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Students participate in yoga classes, club

| Wednesday, November 29, 2017

As finals approach, Saint Mary’s students will have the opportunity to destress through yoga club and other yoga classes offered at the College.

Senior Madison Marshall, president of the yoga club, said she has been practicing yoga since the summer before her first year at Saint Mary’s.

“I was looking to get in shape before I came into college,” she said. “I started at CorePower Yoga, which is a more modernized version yoga. I kept practicing and I fell in love with the mind-body spirit connection that comes with yoga.”

Since then, Marshall said she has experienced the calming benefits of yoga, which have helped her throughout her college career.

“Yoga has been a good outlet to focus on my inner self and have a release for stress,” she said. “Many people don’t think that postures are anything more than a workout, but if sequenced properly, it helps you focus on your inner self and on breathing. Just taking a deep breath provides so much relief from stress. You find more peace in your life.”

Kimmi Troy, a physical education instructor at Saint Mary’s said yoga has taught her breathing techniques that have helped her deal with stressful situations.

“When I do encounter stressful situations the first thing I do is breathe,” she said. “Taking some quiet time for myself to just to sit down criss-cross and go through breathing exercises has helped me think a little bit more before I react in stressful situation.”

Troy has been a yoga instructor at Saint Mary’s for five years and owns a fitness studio called Tu Sei Bella which features yoga, barre, zumba, cardio and strength classes in Granger, Indiana. 

“Physically, it has definitely given me more muscle tone, flexibility, strengthening of the core and improved my posture,” she said. “Mentally, my mother says I’m more mellow than I ever was.”

As she has experienced the benefits of yoga and other forms of fitness firsthand, Troy said she wanted to extend the experience to others and offers discounts for students who wish to take classes at her studio.

“The sooner students learn that, I think it’s a major asset,” Troy said. “I want to give students that experience because I didn’t have when I was in their place.”

Senior Gabrielle Kooi, is currently enrolled in Troy’s class at Saint Mary’s and said it is her first time trying yoga this semester.

“I enrolled because I needed a class to relieve my stress and give me a break from thinking about school,” she said. “The class has definitely lived up to my expectations.”

Kooi said the class gives her time to relax outside of her schoolwork.

“I wanted to do yoga club, but I just do not have time,” she said. “Taking the class, it gets me out of bed and I’m more awake and energized. I am even growing stronger physically.”

Troy said science has proven the benefits of mindfulness, positive thinking and breathing, especially for surgeons and medical patients. Many surgeons take a few moments before surgery to center themselves, Troy said.

“If you think more positive thoughts you are more likely to have a positive outcome,” she said. “It’s that mind and body connection. It’s essential for patients too.”

Troy said this same mindset can work for students too.

“Especially before final exams, taking that time to reflect and say positive things to yourself can have a major impact on your performance,” she said. “It just takes a few minutes to just mentally sit there in silence. It’s what we call ‘setting an intention’ in yoga.”

Marshall said the mind, body and spirit connection is the most important benefit of yoga for her.

“I’m not as stressed as I used to be,” she said. “It sounds so crazy, but I know how to handle situations better because of yoga.”

Marshall recently went through training to become a certified yoga instructor this past summer in San Diego, California. Training involved a month and a half, or 200 hours, of practicing yoga.  

“It was quite the investment, but it was the best experience” she said. “I did it because I am interested in being in the wellness and nutrition field and yoga is another part of the wellness field.”

Since intensifying her yoga practice, Marshall said she has noticed elongation in her body, increased physical strength and muscle tone, more energy and improved sleep.

She now instructs yoga for the Saint Mary’s yoga club and once a week at Beyond Zen Studio in Granger, Indiana.

Marshall said she encourages everyone to try yoga whether they think they are capable of doing it or not.

“Everyone thinks you have to be flexible to do yoga,” Marshall said. “I’m a yoga instructor and I’m still not as flexible as anyone expects me to be. Anyone can do it and it’s beneficial to everyone.”

Troy said when she attended her very first class, she was not interested in it. However, she said she knew if she continued, the benefits could be worthwhile.

“I was never really interested in it before but I wanted to be,” she said. “I kept hearing about the benefits of it. I thought this is something that could change my life, and I was right.”

Troy will instruct a yoga and zumba class open to all students before Midnight Breakfast before finals week.

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