Finds Wellness in Yoga
cluster of colorful yoga mats and beach towels appear every Wednesday
at noon in the lobby of UNC Pembroke's Givens Performing Arts Center.
A CD recording of guitar music soothes ragged nerves.
On this day, 11
enthusiastic participants have arrived to stretch their bodies and minds.
Marilu Santos transforms from biology professor into master yoga instructor
for this hour.
the importance of breathing and spinal alignment to her class.
will relax your muscles and open your joints and increase flexibility,"
she said. "Alignment is necessary, so you don't get injured."
class begins with simple poses, such as "namaste," the prayer
pose. Students stand still with palms together and shoulders back to
open the chest cavity.
at home with your body," instructs Santos. "It is difficult
to do yoga if your mind is somewhere else."
breathing soon grows and relaxes with a flute solo. Close your eyes
and you'll think you were at the beach listening to the tide come in.
Santos and UNCP's
Wellness Committee have been offering yoga classes for five years. A
certified yoga instructor, she also teaches yoga at the Southeastern
Lifestyle and Fitness Center in Lumberton.
The group is predominately
female, although there are a few brave men.
"I feel much
more relaxed, my blood pressure is lowered, and it has a calming effect
on my body," said longtime member and yoga enthusiast John Bowman.
He said the Wellness Committee has experimented with Tai Chi, water
and dance aerobics, fitness walking and nutrition classes. Bowman, a
sociology professor, thinks yoga is popular because it is a non-competitive
activity that people can do at a level that is comfortable for them.
however, are experimenting with yoga for the first time in their lives.
"It's a little
awkward at times, like when she (Santos) does a new pose," said
university computer technician Tony Chavis. "But I like it."
Poses are often
named after animals, and include the "dog," "cow,"
"cobra," "eagle," "warrior," "exalted
warrior" and "sun."
Santos said the
most popular pose is the "fetal" pose, where one curls up
on their side and focuses on breathing. It looks like naptime for adults.
a witness," she instructs. "Watch thoughts pass by without
judgment, opinion, feeling or aversion."
Maria Molina was
inspired to take up yoga again after her friend, Emily Love, invited
her to the sessions on campus.
"I did it at
home when I was little, but I stopped for many years," Molina said.
Her daughter sits quietly on a sofa during the class.
James Bass, a university
administrator, has been attending the noontime yoga sessions faithfully
and prefers them to doing yoga at home with books and videotapes. He
said his technique has improved under Santos's tutelage, and he feels
yoga boosts his day.
"It's a great
thing. I need to stick with it," he said.
For more information,
contact John Bowman, chair of the UNCP Wellness Committee, at 910.521.6626
to University Newswire