A sound mind, a sound body

Every Wednesday night, a small group of students meets in the Phyllis P. Marshall Center. In spite of their cultural and religious differences, the students possess a strong unifying characteristic that many of them consider to be one of the most important aspects of their lives: yoga.

Advertised in the Library as a means to “develop conscious awareness, deeper states of relaxation (and) balance,” the weekly yoga meetings are seen as a positive addition to many of the students? lives.

The meetings are sponsored by the campus organization Students for Recovery. Founded two years ago, SR is a group dedicated to helping people recuperate from emotional and physical trauma. The organization initially offered a number of services to students, including yoga, Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings. The campus counseling center would refer people to SR who seemed to be candidates for the weekly meetings. But after about a year, the AA and NA meetings were discontinued due to lack of attendance. Now, the group has solely dedicated itself to yoga classes, open to anyone who wishes to attend.

“You don?t have to be recovering from anything to do yoga,” said Jim Adamson, the group?s leader and teacher of the weekly classes.

Adamson is a graduate student at USF and has been practicing yoga for more than 30 years. Beginning his training in 1969, he sought yoga as a means to deal with a rough time in his life. Adamson seeks to pass the benefits yoga has given him to others in order to aid them in relaxation and personal growth.

Adamson teaches Hatha yoga which focuses on breathing, postures and movements of the body. Adamson said Hatha yoga deals with the relationship between the spine and the brain. He said by correctly aligning the spine, tension is released, which relaxes the brain and leads to pleasurable feelings, thus creating internal harmony.

Students are asked to assume a variety of different positions and poses in order to alleviate the tension in their bodies. During the classes, Adamson demonstrates positions and breathing styles so the students can easily follow his direction. If anyone has trouble, Adamson said he is always ready to assist, constantly stressing that students should only do what feels comfortable.

“It?s not about winning a prize, it?s about doing it for personal satisfaction, your personal needs,” Adamson said.

Most of the students are involved in the yoga class to increase their flexibility and to alleviate pain that has resulted from injuries. One student, Suzanne Haynes, said that yoga has been the driving force in her recovery from a major accident.

“It?s expanded my life again,” Haynes said.

Though many take the class in order to promote healing, some attend simply for the positive feelings it brings to them.

“Doing yoga sets everything straight,” said John Currey, a 10-year student of yoga.

Classes are held in the Marshall Center on Wednesdays from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. in Room 101. For details about the SR and yoga meetings, contact Jim Adamson at (813) 983-8007.

Contact Malachi McIntosh at oraclefeatures@yahoo.com