by Ashley Van Alstine

It looks so easy.

Standing. Posing. Stretching. Maybe breathing a little.

But don’t be fooled: yoga is hard work. It’s more than saying, “Om” and posing serenely.

“Yoga is really a whole body workout,” said Nicole Darling, assistant director of student activities and Intramurals director. “It’s not only physically challenging, but very mentally strenuous. To focus on nothing else but your breathing can be a real challenge.”

Intramural yoga is offered Tuesdays at 6 p.m. in Camp Lounge. And, according to Intramurals Yoga Instructor Miranda Steinfeldt, it’s a great way for students to break up the stress of their everyday lives.

“Yoga can add variety to your workout routine, increase total body strength, and relieve stress while you’re having fun,” Steinfeldt said. “You don’t have to go every week, just come when you can. However, you’ll see best results if you come to every class.”

Darling sees yoga as an essential addition not only to a workout but also to Simpson College’s Intramurals program.

“Different activities benefit different areas of the body,” Darling said. “So I think that yoga is going to be around the college for a while, even though it’s a fairly a new practice.”

This yoga group has a relaxed, friendly environment, and it’s individually based.

“As a freshman, it’s stressful and this is a time that I can relax and be calm for an hour,” freshman Katie Brown said. “Simpson provides yoga mats, so the only thing that you need to bring is yourself – wear comfortable, covering clothing. She makes it easy to catch on.”

These yoga sessions are based off of hatha yoga which is a slower-paced, fitness yoga. A session consists of three sections; warm-up, work phase – strength and balance – and relaxation – stretching and breathing.

Because yoga has different modifications students can participate at the level best for them.