May 04, 2009
A Healthy Escape
College life can be exhausting. Classes, theses, work, research, applications–it’s enough to send anyone over the edge. Susan Lilly’s Yoga Summer Intensive (taught during both summer sessions) provides some respite from the chaos and can put you on track to a healthier life.
“Academic studies are very cerebral. Computers and books are taxing on the body. Yoga is good for the academic lifestyle. Coming from an intense seminar class into yoga is a great way to learn,” says Lilly.
Lilly’s yoga classes focus on relieving stresses caused by demanding study schedules and on gaining a better understanding of one’s own body. She believes that everyone (especially students) needs physical movement for balance in their lives. Lilly teaches both how to maintain the physical body and how to focus mental energy and breathe through stressful situations.
Molly Curtis, one of Lilly’s students, says: “It’s easy as a human being, and especially as a student, to get overwhelmed by my own thoughts and the everyday stresses of life. The relaxation/meditation portion of class helped me to clear my mind of these things.”
This will be the seventh year that Lilly teaches her intensive 6-week course, which will be offered in both sessions. During fall and spring, yoga classes are always full and only meet two times per week. The smaller, 75-minute classes four times per week make the physical changes caused by yoga more pronounced. “At the end of six weeks, you have really accomplished something, including being hooked on yoga,” Lilly says.
With smaller classes during the summer, Lilly can help students individually with their personal limitations to find ways for them to comfortably do the poses. She also can help people improve movement in injured parts of their bodies. Lilly stresses the mind/body connection as the best way to secure and maintain general health.
Class member Courtney Dale says, “I believe that the most important knowledge that yoga has given me is an understanding of the limitations my injuries place on my body. I have gained invaluable understanding of my body. With this information, I have begun to gently challenge my body.”
Lilly teaches the basics of yoga, accessible to beginners yet challenging for those with a regular yoga practice. Her class routine includes sun salutations, leg lifts, and shoulder stands, to build arm/shoulder strength needed to progressively work up to more difficult positions. Each class ends with relaxation and meditation. As part of the mind-body connection, students keep a journal to document their progress throughout the six weeks.
Painting to Spanish Proficiency
Lilly’s Intensive Yoga courses are two of the more than 30 courses being offered at Lewis & Clark this summer. Other courses range from Painting I, which fulfills general education requirements for Creative Arts, to Beginning and Intermediate Spanish, which fulfill the Foreign Languages requirement and gives students a base of proficiency in Spanish.
An assortment of students wander the grassy knolls of Lewis & Clark during the summer. They include Lewis & Clark students taking care of graduation requirements, high school seniors getting a head start on college, undergraduates from other universities transferring credits to their schools, and lifelong students studying just for the love of learning. Almost all students who take courses during Summer Sessions enjoy the small class sizes, the ability to focus on their studies, and the beautiful weather.
Apart from fulfilling requirements, Lilly’s classes give students more physical strength and a mind-body connection to help them deal with the rigors of college life, both in summer and into the future.