CMCers Can “Feel the Burn” in Summer Session Yoga Class

CMC Registrar and Director of Institutional Research Elizabeth Morgan will be putting willing students through their paces in a Hatha Yoga class (with an emphasis on vinyasa practice) that she’ll teach during the summer session of 2011.

“We will focus primarily on developing the asana practice (all those yoga poses), with a secondary focus on pranayama (breathing),” Morgan says. “We will also take some time at the end of each class to relax and enjoy the benefits of the physical practice.”

Doesn’t sound like too much of a “stretch,” does it?

Morgan, who has taught yoga the past year via the Joint PE program, expects to hold the class in Room 1 of the Tiernan Field House “A wonderful place to practice,” she says.

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CMC: How do you come by your Yoga knowledge?

Morgan: I’ve been a student of yoga for about 12 years and just started teaching for the Joint PE program as an experienced practitioner in Fall 2010.

CMC: What are the specific health and or physical benefits of attending a weekly yoga class?

Morgan: The physical benefits of a regular yoga practice include improved muscle strength, flexibility and endurance/stamina for physical activities of all sorts. Yoga can also improve one’s range of motion and be therapeutic for individuals with injuries or other physical limitations. Additional physical virtues include improved concentration, balance and posture. Also, a dedicated yoga practice helps students to reduce stress, to gain confidence, to be free (if even briefly) from worldly concerns and to develop a greater sense of tranquility and self-acceptance.

CMC: How would your class specifically benefit CMCers that attend?

Morgan: I hope that our students will find yoga to be a welcome respite from the intensity of the summer academic experience. I like to consider this yoga course an opportunity for our students to enjoy a twice-weekly “mental vacation” from their academic efforts!

CMC: What will students have to bring to class a mat, bottle of water, perhaps a note from their doctor?

Morgan: While I recommend that students bring their own mats, the Tiernan facility provides all the necessary equipment for those who don’t already have their own. It’s much more important that student come to class with an open mind and a positive attitude.

CMC: Do you find that many people who attend yoga class for the first time think it’ll be a breeze?

Morgan: Different people come to yoga for the first time seeking all sorts of different things. Some students are looking for a challenging or rigorous physical work-out; others seek rehabilitation for an injury or persistent pain (back pain, in particular). Many just want a refuge from stress or tension in their lives. Yoga meets each new practitioner at his or her starting point, then allows that student to develop his or her practice into something that best suits the individual’s needs.

CMC: What is the most difficult move/position/stretch in yoga; one that’s a real killer and that you will be teaching?

Morgan: One challenging pose we’ll work toward is a “crow” or “crane” pose (bakasana): it requires a great deal of core abdominal strength in addition to good balance and upper-body strength. It also requires the student to overcome the natural and quite reasonable fear of falling on his or her face. It’s very important to remember that different poses are challenging for different individuals and also that achieving a challenging pose is beside the point. Someone with good flexibility may not have great strength, someone with good balance may not be very flexible and someone with great strength may be very self-conscious and have difficulty concentrating. Working toward challenging poses, not necessarily achieving them, helps us to develop some of the more elusive qualities of a satisfying yoga practice: a sense of discipline, self-awareness and humility.

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This is the tenth in a series of stories about CMC faculty teaching during the 2011 Summer Session. For additional information on this course, please email Elizabeth Morgan.

CMC’s 2011 Summer Session begins May 23rd and will offer both three- and six-week courses, all taught by CMC faculty. A full listing of course offerings is available on the Summer Session Website.