If you need a break from school, take a year off to teach yoga. 

That’s Reed Yoder’s strategy, a 21 year-old Goshen resident who was a junior studying social work at Goshen College. Yoder is taking a gap year to teach yoga in the fall, and plans to travel to India to study the practice this spring.

Last year, Yoder was at a crossroads in his life. He said he felt like he needed to focus on personal growth and was unsure whether or not social work was what he wanted to do. But one thing he has always been sure of is yoga.

Yoder has practiced yoga for seven years with an award winning Marianne Wells Yoga Instructor and knows that somehow his professional career will include yoga. This gap year will serve as a time to study yoga in more depth. He will be doing a 200-hour yoga teacher training this fall and then spend the spring semester in India, delving deeper into the roots of Ashtanga yoga.

He chose to add yoga to his life as a way of healing. “Yoga has brought me out of the deepest, darkest places,” Yoder said. He struggled with fear, anxiety, and depression but through his journey with yoga he has started to overcome those struggles.

“Yoga picked me up, put me back on my feet, and invited me to try again,” said Yoder. He believes that yoga isn’t just about the physical aspects but also the mind and the spirit, helping teach him to see himself for who he is. He wants to share this strength with others. 

According to Yoder, yoga isn’t just simply about doing going through the motions. It comes with the spiritual practice, ethics, and philosophy. He hopes to learn more about these aspects of yoga during his time in India.

Yoder will spend three months in Mysore, India, where Ashtanga yoga, the style of yoga he practices, originated. He will be studying with the daughter of the person who started Ashtanga, who is the first female to teach traditional yoga to anyone. She’s in her 80s and still practices and teaches yoga regularly.

Yoder will take classes with her every day. The classes in Mysore are different than what you would find here. In the U.S., traditional yoga instructors call out poses and breaths. In Mysore, they do the poses in a sequence that has already been learned. The instructor comes around to assist students with their poses and give instructions on what to do differently.

Yoder said he is looking forward to learning all he can during his time in India and during his training in order to be an instructor and teach classes.

Yoder is providing classes every Sunday at 1:15p.m. at the Recreational-Fitness Center in the racquetball room. Classes last about an hour and are free for all students at any skill level. Classes started in August and many people have joined, at all skill levels. Beginners are welcomed. 

“I have been doing yoga for a while now and I really like Reed’s class because it’s a break from the stress of college life,” said Mariah Gingerich, sophomore.

The classes are donation based. If you come and find that the classes are valuable to you, Yoder would appreciate a donation. All donations will go towards his trip to India in the spring.

The classes on campus are geared towards GC students/staff. However, he also teaches community classes at Spacious Heart on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:30p.m., where anyone is welcome.

Classes at the RFC will end in November/early December when Yoder goes back home to prepare for his trip.

Yoder will be putting an announcement in the Connector with more information about classes.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about these classes, contact Reed Yoder at benjaminr2@goshen.edu or visit his website at reed.yoga.