Release tension and stress with yoga

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Yoga relaxes the body. (Photo by Lena Bell)

The Menning Meditation Center, located on the Greenspring campus, holds yoga sessions Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to noon under the direction of instructor Elizabeth Schulman. The center serves as a place of reflection and tranquility for students.

The best way to learn about something is to participate in it. Participants wear comfortable lounge clothing such as sweatpants or yoga pants, compression shorts, and t-shirts.

According to Schulman, “You start by stopping.” The first thing the class does is meditate to get in tune with breathing, body, and surroundings. Because the center is situated away from the academic buildings on the Greenspring campus, nature contributes to the locale’s serenity. Throughout the entire session, birds sing, the wind whips against the windows, and exercises even instruct the class to look at the trees outside.

After meditating, the class begins a spinal warm up to prepare proper exercise posture. This was followed by the half-sun salute, where the class was instructed to stretch their muscles while maintaining a steady breathing pace. Next come poses, breath work, and closing postures to aid in cooling down.

Schulman teaches a combination of different types of yoga because she also has a dance background, but focuses primarily on Hatha yoga.

“The class helps relax the body with focus and concentration. It helps with physical issues throughout the body,” said Schulman.  For example, one pose in which participants sit on the floor with one knee bent and pulled to the body, while twisting the back, released tension and stress. Schulman explained that stretches like this help to loosen up the body during stressful or emotional times, and that yoga can help with depression, as it did with her.

One student participating in the session, Cyrillia Casimir, said, “Doing yoga helps teach you control.” Personally, the class was very enjoyable. Yoga is much more physical than I originally perceived it to be. It is a form of exercise that is open to all, so I definitely recommend trying it at least once to see how it can improve work habits, emotional well-being, and physical comfort.

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