It’s difficult to stay healthy in college. Between students sedentary lifestyles, crowded living conditions and the anxiety of classes, we are beset by illness and anxiety.
The college offers a chance to fight off a few of these hazards of higher education through yoga classes offered several times a week by Betty Amatangelo.
“Our culture has our young people wrapped too tight,” said Amatangelo. “Because of this, they’re suffering from depression, anxiety, eating disorders and addictions. I’ve seen other people benefit [from yoga], and I’ve benefitted myself.”
Four days a week, Amatangelo shares her yoga experience with the school through her classes of different difficulty. The classes range from gentle yoga on Fridays for people who want to meditate, stretch and relax, to the more active workouts on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Amatangelo also holds an athletes-only class over the weekends.
“It’s just fun doing it with your friends,” said freshman Gabby Kasten, who was recommended to the program to help confront anxiety problems.
“Yoga helps with relaxation and stress relief. It gives me an hour and a half a day where my mind isn’t going crazy,” she said.
Amatangelo discussed the benefits of yoga.
“Yoga involves physical aspects of health, like strength building and physical balance,” she said. “Because yoga has a spiritual aspect, you can use scripture in the sessions, any scripture, and it has a more life-giving, life-changing foundation.”
Kasten and her friends described this spiritual aspect as yoga off the mat–being the best person you can be and helping other people.
“Betty’s a really great person to be around. She helps your self-esteem and tells you what you need to hear,” Kasten said.
“I want students to come away with an appreciation for stillness,” Amatangelo said.
Freshman Blake Brady enjoys yoga because “you meet a lot of friendly people. It’s healthy and peaceful, and I feel great after the sessions.”
He said that the classes helped him to relax, and he enjoyed the peace and quiet of the experience.
“If you feel stressed, or have aches and pains, come to yoga. It’s free, it’s fun and you are not judged at all,” he said.
“I think that young people want to be a part of something special or different,” said Amatangelo. “Yoga has a reputation for being mysterious and esoteric. I think curiosity brings them there, and then they have such a physical, emotional and sometimes spiritual response that they come back.”
Classes are offered in the Herrmann Student Union Mondays at 4:45 p.m. and Fridays at 3:30 p.m. Classes are offered in the Rec Center at 8:15 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays.