.

Elizabeth Poquette, sophomore from Hopkinsville, Kentucky says yoga is a great way for her to release stress as the semester becomes harder. Poquette is a military science minor and she says ROTC can become, at times, very stressful.

“The class I went to was great. I felt so relaxed after,” Poquette said. “In fact, all the guys and girls seemed relaxed afterwards, not just me.”

The practice of yoga can appeal to students of all ages, genders and sizes.

Gayle Rogers, adjunct instructor, said she believes that the popularity of yoga comes from students who are looking for a way to release stress. With yoga, students can join their mind, body and spirit. This discipline helps to produce wellness, and it helps students refocus on the school year.

“Yoga can help students identify and manage their stressors in ways that other disciplines that only address physical needs cannot,” Rogers said.

Rogers believes there is a definite need for an increased peace and calm that comes with yoga.

Lynn Patterson, professor and licensed yoga instructor, agrees that yoga is an escape for her students.

“Patterson’s class may just be an hour, but it helps me find myself,” Poquette said. “I can take on my school work again.”

Poquette said her favorite thing about the class is the calming music that is played and how the lights are dimmed during the practice.

“You walk in and you are just instantly relieved to be here. You can’t wait to get started,” Poquette said.

Patterson likes to help students with their core strength, flexibility, stretching poses and connecting her students to the earth.

The yoga Rogers teaches also focuses on a variety of poses. Yoga poses help increase metabolic, respiratory and cardiovascular activity, flexibility, strength and balance. The practice of yoga is adaptive to everybody.

“I tell my students there are no goals, no charts, no competitions and no judgments … only that they leave each class feeling better than when they came,” Rogers said.

Rogers and Patterson believe that the basic instructions of yoga are to do what feels good, and no one is required to push beyond their comfort levels. Yoga encourages, enthuses and empowers every student to be happy in their own skin.

Yoga has a language from the ancient Sanskrit, but in classes instructors use everyday language for helpful instruction.

“The poses are all fun and easy to do,” Poquette said. “Anybody can do them and you don’t have to be an expert because it’s very easy to understand the instructors.”

If you are interested in taking yoga classes, you can call the Wellness Center and request a spot in any class. Rogers’s yoga class has been available as a credit since 2011, and she is currently teaching REC 113 as a one-hour participation class and elective on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the morning. Patterson is teaching her yoga classes on Mondays and Wednesdays in the evenings. The typical yoga class has space to allow 20 to 30 people.