Daily Egyptian

Rec center yoga classes can help save stressed students

By Brey Mong-Delane, @Breymong_DE |[email protected]

As finals are approaching, sometimes it can be hard to relax or find a way to manage stress, but yoga just might be what students need in this final stretch. 

For SIU students curious about the activity, the Recreation Center offers free yoga for students four times a week.

“Having done yoga for a while, I can tell the changes and improvements that it made to my everyday life,” said Erin Cotter, a yoga group fitness instructor. “I could do things more comfortably, noticing that my posture was better. I just felt better all the time.”

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Yoga has been practiced for more than 5,000 years, according to Samuel Geoffrey’s 2008 book “The Origins of Yoga and Tantra,” and is known for its many health benefits.

Yoga can reduce stress and weight, while improving relaxation, focus, flexibility and posture. Cardiovascular and circulatory health can also benefit from the exercise, according to osteopathic.org.

Cotter, a sophomore from Murphysboro studying English education, said many people may slouch, and yoga helps with correcting posture as well as toning and strengthening muscles.

“Not only does yoga help physically, but it helps cardiovascular symptoms and helps lower metabolism,” Cotter said. “Yoga helps your breathing slow down, helps relax you and gives you a chance to stop stressing out about school. Take an hour for yourself, enjoy your own body and clear your mind.” 

The yoga class offers three different levels made for everyone, said Tori Gusewelle, a fitness program assistant at the Recreation Center. Instructors teach a basic level, an advanced level and a beginners level, meeting the needs of every participant that comes in. The higher level encompasses more intense stretches and exercises while the lower level gets people acclimated to the activity. 

“You can come without any background,” said Gusewelle, a senior from Edwardsville studying human nutrition and dietetics. “You see people of all different shapes and sizes, experiences and ages.”

Gusewelle described the class as “a whole hour of spiritual, mind and body activity.” The instructors talk participants through relaxation and breathing cues, telling students when and how to breathe, trying to motivate by reminding them why they came to yoga.

The yoga instructors encourage all campus and community members to try it.

“Everyone is intimidated, but no one will know it’s your first time — there are people of all different levels,” Guswelle said.

More information about the fitness schedule, visit reccenter.siu.edu.

Brey Mong-Delane can be reached at [email protected] or 618-536-3325.

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