Y is for Yoga: Students, faculty share love for growing trend

Newtown, Conn., senior Evan Bassett relaxes in a yoga class Wednesday inside HouchensSmith Stadium. The class meets twice a week at 6:30 a.m.

Molly English

This semester, Professor Wren Mills has toughed out the workload of having a 6:30 a.m. introduction to yoga class.

Next semester, there will be several different times for the yoga classes to be taught, since the 6:30 a.m.

Monday and Wednesday class will no longer be offered.

“It’s mentally and physically exhausting,” Mills said. “It’s been a good experiment, one I’ve enjoyed and that I think the students have but not one I’m sure I’ll repeat.”

Starting in the fall, all one-credit hour PE 101 courses, will be changed from full term to bi-term courses. Mills and instructor Donna Hey will each be teaching two introduction to yoga courses.

The class teaches basic yoga poses, and throughout the course of the semester, they have added in levels of stretch, extension and some twists. Professor Mills makes sure to focus on alignment and how to safely get in and out of poses while breathing correctly, which helps avoid injury.

“My goal is for students to be able to leave (the course) with a knowledge of the most common poses they’ll encounter at most yoga studios but more importantly, the knowledge to go on after this class and practice on their own,” Mills said.

Over the course of the semester, the students have written a reflective yoga journal to help them focus back on what they’ve gained both mentally and physically from the course.

“Many students report their stress levels go down, and some say that they notice their tempers are better and can deal with conflicts and confrontations better,” Mills said.

The class not only focuses on the poses of yoga, but they also do some guided meditations throughout the class. In their journals, students reported that guided meditation helped them center their minds before a test or a presentation, Mills said.

“I think the class is becoming popular because yoga is becoming popular in general,” Mills said.

Unlike most of the PE 101 courses offered at WKU, it’s not a competitive sport or activity. Many students report that the class is their two hours a day for personal time.

“For two hours a week, you are forced to be completely present the moment while you’re on the mat,” Mills said. “Nothing else matters except for you and the mat.”

The growing popularity had even a 6:30 a.m. course filled up before even the freshmen and sophomores could schedule for this spring term.

“You don’t have to be young, thin, flexible or fit,” Mills said. “(Yoga) is for anyone who wants to try it, is the beauty and a big part of why I think it’s so popular.”

Yoga is designed for personal improvement, and there are many styles of yoga offered in Bowling Green.

Yoga courses will also be taught at nights at the Preston Center this fall.

Dixon senior Brittany Crowley took yoga classes during her time at WKU.

“Yoga is such a great outlet, because it not only provides physical benefits, such as increasing strength and flexibility, but it does wonders for your mental health as well,” Crowley said.