New yoga program aims to de-stress campus, starts today

Bryden Spevak, Contributing Reporter

It’s time to dust off your yoga mat: today begins Case Western Reserve University’s newest attempt to de-stress its overworked student population. “Free Yoga Fridays,” to be held most weeks this semester from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. in Veale’s multipurpose room, are open to any CWRU student, faculty or staff member with a valid CWRU ID.

Running the event is CWRU women’s soccer coach Tiff Crooks, who is new to yoga herself. In order to start teaching classes, Crooks took part in a 10 month-long, 200-hour Yoga Teacher Certification Program through Try For Life, a yoga practitioner collective located on Cleveland’s West Side. Throughout the certification process, future yoga teachers develop an inventory of yoga-related knowledge including asanas (yoga postures), meditation techniques, therapeutic yoga, yoga philosophy, and more. As Crooks will be freshly certified, Free Yoga Fridays should be beneficial both for her and the students.

“This is kind of helpful for me to get some practice teaching and also just to make it available,” she said.

According to Crooks, Free Yoga Fridays will focus mainly on vinyasa yoga, sometimes called “yoga flow.” Vinyasa refers to a style that is smooth and synchronized with the breath, creating a faster-paced, dance-like movement. The classes will be beginner-oriented, but that is not to discourage more advanced students from joining; Crooks acknowledges it might be helpful to those new to yoga to have more experienced practitioners around.

While the event may be populated with stressed-out students looking for a mental break, Crooks had a different motivation for getting the classes started.

“I want to bring it to our student athletes,” she said. “It’s really meant to kind of supplement peoples’ workout routines that they’re already on.”

Whether participants exercise regularly or not, Free Yoga Fridays will try to soothe the minds and muscles of the campus community this spring.