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Yoga classes available at UNK


Rachel Papez
Antelope Staff

UNK yoga instructor Sarah Sutton’s enthusiasm for yoga is constantly evolving and changing.
Because of that enthusiasm, she teaches a campus yoga class where you can enjoy these freebies two times a week in Cushing Coliseum.

The college exercise science major and serious runner decided to start doing gentler workouts that weren’t so tough on the body. “I started practicing yoga before I was even married. At the time, I was running a lot of marathons and training really hard; I knew we wanted to have kids but I didn’t want to stop doing what I loved, exercising.”
She says yoga has many benefits, such as decreasing back pain and relieving arthritis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as increasing flexibility, balance and muscle strength.  

Sutton says yoga has benefitted her in different stages of her life. During pregnancy, it was a great stress-reliever. “Even now, with the kids, it’s very calming,” said Sutton. “The more I practiced yoga, the more I fell in love with it.”
After her children were born, she began teaching yoga to the kids. “They loved it!” These years of practicing yoga led her to a desire to get certified, so she could continue to spread the enjoyment of yoga to others. “We can teach all ages through yoga, from babies to the end of the life cycle. There’s something for everybody whether it’s simply the breathing techniques, workout, or the relaxation. The poses are just one part of yoga.”

Photo by Rachel Papez Sarah Sutton prepares  to stretch on the mat before class.
Photo by Rachel Papez
Sarah Sutton prepares to stretch on the mat before class.

Sutton earned her Master’s degree in exercise science in 2004 and an RYT200 (200 hour-program) at the Lotus House of Yoga in 2013. She has two beautiful daughters, Adeline and Maya, with her loving husband, Jason.

Lauren Messbarger is enrolled in one of Sutton’s yoga classes through UNK.  “When class is done I feel really peaceful and ready to go on to the rest of my classes. Child’s pose is my favorite.  It stretches my back and allows me to relax easily. I feel like I get a lot out of my practices here.”

Recently, the class started practicing Yin. Messbarger said, “A yin practice is more focused on the deep tissues; whereas, a regular practice is more fast-paced and targets multiple places on the body. I do Pilates on the side, but this is my first year practicing yoga.  It is interesting to learn different ways to practice. I would highly recommend if you have credits available, that you do take a yoga class or any sort of activity class.  It’s nice to incorporate physical activeness into your routine.”

A lot of people believe yoga is only for women. It’s not, says Sutton. “Historically, yoga was a practice for men. It was few forward-thinking people that brought the practice of yoga to America. These people saw the need for yoga in women and children. It’s actually quite new for women to do yoga.”

As an example, Sutton said her husband Jason asked for help with his golf game. “My husband is not your typical yogi,” she said. “He’s tall and kind of a man’s man, if you know what I mean. At first he was hesitant, but after stretching out in yoga his golf game improved. He was more centered, focused.”

In fact, lots of athletes use yoga today. The Seattle Sea Hawks, Tom Brady, and Creighton’s basketball team all practice yoga as part of their training. Physical posture and visualization are connected directly with yoga, which helps in games. Proper breathing, which is huge in yoga, is important as well.

The class Sutton teaches at UNK has 28-30 students on any given day. They use props during practice like blocks, straps and blankets. Many poses are taught throughout the class such as balancing half moon, side angle and happy baby. You can sign up for the class under basic PE activities on Myblue.

Sutton teaches at the Wellness Center in Good Samaritan Hospital on the weekends.  She teaches at the YMCA and Kearney Park and Recreation while offering classes through Meadowlark Elementary School for the children. Private sessions are also available through appointment. Check out her Facebook page Sarah Sutton Yoga and Essential Oils to learn more.

Sutton’s Classes wind down with rejuvenating exercise

Savasana is very important, says yoga instructor Sarah Sutton.  At the end of her classes, she has the students get into a lying down position on the mats and instructs them to re-focus attention for practice.
This could be anything from self-acceptance to relieving stress before a test. Benefits from savasana include the following: reduced headaches, fatigue, and insomnia; calms the brain nerves, helps those with mild depression, and has been proved to lower blood pressure.

 “When I first tried savasana, I thought it was this little nap everyone took. I would even want to leave class. It just seemed like a waste of time until I realized that’s when all the poses throughout the practice really set into the body. You walk away feeling restored and rejuvenated.”

Exercise is not just a nap
Savasana might look like a nap at the end of your yoga practice. But it’s actually a fully conscious pose aimed at being awake, yet completely relaxed.
In Savasana—also known as corpse pose— you lie down on your back and relax your body and mind so you may fully assimilate the benefits of your savasana practice.
During this pose, you close your eyes, breathe naturally and practice eliminating tension from the body. Ideally, this posture lasts for 10 to 20 minutes. However, even a few minutes of Savasana is said to have powerful benefits.

The Benefits of Savasana
Savasana can calm the nervous system and promote equanimity in your entire body. Fatigued muscles get to relax, tense shoulders and jaws soften, and the eyes quiet down to reflect a quieter state of mind.

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