SEMO's Squirrel Squirrel Yoga Club provides free yoga classes

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Improved respiration, greater flexibility, weight loss and decreased stress -- these are only a few of the benefits yoga has to one's body, mind and spirit. Though Southeast Missouri State University's Recreation Services offers a yoga group fitness program, students have created a yoga club where members can regularly practice this popular exercise.

On Oct. 10 the Squirrel Squirrel Yoga Club held its first informational meeting and planned times to hold sessions. The club hasn't officially set certain dates but plans to meet two to four times per week. So far the club offers free yoga classes to members.

"I joined Squirrel Squirrel because I felt like I was missing something in my workout," said Aaron Miller, a freshman and computer networking student. "Running and lifting wasn't enough."

Miller said yoga is a full body workout but most people only see it as stretching.

While practicing yoga last summer outside, a small group of Southeast students decided they wanted to create an on-campus club. Senior exercise science student Jared Jinkerson, who became president of the yoga club, has been leading group exercise for the past two years. Jinkerson decided he wanted to take the club a step further and provide yoga education and classes.

"I thought, once we're a club, we can rent out rooms, get people registered, we can do a lot more with it," Jinkerson said.

According to Jinkerson, the club will not charge membership dues. The club provides members with affordability compared to local health clubs, which charge $80 to $115 for about 10 sessions. Jinkerson said the club is a great place to start for those who have no experience with the exercise.

"You can do more than just yoga with this club," Jinkerson said. "We want members to grow with this club."

Freshman nursing student Lindsay Hetisimer joined the yoga club to gain more knowledge and flexibility while decreasing stress and meeting new people.

"I never really could get into it by myself," Hetisimer said. "But having the group setting means all the difference to me."

As for the club's name, Jinkerson said that it was adopted during a yoga session outside one morning when the group noticed several squirrels prancing around.

"We were just goofing around doing a bunch of squirrel poses, and then we were like, ‘We should call it the Squirrel Squirrel Yoga Club,'" Jinkerson said.

The club has 25 members, but Jinkerson's goal is to reach 40 by the end of the semester.

Although no weekly yoga session schedule has been set, Jinkerson is trying to find a time that works best with members. Classes range from 30 minutes to an hour.

"We want to offer members to meet five days a week at three different times," Jinkerson said.

More yoga sessions are being scheduled as membership increases. For additional information visit the Squirrel Squirrel Yoga Club page on Facebook.

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