Readings, projects, presentations, oh my! St. Kate’s is in full swing for spring semester 2017 and it can be easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out. One of the best ways to relax your mind and body is to breathe and do some stretching. Hey, why not try yoga and bring a few friends if you would like! Studying for your classes should not be the only thing you wake up to everyday. Having a regular routine of yoga can help clear your mind and let positive thoughts enter your life.
Yoga has many beneficial elements, especially for athletes. Yoga practice provides 3 important aspects: poses, breathing, and meditation or relaxation. According to the Mayo Clinic , yoga has assisted with decreasing stress levels, increasing fitness levels, and maintaining any chronic issues to a more manageable level. For most people, improvement has to do with the increase in flexibility. For Athletes, improvement will be seen more in the healing time after an intense workout session on the softball field, soccer field, etcetera (Petretti). An important factor for any yoga class is the studio environment being a positive energy source. Yoga provides you with the opportunity to focus on yourself, so if you do not feel motivated after a class, it’s probably not the right fit. Try another class because there are plenty to choose from such as C1, C2, hot yoga, Hatha yoga, hot power fusion, candlelight meditation, and so forth.
During my first semester, I decided to try yoga sculpt on Tuesday at 12:15p.m. in the Butler Center. The instructor for this class was Heidi Anderson-Isaacson, the director of Residence Life here at St. Kate’s as well as a certified yoga sculpt instructor. Heidi started her yoga journey at Core Power Yoga. Since taking up the practice, she has noticed her body getting stronger and flexible. In 2011, she started her teacher training at Core Power. As of this year, she has been teaching yoga at St. Kate’s for nearly15 years. Anderson-Isaacson says, “I am hitting areas of my body that I might not have if it wouldn’t have been for incorporating that into my work schedule. It hits all the different muscle groups.” Before yoga, her only experience with the practice involved the Wii Fit.
What makes her yoga sculpt class different from the others involves the use of weights. On average, an ordinary class has around 12-15 people. This varies depending on the day or week. During the class, Anderson-Isaacson will walk around and adjust people if their poses look a bit off balance. If you would rather not have her adjust you, She asks that you raise your hand before the class begins. The music in her class has a benefit along with the fun environment she creates for the entirety of the 60 minutes. Yoga sculpt is a fast pace class, so the music has to match the pace. She starts off the class with a warm-up into child’s pose ascending into chaturanga, upward facing dog, downward facing dog, and repeat until warrior and lunge. After warm-up, she adds the weights for lunge, warrior, down dog, airplane, and halfway fold. This leads into more challenging cardio that ends with the final corpse pose. While in corpse pose, Anderson-Isaacson will come around and massage your neck and shoulders for a brief second.
Her best advice for encouraging students and faculty to go to a yoga class is to form a “healthy community…away from the desk.” Anderson Isaacson would categorize yoga as if it were, “a vegetable or new food,” in that you have to try it before you critique it. Yoga was created for all bodies at any level because it’s about you and no one else for 60 minutes. As Anderson-Isaacson suggests, “come with what you got…” and take it slow. A yogi will never be born over night! It takes practice, practice, and more practice before getting the hang of it.