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  • Yoga used by Pittsburg State students and faculty for summer relaxation

  • Some Pittsburg State University students and faculty are utilizing and old-world method of relaxation this summer.

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  • Some Pittsburg State University students and faculty are utilizing and old-world method of relaxation this summer.
    Every Monday and Wednesday evening about 20 of them gather at the Student Rec Center for an hour-long yoga session led by Colby Elbert, a graduate student in psychology. Elbert has been practicing the ancient art for at least six years, and enjoys the opportunity to share his passion for it with others.
    “I really do feel like it brings life to me,” Elbert said. “It affects my physical health, and I can feel the subtle benefits of it. It reminds me to pay attention to my health, and it also helps me slow down.”
    Elbert said he found yoga after he stopped playing soccer in high school. He culls information from videos and research, and tailors the sessions to the class.
    “It’s aimed at beginners, so it’s more chopped up; here’s a pose, here’s another pose,” Elbert said, adding that lengthy pose combinations can wear students down quickly.
    “That way they won’t get tired as easily.”
    The sessions have three main parts. The beginning focuses on “centering,” in which the students lie on their backs while performing various exercises that help them zone into the session. Elbert asks the classes to think about their “yoga goals” for the day.
    “Everybody has a reason for coming to class,” Elbert said. “I just want them to remind themselves of that.”
    The middle of the class focuses on various standing and kneeling poses, as well as balancing poses. The last part of the class focuses on relaxing and mental clarity.
    “That’s why they’re here,” Elbert said. “They want to be free of stress.”
    Kristopher Mijares is a chemistry instructor at Pitt State. He said he hadn’t given yoga much thought until he received an e-mail notifying him of the class.
    “I figured I’d give it a shot, do something different for the summer,” Mijares said.
    So far, he said, the exercises have had a positive effect.
    “I have stiff muscles and a stiff skeleton, and it helps,” he said.
    Vidhi Kundalia is an international student from India, and said she has practiced yoga since she was in sixth grade. She said there are differences in the philosophies of the yoga instructors she studied under in India, who taught a style of yoga that is more physical.
    “In India we focus more on meditation and hold the poses longer,” Kundalia said. “Here it’s more focused on relaxation and stress relief.”
    Kundalia said Elbert’s style is just fine.
    “The way he does it is very good,” she said. “He’s a good instructor.”

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