Uniting the Spirit, Body & Soul

Jamie Tanata

Jamie Tanata

Certified yoga instructor Tyler Mahowald, a junior apparel and merchandising major, said the benefits of yoga are endless.

Mahowald has been involved with yoga for the past three years and decided to start instructing over a year ago.

“I was interested in taking classes and thought this would be a way for me to learn more,” Mahowald said. “I didn’t go into it thinking I would be an instructor.”

He became interested in yoga his senior year in high school, taking classes back at his hometown in Huron. After two years of taking classes he decided he wanted to teach, which came easily for him.

“In yoga, you’re trained to become a teacher,” he said.

Taking classes at the YMCA in Sioux Falls for the duration of nine months and putting in 200 hours in classes, he was able to become a certified instructor.

Last year he taught three to four classes a week between the Brookings Dakota Wellness Center, and substituting at the HPER Center on campus. Mahowald also taught a minority yoga class of 25-30 students once a week, a program that was offered through the Multi-Cultural office.

For now, Mahowald is taking a break from instructing. “I would love to keep teaching,” he said. “I’m hoping to move to New York City at the end of December and I’ll teach there,” he said.

According to Mahowald, yoga originated from the Middle East with the root word meaning, “To Unite.” He said the goal of yoga is to unite the body, mind andspirit creating a balance among them. There are eight limbs to yoga that deal with aspects of living.

Yoga can be very beneficial to anyone regardless of your reasoning. Mahowald says yoga strengthens and elongates the muscles creating flexibility. “A lot of women are drawn to yoga,” he said in regards to yoga’s effect on the body’s tonal appearance. “Since yoga elongates the muscles many people are finding that more attractive then to bulk up the muscles,” he said. Yoga can also aid in weight loss, he said. Yoga massages your organs which helps release toxins in the body and aids in digestion. It also creates a balance in the body, giving a person better posture. Many athletes with injuries are involved in yoga to strengthen the body, since it focuses on the whole body.

Westernized Yoga is more about teaching breathing. Mahowald said that most Americans do yoga for the physical aspect of it.

“It is a huge stress reliever, which was why I was drawn to it,” he said.

The three most common styles of yoga are Hatha, Power yoga and Bikram.

Hatha is the most basic form of yoga, which is ranked easy to moderate. This form deals with lots of breathing with a number of poises by the body.

“Power yoga is a huge endurance workout because you are constantly moving, but in a slow movement,” Mahowald said. This type of yoga is common for people wanting to achieve weight loss. Power yoga classes are offered in Sioux Falls and Aberdeen.

Bikram yoga, most common on the coast, is taught in a room that is heated to 100 to 110 degrees. “It’s a very intense yoga,” he said.

Mahowald said Bikram offers the same poises in the sequence of Hatha yoga, the very hot temperature is the only variable difference. This type of yoga is very common among stars desiring to lose weight, such as Madonna.

One stereotype that is common for many coming into the class, Mahowald said, is, “A lot of people have this notion that it’s part of a religious thing. It’s non-denominational.”

However, he said for some cultures yoga is something such as the Islam practice. “Yoga is just something that they do, it’s not something they share in public, it’s more of a personal thing,” he said.

SDSU is currently offering yoga and a yoga/pilates class. Pilates and yoga are both good exercises for toning the body, however they can differ. Yoga focuses on breathing and strengthening the overall body, where as pilates focuses on certain parts of the body.

“I think yoga and pilates are equal if not better” Mahowald said. “Yoga engages your body more than pilates though.”

Tabitha Wedemeyer, a yoga/pilates instructor for SDSU’s Wellness Center class, said the classes “improve flexiblity and strengthen and tone muscles without putting stress on the joints.”

She said pilates first came about to help dancers come back from injuries.

The Wellness Center’s yoga and pilates classes began in September and will conclude at the end of the semester.

Classes are currently going on at the HPER. Yoga classes are Mondays at 5-5:45 p.m. and Wednesdays at 12-12:45 p.m. Yoga/Pilates classes are Thursdays at 6-7 p.m.

Another session will be available next semester as well. Students are welcome to join at anytime. To enroll in the class, students only have to buy a CardioCard at the Wellness Center. They are also entitlted to any areobics classes with the card.