Motion without commotion

Yoga is a hot trend on campus, with nearly half a dozen classes taught every week.

Sheri Young, Union administrative assistant and an independent yogi with 12 to 15 years of experience, practices in the Union.

“A powerful thing with Hatha yoga is that it tries to slow the mind and body,” she said.

Common Western exercises, like running, biking and others, focus on competition. Hatha yoga, the most commonly practiced form of yoga, focuses on teaching the mind to know its body through exercises and postures. The word yoga in Sanskrit means “to unite.”

“(Yoga) builds mind and body discipline, providing an energizing workout that doesn’t make you feel tired at the end of workout,” said Joy Trendergast, a freshman in ballet.

Young said she believes that younger people are always competing and often don’t understand yoga’s lack of competition.

“When I taught yoga, the younger people would usually drop out,” she said.

Hatha yoga consists of many different routines that help strengthen the body by stretching it, contracting the muscles and using the body to create a natural resistance.

The routines are designed to provide maximum energy for the body with the smallest amount of effort.

“Yoga feels good. The reason I started doing yoga is because I thought that it would help me with my dancing, but now I’m hooked,” said Rachel Meyer, freshman in ballet.

These postures are usually done in a peaceful setting unlike the noisy exercises most Western cultures are interested in.

“You go to the gym and everyone is chatting and the music is really loud, which is the complete opposite of Hatha yoga,” Young said.

Hatha yoga teaches you to understand your body in quiet rather than through loud and obnoxious activities, she said.

Yoga originated in northern India, and the philosophy behind Hatha yoga is to exercise the body in order to exercise the mind. For people without a lot of time, there is a yoga called Raja yoga that goes straight to meditation.

“Often we have trouble focusing our mind on all of the things that we are involved in as university students,” said Chirag Sharma, a doctoral student in electrical engineering. “The mind is going a hundred different directions and Raja yoga helps to focus the mind and regulate it.”

Sharma learned Raja yoga in India as an undergraduate and teaches it in the Union every Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Because Raja yoga is from the mental plane, there are no poses that accompany this form of yoga. Any posture that is comfortable for a half-hour to an hour is the only posture associated with it.

“In meditation you try to remove all sensory input into the mind in order to focus on thoughts,” Sharma said. “Whatever you do throughout the day leaves an impression on your unconscious mind. When you are sitting down, the subconscious mind comes into play, and these thoughts start coming out.”

[email protected]

Jump: Yoga is a hot trend on campus.