Yoga classes continue to spread bliss on campus

Students who attend yoga classes say it relax them and improves their health.Students who attend yoga classes say it relax them and improves their health.
The widely successful yoga class which began earlier this year has expanded to two days a week.

With assistance from Vice President Dr. Gerry Tobin and Laura Zirkle of Student Life, the class is now offered Monday and Thursday nights in order to accommodate more students’ academic schedules. Both classes appear to be doing well, with 15-35 students in attendance each week at both the Rec Center and Student Union locations.

Betty Amatangelo, asana instructor and motivational leader, believes that the success of the class is in part due to the consistent results after ever session.

“Students continue to attend because they feel so good afterwards. Most after class conversations begin with, ‘I was having a rough day and this made it all better,’” Amatangelo said. “Also, I’d like to believe that they continue to come because of the absolutely unconditional accepting nature of yoga, both as a physical and spiritual discipline.”

Students agree that the benefits of yoga go beyond the physical. “At first, I went to yoga to increase my flexibility for wrestling, but then I realized it is just a perfect way to relax your body and mind,” freshman Seth Stonis said.

Freshman Matthew Holtz agreed. “I choose to practice yoga because it makes my body feel good, and I enjoy the spiritual experience,” he said.

With Amatangelo at the forefront, it is not difficult to understand the success of this unique exercise class. “I really enjoy having a yoga class at the rec center now, especially with a teacher that is so knowledgeable and passionate about what she is teaching,” junior Toni Novello said.

“I think that Betty’s classes are so well-attended because she is a talented yoga instructor. She is able to work with yoga students (this includes faculty and staff) at all levels and makes students feel comfortable,” Associate Professor of Social Work Laura Lewis said. “She clearly loves teaching yoga, and her dedication to improving herself through yoga is very evident.”

Both Novello and Lewis said they believe in all the benefits of yoga as well. “I go to yoga for my physical and spiritual well-being. Yoga’s effects occur both inside and out,” Novello said. “It is a great opportunity to come clear your mind and separate yourself from your busy life just for a moment while also being physically active. This yoga class keeps me coming back every week.”

“The classes are both relaxing and intense. It is a good workout, and most importantly to me, it helps with flexibility and core strength – two things that I neglect,” Lewis said.

The yoga class is not stopping at expanding to just two nights a week. Future plans include utilizing other spaces on campus, offering morning classes, and getting yoga recognized as a one-credit course.

Amatangelo also has personal goals for the class, such as to keep encouraging people through yogic movement and the philosophy of yoga, to promote stillness, the kind of stillness that fortifies us beyond the limitations that we create for ourselves and to help students strengthen their religious beliefs.

“I believe yoga can bring you into a more personal communion with your chosen deity,” Amatangelo said. “As a Catholic myself, yoga has led me to a deeper understanding of God and what that actually means.”

Classes will continue through mid-May. Classes are held on Mondays at 4:45 p.m. at the Student Union and Thursdays at 7 p.m. at the Rec Center. Feel free to check out all yoga has to offer at the Yoga Celebration, Friday, April 30th, from 5-7 p.m. outside in the Grotto.

Ethan Magoc photo.Ethan Magoc photo.