The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Yoga provides classes for all types

Pregnant women deep into their third trimester leave their comfy couches, cartons of ice cream, and soap operas and waddle in for a 75-minute yoga class.

Men and women block out 90 minutes of their day to sit in a sweltering hot room heated at more than 105 degrees.

Some mothers even pull their kids away from play time to spend an hour with just “Mommy and me.”

Men are driving to a downtown Dallas studio to meet for 90 minutes in a heated room, completely naked.

All of these people are so willingly giving up their precious time for yoga.

Even though classes can be time consuming, yoga students of all ages and abilities flock to a multitude of classes.

“There are different kinds of yoga with different benefits for different people,” SMU senior and a yoga student Blair Paterson said.

This $4 billion a year industry is practiced by almost 10 percent of North Americans, according to a poll by Yoga Magazine. Dr. Georg Feuerstein, author of “Yoga Morality: Ancient Teachings at a Time of Global Crisis,” says in his book that the trend of yoga being all things to all people in Western Civilization is causing the practice to loose its ethical, philosophical and spiritual roots.

Many traditional yoga enthusiasts believe another contributor to yoga’s loss of its roots is the ease of which people are able to become certified yoga instructors.

Some companies like YogaFit offer certification after one weekend. Others offer certification after one online class. Randy Just, founder of B.K.S. Inyengar Studio in Dallas, says many of these quick certifications are a result of aerobics instructors seeing people flooding into yoga classes and wanting to get certified so they can capitalize on the rapidly growing trend.

The form of yoga Just practices, Inyengar, is based out of Puna, India, and was founded by the form’s namesake, B.K.S. Inyengar. In contrast to other forms of yoga, an Inyengar certification takes about four years to accomplish and has 13 different levels. Those seeking an Inyengar certification will be placed with two senior teachers who will watch you study, practice and teach. When your senior teachers feel you are ready, they will recommend you for certification in your level. Yoga is a very ancient science, according to Just, and this process of certification that Inyengar provides will only give you a glimmer of it.

“My teacher [B.K.S. Inyengar] is 90 years old and he says he is a beginner,” Just said. “In one of [Inyengar’s] classes he said, ‘You people know less than me and I’m a beginner.'”

But for those of us who don’t have 90 years of our lives to devote to becoming a yogi, America has developed its own variations of the practice.

As SMU yoga instructor Katherine Monigal said, “You can’t take a 4,000 year-old Indian tradition and put it smack dab in the middle of Texas.”

Well, at least not without a little tweaking.

Here’s a look at some of the ways this ancient practice has been changed:

Get Your Crunch During a Power Lunch.

BlackBerrys and e-mail make it hard to escape the stress of work in today’s information age. That is why lunch break yoga sessions have been popping up around the country.

“Come as you are, business attire is acceptable,” says the Web site for Park Cities Yoga in Dallas. These quickie, no-sweat classes usually focus on breathing, relaxation and stress reduction techniques.

Jill Rusher, a 24 Hour Fitness yoga instructor, said one of the hardest things for people to do is to be still and be quiet.

“I encourage people to reflect on themselves during class,” Rusher said. “It might be the only time they do the whole week.”

Baby in the Belly? Come Relax Your Mind.

Yoga isn’t just about downward dogs and cat stretches. It is just as much about breathing, which makes yoga perfect for pregnant women.

Many testimonials from women who participated in yoga during their pregnancy said the breathing techniques used to develop an inner rhythm during yoga helped them through child birth.

Prenatal yoga is perhaps one of the best illustrations of the adaptability of yoga according to Just, an Inyengar yoga instructor. Instead of saying, “Don’t do that, you’re pregnant,” Just says he puts prenatal yogis in a position that mimics the yoga pose that they cannot physically do.

“Some people think yoga is just to stretch your hamstrings,” Just said. “It does stretch your hips, but it also makes you healthier.”

Don’t Like to Sweat? This Is Not The Place For You.

No, this is not hell. But when you wake up tomorrow you may feel like you are in it. This form of yoga is traditionally practiced in a room heated at or above 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40 percent humidity. It is known as one of the most strenuous forms of yoga.

“The first couple of times I thought I was going to die,” Paterson said.

“Hot” yoga is based on the Bikram form of yoga, which has 26 poses and two forms of breathing. According to Bikram yoga founder Bikram Choudhury, the room is heated in order to give the muscles the deepest stretch possible, to open the pores to release toxins, and to increase the heart rate for a better cardiovascular workout.

Mommy and Me.

This is the one public place where it is acceptable to let your kid stand on their head. Mommy and me yoga is offered as a way for mothers to work with their children to develop both inner and outer strength and flexibility.

Jeff Farrell of Park Cities Yoga in Dallas says he is convinced that yoga can be a good alternative to pills for children with social and psychological disorders. In a “Commit to be Fit” segment this summer on NBC’s Channel 5 News in Dallas, Jeff Farrell said, “Yoga, tailor made for individual kids, can help improve focus, control breathing and reduce anxiety.”

In an effort to help children relax, focus, and increase self-confidence, this form of yoga is being practiced by children of all ages and has even been seen in some public school systems in the United States.

No Clothes? No Problem.

Not at this Dallas yoga studio. Dallas Naked Yoga for Men is a private, members only yoga studio that prides itself on fostering spirituality, bonding, camaraderie, taboo, fellowship and sameness. Nude yoga classes began popping up in California during the 1960s and have been growing, most notably in the gay community, over the past few years. Some of you may be asking yourselves, why in the nude?

According to Dallas Naked Yoga for Men instructor Richard Keen, “Practicing yoga in the nude is not required, nor is it better than practicing with minimal or light clothing. The experience of practicing yoga in the nude is a freedom that takes us back to the basic roots of ourselves.”

But, all in all, Keen says it doesn’t really matter why. He says it is the trust in ourselves that allows us to really practice yoga in total freedom.

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