Yoga Provides Space for Relaxation

Cassidy Hilburn
hilburnc@grinnell.edu

A month into this semester, some students may be starting to feel overloaded with schoolwork, extracurricular activities and social events. To help soothe the tension that can build up, the College offers a plethora of differently styled yoga sessions.

One such opportunity are the sessions held at Faulconer Gallery, which started up for the semester on Sept. 21. The weekly sessions are from 12:15 to 12:50 p.m. and are led by Monica St. Angelo, who also teaches in town.

The demographic of the class adds an interesting layer to the session, which is one of St. Angelo’s favorite things about her practice.
“I love that we have everyone from college students to retired people, to staff, and professors … I love that mix,” she said.

Monica St. Angelo (far right) leading the yoga sessions at Faulconer Gallery. (Photo by Minh Tran)

Monica St. Angelo (far right) leading the yoga sessions at Faulconer Gallery. (Photo by Minh Tran)

Other yoga sessions are organized by Yoga Club, which has two instructors: head volleyball coach Jackie Hutchison and Erin Rosenfeld ’18.
Hutchison has a background in physical therapy and defines her teaching style as being varied.

“Every semester I’ve taught differently … I try to have a blend,” she said. “It’s not like a typical yoga class.”
Hutchison also brings her extensive background to the table and offers a unique perspective on why – beyond exercise benefits – yoga is important for the home life.

“[It can be used] to be super present, even after a mentally and physically exhaustive day,” she said.

Rosenfeld received her certification this summer from St. Angelo’s extensive training and became the Yoga Club’s first student instructor. She focuses on breathing practices and warming muscles with dynamic stretches.

All the instructors have varying experiences with yoga but share a passion.

“I almost passed out [the first time I tried yoga] from trying to breathe right.” St. Angelo laughed. “I was like, ‘Oh, no. This is not for me.’”
She began regularly practicing yoga later in an exercise class, where it was integrated at the end of workouts. From then on her passion progressed naturally, and she has now been practicing for over a decade.

“I wasn’t seeking meditation or anything like that, which is how a lot of people begin their practice,” she said. “For me, it just felt like a more holistic way of addressing where I was at at the time, and where I’ve been since. It wasn’t just mental or physical but a combination of it all together.”

Rosenfeld has been accumulating different methods into her repertoire since she started in eighth grade.

“A family friend introduced it to me, and I’ve loved it ever since,” she said. These skills have been proved useful in instructing classes, where she instructs in the style called Vinyasa Flow.

Both of the Yoga Club’s sessions are held in Main lounge – Hutchinson’s are on Sundays from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m., and Rosenfeld’s are on Tuesdays from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. The club also publicizes and supports the other yoga activities, which include sessions taught by Minna Mahlab, Director of the Science Learning Center. Those are held at the Bear Athletic Center from Tuesdays from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

The yoga community at the College strives to consider busy Grinnell schedules and provide maximum opportunities to enjoy yoga and reap its benefits.

“[Yoga] provides a way to balance emotions, [keeps] up with the stress of college and is just really nice exercise,” Rosenfeld said. “It’s very body positive.”