The life of a college student isn’t easy. Between classes, work, activities, and a social life, there is little time to relax and clear out the mind. Stress and a poor diet can lead to illness. That is why an increasing number of people have turned to what many call a life changing activity: yoga.
Michelle Fenner, a Temple graduate student in the dance department, said the purpose of yoga is to make the person calm, centered and energized.
“It creates a whole new state of mind,” said Fenner, who taught a yoga class at Temple last semester.
Fenner said yoga helps to improve circulation, digestion, breathing, posture, the nervous system, and many other areas of the body.
There are hundreds of varieties of yoga. Fenner taught Hatha yoga, which incorporates “asana” poses that are found in all styles of yoga.
Marni Sclaroff currently teaches a two-credit yoga class at Temple. She teaches Ashtanga yoga, which involves a series of postures that flow from one to the next without stopping to reposition.
“[Ashtanga yoga practice] appears as if you’re dancing, and it’s not as gentle on the body as some other styles of yoga,” Sclaroff said.
Urban Yoga, located on 16th and Walnut streets, offers classes in yet another different style: Bikram yoga. This interesting variety involves postures done in a 105-degree room.
The proprietor of Urban Yoga, Michele Williams, explained that the purpose of the heat is to increase cardiovascular endurance, open up blood vessels and circulate oxygen. Bikram yoga is more of a toning workout than a method of meditation.
Urban Yoga is currently running a promotion. Unlimited classes cost $20 for the first week, with 34 classes offered. Attendance of at least 5 classes the first week, earns a second week free.
For those considering trying yoga for the first time, Fenner suggested attending a class before practicing at home.
“At a class they can answer questions and show you how to do a pose correctly or breathe properly,” said Fenner.
Fenner recommends practicing yoga at least 20 minutes a day, every day. But what about college students who just don’t have the time?
To them, Fenner suggested, “If you can’t meditate for 20 minutes, you should meditate for an hour!”
Yoga dates back more than 5,000 years to India, and came out of a need for a practice that would increase physical health and peace of mind. It is based on breathing, exercise and meditation.
Yoga arrived in the United States in the late 1800s but wasn’t widely known until the 1960s, when there was an increased interest in Eastern culture. Yoga is not a religion and not a sport; it is a way of bringing the body and mind into the same place.
Fenner describes the effects of yoga practice as “just an all around good feeling.”
For yoga at the IBC, pick up a Group Fitness schedule. The course is offered for credit most semesters. Classes are offered through the dance and kinesiology departments. Urban Yoga is located at 1611 Walnut St. Sclaroff’s studio, Practice, is located at 4th and Catherine streets.