College life can be daunting and stressful. One way to alleviate the anxiety is through yoga, a traditional practice of body poses and mind mediation that is used in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.For the spring semester, PCC offered one yoga course on campus: Introduction to Hatha Yoga.

In its online class description, this course is said to focus on “developing the body through poses,” and teach students “how to take a breath in a world that rarely supplies the time to do so.”

“It’s a very beginning class. The fundamentals of what we do also touch on meditation a little,” said Professor Rachel Scandling. “We begin each class in a mediation that focuses on breathing and releasing everything but the moment that is now.”

“I came to yoga to relieve stress and strengthen my body,” said Katie Shiban, a Hatha Yoga student. “At first there were poses I couldn’t do at all, or could only hold for a short time. Now that I am taking this class for the third time, I find that my body is getting stronger and I am able to hold the poses longer. I’m also learning how breathing helps with strength and stamina.”

“The way I think of yoga is as one moving meditation,” Scandling said, while demonstrating a few basic yoga poses. “I identify with my breath and I use that as my focus. It is letting the chatter of the mouth go. The idea is to let your body follow through with it.”

Michael Crowe said he is taking the class “to help alleviate upper-back pain and relieve stress.”

While there is only one yoga class offered on campus, PCC’s Extended Learning Program offers a number of Bikram Yoga classes at the La Canada Bikram Yoga Center for the spring semester.

According to the class description, this course “is done in a heated room intended to warm up the body, thereby safely working deep into muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons and organs-changing the body from the inside out.”

Not all students, however, have the time to take a yoga class to relieve stress.

During the week of spring semester finals, those in need of some relaxation without the actual yoga class can participate in the Annual Relaxation Week. Associated Students Vice President for Student Services, Erica Liang, plans this event.

“From Monday to Thursday of finals week there will be morning sessions in the library. Library hours are going to be extended,” Liang said. “We are going to give out items like scantrons, bluebooks and erasers. It’s all free. In the mornings we will also be giving out hot drinks and free massages for students, funded by the Associated Students.”

Yoga classes will be offered through PCC during the summer session. Registration for yoga classes can be done online through PCC’s Extended Learning website.

Professor Rachel Scandling holds a pose during her Introduction to Hatha Yoga class, held on Saturdays. (Steven Valdez)

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