Yoga benefits the mind, body and soul

Research at the Mayo Clinic has shown yoga practice to have significant health benefits, including stress reduction and management of depression and pain.

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SLCC offers yoga classes for students and those who would like to become instructors. The Yoga Teacher Training follows the Yoga Alliance 200-hour certification standard.

“Yoga has a really strong benefit of reducing stress and anxiety,” says SLCC Yoga Instructor Mary Johnston-Coursey. “It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which puts us in an internal reflective mood, which then helps our body heal, so this is something that’s unique to yoga.”

The yoga instructor program attracts many types of people, including doctors, lawyers and physical therapists. The SLCC Yoga Instructor Program is economical and well rounded.

After losing her son three years ago in an accident, Salt Lake Community College yoga student Reggie White became involved in yoga.

In May, White, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Metaphysics, will complete the yoga instructor certificate program. White opened “Sunny Steps” in Sandy where she is teaching restorative yoga classes.

“By focusing on breathing and inner strength you allow yourself to be with peace within yourself,” says White. “Yoga became a place for healing and saved my life.”

Student volunteers

The 13-hour credit program is divided up into five classes that can be taken all in one semester or spread out over time. The program is offered as both credit and noncredit course through Continuing Education.

The Yoga Instructor Certificate Program is practicum based. Students are required to do volunteer work. They go out and teach yoga classes in the community.

“Some of the places that they’ve found to volunteer shock me,” says Nielson-Williams. “One little guy set up in a coffee shop doing yoga breathing.”

Another thing that makes the SLCC Yoga Instructor program different from other certificate programs in the valley is having a college structure behind it.

Students who complete the program leave with an understanding of how to incorporate breath and are able to adjust poses.

“Most of the graduates in the program are super passionate about yoga and the benefits,” says program coordinator Paula Nielson-Williams. “They’ve done it themselves. They know the health benefits; they know the mental and physical benefits of yoga. They’re just really excited to be able to spread that around to other people.”