Sykes Wellness Center Hosts Yoga Class to Help Faculty Relieve Stress

A new six-week Hatha and Vinyasa yoga course for faculty and staff started on Tuesday in the Sykes Wellness Center. The course is led by Sarah Shea, an instructor from Power Yoga Evolution in North Andover. The program is a new endeavor to be brought to Andover, though not the first fitness class to be brought to Andover for the faculty.

“The classes will be taught in a Hatha and Vinyasa style yoga and are intended to be accessible to all levels of yoga experiences, from those who are just taking the plastic wrap off their first ever yoga mat to those who may have several years of experience,” said Shea.
Hatha yoga is slow-paced and involves basic moves to prepare the body for meditation. Vinyasa style yoga incorporates breath-synchronized movements and is generally more strenuous.

The course was made possible by members of Andover’s Employee Wellness Committee, specifically through the work of Nancy Lopez, Intranet Design Developer.

“As part of the Employee Wellness Committee, I took on the responsibility of finding some physical fitness opportunities that would be at a time that is convenient to most adult community members,” said Lopez. “We have offered a boot camp option in the past and I thought that yoga would be a nice contrast and possibly attract a new crowd of participants.”

The course aims to help participants not only improve in yoga but also reap its benefits, which include help in recovery from injuries, greater strength and fitness, increase in flexibility and stress relief. This yoga course will also incorporate themes of mindfulness.
“The yoga classes will include instruction on foundational poses, learning about alignment, getting in and out of poses safely and will include emphasis on utilizing breath work in the physical practice,” she continued.

Over the six weeks, each session will build off what was taught in the previous week. Shea hopes that everyone will take something from their time on the mat, in whatever capacity.

“For beginners, my hope is [that] they leave feeling confident enough in their practice that they will continue to practice, whether that be at home or at a studio. For more advanced yogis, my hope is they will deepen their physical practice by tuning into refined alignment points in each pose. For people working with injuries, I hope they will learn more about all the many ways yoga can be modified to support injury recovery,” says Shea. “Overall, I hope everyone leaves feeling supported, stronger, more flexible and less stressed.”
The six-week course meets every Tuesday from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m.