There are as many different styles of yoga as there are people.
Mills yoga instructor Marisa Pugliano said that if you have never done yoga before, the idea of just signing up for a class may seem intimidating, but it’s one of those things you’ve just got to try for yourself.
People often have ideas about what yoga is before they try it. They think they have to be flexible, or a particular body type but yoga really is for everyone.
“Sometimes, people have an idea of what yoga can do for them, or they just have a curiosity,” Pugliano said. “I’d like to encourage them to try it, and if one particular method or school of teaching or even a particular teacher doesn’t feel like the right fit, then just spend some time trying different teachers, trying different methods.”
Currently, all the yoga classes taught at Mills fall under the Hatha yoga umbrella. They are often called different names due to the specific philosophy of the lineage of the teacher’s teacher. Most yoga is passed along from teacher to teacher with emphasis on following the tradition with little to no changes to the style or sequence of the particular style. Classes offered at Mills include Anusara, Inyengar and Flow yoga.
According to Pugliano, more that 90 percent of her students at Mills have never tried yoga before, or they don’t know how to perform the postures correctly.
“We do a lot of foundational work,” Pugliano said. “So when they do the postures, they are not going to hurt themselves, and it’s much more challenging when you do the postures in sequence.”
Iyengar yoga, according to its official website, has a particular emphasis on precision and alignment in all postures as well as the use of props to achieve perfection in the particular sequencing designed by B. K. Iyengar.
At Mills, both Sarah Harvey and Marisa Pugliano teach a traditional length of hour and forty-minute classes. Harvey, who has been teaching for 12 years, said the benefits of yoga go beyond the physical.
“It’s a great stress reducer for studying,” Harvey said. “Especially when you are overwhelmed, taking that kind of break for an hour and forty minutes can really be beneficial.”
Harvey also stresses that to do yoga, you need no special skills.
“It’s a matter of being present and following the instructor the best you can,” Harvey said.
Another class offered at Mills is Anusara yoga. According to its teacher training website, Anusara’s basis is a non-dualistic philosophy which encourages a connection to “Oneness.” A key element to this style of yoga practice is to have a “heart-centered” theme along with “concise bio-mechanical alignment.”
Finding the time in a busy students schedule can be challenging, but according to first-year Terrapin Frazier, it’s worth it. As a student-athlete who also has a job, Frazier feels yoga is essential to her physical, spiritual and mental health.
“Yoga is essential for me. I’m a much better student when I have a solid yoga practice,” Frazier said. “It’s the only way I know how to stay centered and grounded and have a way to connect with myself during the semester.”
To find out more about the yoga classes offered at Mills, and which classes will fit into your next semester’s schedule, check out the Fall 2014 class schedule under the heading Physical Education.