In need of a good stretch? Perhaps you’ve been feeling overstressed and under-relaxed. Luckily for you, Reed Yoder, a junior social work major, has you covered. This semester marks the beginning of a yoga club led by Yoder. The club meets Monday mornings at 10:00 a.m. in the Recreation-Fitness Center.

Teaching is relatively new to Yoder, as his first venture came only months ago, during GC’s 2018 Healthy Bodies week.

However, Yoder is a seasoned yoga practitioner. Since the age of 15, he has been practicing yoga primarily for the mental and physical health benefits it provides. He believes that practicing yoga has significantly increased his mental health. Yoder said that his love for yoga stems from “a chance to rest and a chance to come back into my body.”

Scheduling a time for a daily practice has given him an opportunity to take a break from the chaos of life and take a breather.

Yoder has commented on how his anxiety has limited him in the past, but how, with the help of yoga, he has learned how to accept himself.

“Each and every class challenges me in some way and gives me the opportunity to learn something different about myself,” Yoder said.

Yoder noted that yoga relates to his major saying, “social work and yoga both teach empowerment.” According to Yoder, yoga is mainly used to empower yogis (those who practice yoga) by teaching mindfulness and by demonstrating that they can reach beyond their limits; it’s a powerful tool that can help individuals realize their goals and dreams.

Similarly, Yoder believes that social workers empower their clients by working with them to focus on their strengths and by providing resources. While each provide empowerment in their own separate ways, Yoder believes there is some intersectionality between the two.

Specifically, they often interact with similar populations. These populations include rape survivors, disabled people, the elderly and those affected by mental illness. Yoder added that sometimes social workers even use yoga as a tool for working with their clients.

Yoga is good physical exercise. It helps with flexibility and can increase strength, improve posture and helps with injury prevention.  

Historically, yoga has been used as a healing practice of mindfulness. The traditional belief is that even once you are off the mat, the mindfulness will follow you. Yoga developed in India as a means of spiritual development and awakening. It translates literally into “union” and seeks to unify the breath, mind and body thorough conscious movement and breath control.

Tirumalai Desikichar, a yogi Yoder admires, writes that “yoga attempts to create a state in which we are always present—really present—in every action, in every moment.” By doing this Yoder and others believe that we achieve mindfulness.

So far, Yoder believes that the classes are going quite well. He’s been energized with the high turnout and the continuous interest people have expressed in the club. The club is taught at a basic level and he invites anybody who wants to come.

Suzanna Griest, a senior business major, has attended some of these classes. She believes that Yoga Club is a great idea to bring the community together. Griest said, “it’s really needed on campus [and that it’s the] perfect destresser”.

Yoder’s hope for Yoga Club is to teach as many people as possible what yoga is, how it works and how to do it. He believes the club should be a place where people can benefit from the experience and gain confidence through the practice.

“Maybe someone will even be inspired to teach it themselves,” Yoder said. He wants to build a community made up of students, staff and members of the community, possibly bringing in professional teachers from outside the college.

Yoder ends each class with “namaste,” a phrase that means “the light and love in me honors and accepts the light and love in you.” For updates or questions, contact Yoder at