Published: October 2, 2015
For thousands of years, yoga has kept the most elite warriors, monks and athletes in top condition. Today, this same practice is accessable for every student on campus.
Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. There are a broad variety of schools, practices and goals.
Stephanie Adamec, the director of the Center for Health Education and Wellness, practices yoga herself. Ademec encourages students to reap the many benefits of yoga, especially mentally.
The Center for Health Education and Wellness puts on free yoga classes during the week for students and faculty to enjoy. On Thursdays, a Strong Flow class is offered from 5 p.m.- 6 p.m. in the Byron Center’s Royal Room. Gentle Yoga is on Fridays from 12:10 p.m.-12:40 p.m. in the PNC Bank Boardroom in Brennan Hall.
“Students talk about stress, anxiety and maybe some negative self-talk. If you’re doubting yourself or you’re stressed out about something it’s hard to get that out of your head,” Adamec said.
Adamec believes that the calming and relaxing of the mind during yoga is beneficial to students in many different ways.
“Yoga is a great tool for people when they are having these repeating cycles in their head about how you clear your thoughts, how you move to the positive, how you see that thought and move past it,” Adamec said.
CHEW has hosted several yoga based events around campus.
CHEW also puts on a meditation series that is open to students and faculty. On Wednesdays during September and October there will be a class from noon- 12:40 p.m. in room 305 in the Weinberg Memorial Library. During October and November another meditation series will be offered from 5 p.m.- 5:30 p.m. in the Heritage Room in Weinberg Memorial Library.
Catherine Mascelli, MSW, the assistant director of CHEW, practices yoga as well. She believes that students can be impacted by practicing yoga or meditation.
“Meditation compliments yoga and vice versa,” Mascelli said. “Yoga is a great way to get to meditation while still moving,” Mascelli said.
Mascelli noted that while CHEW sees good student attendance for their events involving yoga from women on campus, she wishes that the men on campus would participate more. She said CHEW encourages everyone to participate.
“We had yoga on the green for Healthier U Day. There were women of all ages and shapes. I thought it was beautiful,” Mascelli said.
Mascelli compared the thousands of different styles and types of yoga to coffee.
“There are different brands. There are strong, medium and fusions. All different types. Find the type that fits you,” Mascelli said.
Mascelli encourages students to look for places off campus to practice and enjoy yoga as well. One of the events she mentioned specifically was Yoga in the Greenhouse.
This event is put on by Prana Yoga, a local yoga studio, inside the greenhouse at Nay Aug Park. The event encourages all levels, especially beginners, to come and join in. The classes will begin this month and be held Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 9:30 a.m.
Kelly Corazzi, owner and instructor at Prana Yoga, has been practicing yoga for 10 years. As an instructor, she practices and teaches Vinyasa style yoga. She feels that this type of practice would be most beneficial for students.
“As a student, you’re constantly against the external, about needing to perform, having to multitask. It’s easier to let go and flow during a Vinyasa yoga class,” Corazzi said. “A Vinyasa will help someone who is up against the wall with stress and deadlines.”
Corazzi said that our bodies hold the stress and worries that people naturally have during daily life. She beleives that yoga is the best way to get rid of that stress.
“Our issues live in our tissues. When we move and breathe in a specific way, we get into the connective tissue and start to relieve that trauma,” Corazzi said.
Corrazzi has a strong connection to yoga. She was introduced to the practice by a friend and was immediately hooked. She is a recovering alcoholic and who will reach 10 years of sobriety this month.
“When I was getting sober, my friend took me to a yoga class. That night it changed everything for me. Yoga literally saved my life,” Corrazzi said.
She was so moved by the experience that she practiced every day and eventually was trained to be an instructor. She then opened her own studio in 2006.
The studio is soon moving to Uno Fitness on West Olive St. To celebrate the move, Corrazzi will be offering free yoga classes at the new location from Oct. 10 to Oct. 17. The gym also offers student discounts from memberships.
Prana is not the only local studio that students can utilize.
Lara Alexiou, an owner of Steamtown Hot Yoga, encourages students to come and try hot yoga.
She sees yoga as a time to focus, destress and look internally.
“More and more, people are saying that if they can get into yoga and it helps with stress and release everything will fall into place,” Alexiou said.
Alexiou said the studio has many college students and their individual needs. They offer trial memberships and discounted rates for students.
“We start students on a two week free trial. If you come three times and give it an honest try, you’ll know if it’s for you,” Alexiou said.
The studio also offers college discounts. They offer a monthly rate of $59 and a three month rate of $165.
The advantage of doing the three month membership is a student who goes on break or during exams can pause the membership until they get back.
Alexiou agrees that more men should get involved with practicing yoga. She believes that in some cases men may be discouraged from trying yoga because of the learning curve.
“Men may initially be discouraged because women are likely more flexible than men. Men think, ‘I can barely touch my toes. How could I be successful in a yoga class?’” Alexiou said.
Alexiou feels that men also be discouraged because of the amount of women to men in class.
She said that she thinks it is important to get the message cut that yoga is for everyone.
“You don’t need to be anything to get started. You don’t need to be flexible.
You don’t need to be experienced. You don’t need to be an athlete. You just have to be willing to try,” Alexiou said.
Rick Schmoyer, an instructor at The University, has spent his whole life practicing yoga and Tai Chi. He said that students could benefit from yoga through opening up the body.
“We open up the body then we work on then we work on the meditation and breathing techniques that reduce stress,” Schmoyer said.
Schmoyer teaches the students in his classes about the valuable skills and rewards students can gain from practicing yoga.
“I teach techniques that work through visualization and relaxing all the parts of the body. Then we work on the breathing. Breathing is one of the key things,” Schmoyer said.
Schmoyer said that most people do not breathe correctly for situations beyond just the workouts they are doing.
“We do upper diaframatic breathing. During everyday life we need to learn to revert back to natural breathing. That is breathing from the lower belly,” Schmoyer said.
During Schmoyers classes, especially during the middle of the semester, he works with his students to reduce stress and relax them.
“I teach them control techniques that calm them. We learn how to manage everything through breathing and meditation,” Schmoyer said.