Covenant Spotlight: Campus Yoga

 Andrea Beachley, photo by Abby Whisler

Andrea Beachley, photo by Abby Whisler

For anyone looking to spice up their workout routine or try something new, yoga may be the answer for you. Covenant is offering a yoga class every Wednesday from 8:00-9:00 p.m. The class is open to all ages and all levels of experience. To find out more about this opportunity, I talked with Covenant's very own yoga instructor, Andrea Beachley.

Catherine: About how many on average take the yoga class? Are they all female?

Andrea: The smallest class was three girls, the largest was 14-15. Guys do come, however we usually have more girls. There have been a few classes with equal amounts of each gender.

CL: What is the level of expertise required to do your yoga class?

AB: Every week there is usually someone who has never done yoga before, which is great. I love having brand new people come, yet there are usually a few people that have more experience and can be a really good visual guide in case you get confused at any time.

CL: How long have you done yoga?

AB: I've been practicing yoga for around 2 and a half years. I became a 200hr RYT (registered yoga teacher) last December of 2014.

CL: What do you think yoga has to offer Covenant students? How does it differ from other workouts such as running or lifting? What do you personally love about it?

AB: Yoga is a really great and often a safer way to keep your body healthy, but it is a mental practice as well. Anybody can do yoga, but it also will be different for everyone. For some people, it can be vulnerable to stand in big poses and stay determined in the posture. For others, the slower, seated postures might be difficult because they might have a racing mind or they don't want to be still. I think that a good yoga class will be one in which you are challenged both physically and mentally, and those challenges will be different for everyone. Yoga instructors intend to instruct physical poses but encourage the students to stay aware of what's going on in their mind.

CL: Do participants express that the class has helped them get more physically fit? If so, what muscles are strengthened?

AB: I haven't had a student tell me that they feel more physically fit, per se, but you're free to ask or try it out. Yoga works all of your muscles. The longer you practice yoga, the more you become aware and can incorporate all the parts of your body into the movements and poses. It lengthens your body by stretching, it strengthens your body by holding poses and often balancing quite a bit, and it relaxes your body by breathing and being aware of your breath throughout the class. As I said before, hopefully it does the same thing for your mind: creating space, strengthening, and releasing tension.

CL: Yoga has a potential for injury for those unfamiliar with their bodies, how do you emphasize safety?

AB: That's very true. Yoga teachers should always give options and modifications, especially for more challenging poses. Students should always tell the instructor if they are dealing with any type of injury or healing from something. Most importantly, the students should come in with no expectations of what their body can and cannot do. People who are really flexible can have just as much chance for injury as someone who is as stiff as a board. I would tell any student, new or experienced, to take it slow, listen to your body, and don't do anything that I might tell you to do that feels painful or like it may be unsafe for your body. Yoga is absolutely not about making your body look a certain way or fit a certain image, short term or long term. We use the yoga poses to fit our own bodies, rather than the misconception that we use our bodies to fit a yoga pose.

Andrea Beachley, photo credit Abby Whisler
It certainly sounds like this is a great opportunity for Covenant students. Andrea answered all of my questions, but if you are interested in finding out more you can contact her, or stop by the class next Wednesday at 8:00 to see for yourself. She would love to see you there!