By Kassidy Weemhoff | Echo
Bringing Christ into the breathing, body alignment and stress relief practice that has sometimes been viewed as new age or corrupt, a certified instructor is implementing a different perspective on yoga at a new fitness class.
"When I was at Taylor, I think I forgot about my body a lot because I was engaging my mind all the time," said Megan Miller, a 2001 graduate who became certified to teach yoga two years ago.
According to Miller, this deep aligning practice can have incredible benefits for the stress level of a college student.
"We are such a high stress people, but by using breathing techniques, we can switch that," Miller said. "You have this tool just with the breath of your body to switch your body from being stressed to not stressed."
Having studied the history of yoga, Sanskrit written language and the physical benefits, Miller understands the way to create a healthy, holy environment with the practice. She says you have to invite Christ into the space, and she encourages this by reading a scripture passage to meditate on during each session.
This practice, called "Holy Yoga," offers a way for Christians to practice setting aside the stresses of life and meditate deeply on the body and the Lord. Not only is this offered at Taylor, but also in Marion, Indiana, at a small, locally-run fitness center called The Shred Shed.
Olson Hall Director Jessie Woodring attends both sunrise yoga and hot yoga sessions there, and has brought an instructor into Olson for a hall event over J-term. For her, yoga is a recent discovery, but one which has many benefits.
"Yoga is a great way to think about your breathing and about which areas of your body hold tension," Woodring said. "(The Shred Shed) has a Christian perspective on yoga. The instructors that I've been with use scripture verses as a meditation. . . . It's almost like Lectio Divina with how they speak scripture over you and ask what sticks out or what you need from it that day."
In addition to the spiritual rejuvenation yoga offers, it is also healthy for the body. As we get older, our bodies
start to break down.
Body alignment and breathing are focal points of yoga as a whole, and Miller intentionally integrates the basics into her teaching.
"If we don't build our muscles properly, we can get injuries," Miller said. "With yoga, for example, you are trying to align the muscles in your back to be in proper placement and the same strength so when you walk you can walk properly."
Miller's class is in the aerobics room on Mondays and Wednesdays at either 3:15 p.m. or 5:15 p.m. with a cost of $5 to attend one class, and $27 for the duration of the classes this semester. If you want to venture off-campus and try out The Shred Shed, it's also $5 per class. There are classes at 6:00 a.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays as well as hot yoga classes on Thursday evenings. For more information, check the student announcements or theshredshedfitness.com.