Yoga class offers a relaxing way to earn credit

By Leah Spagnoli

Spring semester is coming fast. Students anticipating a hectic season may want to consider taking a deep breath of yoga in Anderson Hall.

Graduate assistant Kristina Hoogstra teaches two sections of yoga.

“I want students to know a different type of exercise,” Hoogstra said. “You don’t need to ‘pump iron.’ Using your own body weight works just as well. Not everything has to be like what we see on TV.”

While Hoogstra teaches two sections of the class, Trish McDonough, another graduate assistant, teaches the third. Yoga is welcome to all NIU students to take advantage of, although they see mostly KNPE majors in the class.

There is a book for this class, teaching students the history of Hatha Yoga. Hatha Yoga is the most common type of yoga taught in any classroom.

“I don’t like to lecture a lot,” Hoogstra said. “With something like yoga, it’s easier to teach it while doing it. When a student gets into the position, we talk about what they are feeling and what they’re supposed to feel. We go more towards: ‘What is this doing for my body?'”

Students are graded on how well they get into postures, their form while in the postures, their knowledge of the postures and if they are actually trying.

“If I can tell that they are really trying their best, that’s what I go off of for grades,” Hoogstra said.

A typical day in the class is beginning by centering yourself and taking cleansing breaths. The rest of the class is a body weight work out.

“We do sweat,” Hoogstra said. “These positions take a lot of strength and stretching. The key is remembering to breath, When you’re up in those positions, sometimes concentration outweighs breathing.”

There is a 25 student cap on the class and the ratio of boys to girls is fairly equal.

“I took a yoga class in high school, and it interests me,” said Lina Kuliavas, junior art education major. “I needed an extra credit and this was a relaxing way to fill it. I’m hoping to gain a better range of flexibility. It’s also a great form of exercise if I don’t have time to get to the gym. It’s exercise I’m getting graded on.”

Taking any type of “gym class” is an idea in college that some students may be unaware of. In high school, students are required to take a gym class all four years.

Then, coming to college, there is a lot more freedom. You could go to the gym, or you could go take a nap.

“I wanted a class where I could stay fit, enjoy myself and relieve stress,” said Krystal Hernandez, senior actuarial sciences major.

Students interested in taking a yoga class at NIU for one credit should sign up for KNPE 106. No experience is required to take the class.