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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Yoga stretches limits on exercising

    Mississippi State University students can stretch out their minds and bodies with an ancient discipline now taught at the Sanderson Center.
    The center currently offers two classes on the art of Yoga: Power Yoga and Yoga Moves.
    Developed in India, Yoga is a psycho-physical discipline with roots going back about 5,000 years. Today, most Yoga practices in the West focus on physical postures, breathing exercises and meditation.
    The word “yoga” means “union,” referring to its benefits of improved physical fitness, mental clarity, greater self-understanding, stress control and general well-being.
    Yoga also traditionally claims to offer several other benefits including increased flexibility, stress reduction, torso strengthening, particularly for people with weak backs, a decreased risk of injury for sports and increased muscular strength and endurance.
    The Sanderson Center classes each offer their own unique, individual benefits. Yoga Moves is based more on traditional or meditational yoga, also known as “Hatha.” Hatha is great for relaxation, flexibility and focus, while Power Yoga concentrates on using moves that help with flexibility and strength.
    The Power Yoga class, taught by Holly Wiley, is held in Studio A at the Sanderson Center from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday.
    Wiley described her class as focusing on strength, flexibility, balance and control. The class uses traditional poses, which are held for prolonged periods of time, to help elongate muscle groups while contracting opposing muscle groups.
    While Wiley claims this is not an aerobic workout, she says most people leave the class feeling both energized and relaxed.
    “The reasons this form of yoga has become so popular is because society now realizes how important relaxation techniques are in today’s hectic schedules and that flexibility is the one component of fitness most people avoid,” Wiley said. “Most exercise-related injuries are a result of lack of flexibility of vital ligament, tendon and muscle tissue.”
    The average Power Yoga participation ranges from 60 to 100 people and is popular for several reasons among students, Wiley said.
    “The class is really relaxing, but isn’t traditional yoga; it forces you to hold difficult positions that help build your strength,” said Dusty Weiss, a senior in mechanical engineering.
    The Yoga Moves class, taught by Aneva McMinn, is held every Monday and Wednesday in Studio C from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
    In contrast to Power Yoga, McMinn described her class as being “more traditional with much emphasis on pranayama, yoga breathing.”
    McMinn’s class involves following the five basic principles of yoga, which include proper breathing, exercise, dieting, relaxation and positive thinking/meditation.
    McMinn described her class as beginning with participants sitting quietly for a few minutes in meditation or concentration, then do some “pranayama” Yoga breathing. If there are new students, detailed instructions are given about “ujjayi,” the basic breathing pattern yoga students follow when doing the “asanas,” exercises.
    The class then performs some “asanas”-lying, sitting, and standing-including balancing. Finally, the class concludes with a full guided relaxation followed by a few minutes of complete quiet lying in “shavasana,” the corpse pose , which is also known as the full relaxation pose.
    Laura Crittenden, one of McMinn’s students, said, “I come to the class because I am 5-and-a-half months pregnant and my doctor recommended I take yoga as its breathing, stretching, and squatting exercises would help me with the pregnancy. Also, personally, I have become more well-rounded spiritually through yoga.”
    “I think the classes help give us a larger variety to offer and choose from at MSU; the yoga classes tend to be popular, offering a great deal of flexibility. Increased flexibility helps a person reduce the chances of injury while doing other exercises,” said Beth Tuck, a graduate student in physical education.
    Wiley also encouraged people to come try out the classes, saying: “Anyone is welcome to join us and there is no need for prior yoga training. We teach the class for all levels of practice so beginners as well as advanced participants fit in perfectly.”
    For more information on yoga or other MSU aerobics classes offered, call 325-PLAY (7529) or go on line at http://www.recsports.msstate.edu/fitness/aerobics.php.
    For more on information pertaining to yoga and its history, visit www.yogasite.com/. For more in-depth information on the yoga classes, contact Holly at 325-7238 or Aneva at 325-0824.

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    Yoga stretches limits on exercising