By: Lubaba Mahmud, Staff Writer
SFU Recreation offers a wide variety of yoga classes to members of the SFU community through its Mind Body Spirit pass. Though many of the different offerings were tempting, I was especially intrigued by the description of the Yin/Yang Yoga class on the SFU Recreation website, which states that the goal of the class is to “allow you to feel present in the moment, to connect mind and body and soul, and deliver skills to help accept the yin and yang of daily life.” Since, like many of us struggling through another semester at SFU, my mind, body, and soul could use some reconnecting, I decided to give it a shot.
I participated in the Wednesday offering of the class, which is taught by Bryony Ollier. Bryony created a very warm and welcoming environment for all participants. As explained by Bryony, Yin/Yang Yoga is based on a Chinese concept which combines and draws upon two types of energy — the softer Yin energy and the dynamic Yang energy. It is a restorative practice that focuses mostly on gentle breathing exercises. This form of yoga helps participants let go of stress through meditation and a touch of somatic therapy. Since Yin/Yang Yoga focuses more on holding poses for breathing exercises rather than putting participants through rigorous movements requiring extreme flexibility, the instructor explained that it is an especially good class for those that are new to yoga.
At the start of the class, Bryony noted that her specific goal for the class was for participants to loosen up and connect with the earth through therapeutic exercises such as guided, rhythmic breathing. She gave the class instructions that were meant to release bodily tensions that resist the earth. The soft and melodious background music created a soothing atmosphere that complemented the class well. However, since the class took place in the Education Building gym, it was a little hard to ignore the loud crowd noises from the bustling AQ above us. Because of this, I would recommend arriving early and reserving a spot near the front to make sure that you can hear Bryony’s instructions clearly.
She also mentioned that each class is slightly different to cater to the varying needs of participants. Overall, it was a very relaxing experience for me to attend Yin/Yang Yoga, so I would recommend this class as a simple way to relieve stress.
If you’re interested, Yin/Yang Yoga classes usually take place from 12:30 p.m. to 1:20 p.m. on Tuesdays in the West Gym’s VIP Room and on Wednesdays in the Education Building gym. However, please check the website for possible location and/or date changes. Each class costs about $8 for drop-in, but if you have the Mind Body Spirit Pass, which costs $114.25 for students and is valid for the whole semester, you get unlimited access to any yoga and stretch classes offered by SFU Recreation.