Yoga classes in Butler Center help students combat stress

With mid-terms coming up more quickly than anyone would like, it comes as no surprise that soon stress levels around campus will be pretty high. For college students everywhere, stress around test time can seem unmanageable with everything else that’s going on: homework, studying, extracurriculars and spending time with family and friends. However, there is one activity that is a great way to combat stress: yoga.

St. Kate’s is no stranger to this practice, as yoga classes have been offered at the Butler Center for many years. Last year, Ellen Richter-Norgel, Associate Dean of Students and Retention, started teaching yoga classes. According to Norgel, yoga is a great way to relieve pent up stress.

“You become much more aware of where you’re holding onto stress and then how to let go of that,” says Norgel.
The yoga classes at Butler are free for students, and yoga mats and blocks are provided if you do not have your own. The Vinyasa yoga class, held on Monday evenings at 7:30, focuses on balance, breathing, strength and developing body awareness.

“It’s all about balance; mind, body, spirit integration,” said Norgel. “It’s really nice to be able to take time and just stop…”

Alex Kennedy ’15, also possesses a love for yoga; this year is her fourth year practicing yoga at St. Kate’s. Kennedy has always loved taking time to just focus on the present in yoga class during a busy week.

“(It’s) an hour and a half to just focus where you are then and not worry about tests and everything else,” said Kennedy.

Recently, Kennedy presented the results of a study in regards to her honors project that took a deeper look at how yoga affects a person’s (specifically a student’s) stress levels. They discovered that stress affected many parts of the body, and that yoga helped to keep the body systems consistent and stable.

“Yoga seemed to counteract the physiological response of stress; psychological responses were more variable but they reported that they were less stressed if they had yoga…it kept [their heart rate] more consistent,” said Kennedy.

Yoga clearly makes a difference in a stressful student’s busy life. With mid-terms upon us, the time has come for some preventative measures in order to combat the inevitable stress of test time. It is believed that trying something new can lead to great things, so grab your mats, pull on some comfy pants and try yoga. Namaste, everyone!

Emma can be reached at

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