Sunlight poured through the glass windows in the chapel, creating a soothing atmosphere. Intense silence ricocheted off the four walls.
Four participants sat on mats, legs crossed, hands pressed together and eyes closed. Their bodies shouted the definitions of calm and focused.
“Yoga should connect the mind to the body,” said Devon Van Horn, the yoga instructor for Shippensburg University’s Mindfulness Movement Yoga for Health.
Van Horn has taught yoga for two semesters during her graduate studies at Shippensburg University.
“The purpose of this class is to give people the opportunity to slow down and notice the way their body feels and what they are thinking,” she said.
Junior Lauren Cappuccio has been attending Van Horn’s class since February, but has been practicing yoga for at least a year.
“I attend because yoga helps me to relax and center myself,” Cappuccio said. “I go because it clears my mind and makes it easier to concentrate on everyday things.”
Van Horn describes yoga as “a way of life” that filters into your life outside of the yoga class.
“Not only does it relax and de-stress you during a class, it will give you a different outlook on life. It definitely puts life into perspective,” Van Horn said.
According to references in www.WebMD.com, yoga increases flexibility and muscle strength, improves posture and breathing and promotes less stress.
By allowing the body to relax and move in a rhythm, the mind can become calm and focused by relieving stress.
Cappuccio agrees, “Oh, it is definitely a stress reliever, no doubt about that.
Pairing the deep breathing with physical movement is a gateway to relaxation and stress relief,” Cappuccio said.
Every Wednesday from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Van Horn leads her students through a yoga routine of stretching and balance poses in the Spiritual Center Chapel. Her largest class has been nine students.
“I try to teach students that yoga is fun, and that you don’t have to be a contortionist to receive the benefits of yoga,” Van Horn said.
The University Counseling Center sponsors the program for SU students, faculty and staff at no cost.
For more information, contact the University Counseling Center at (717)-477-1481, Devon at email@example.com or Tomoko Grabosky at firstname.lastname@example.org