Yoga class brings exercise and focus to students

Jason Cuevas, Clarion Staff

Students often find their time on campus to be hectic and filled with stressed. Those looking for a good way to relax and regain their focus may want to try out yoga classes.

Yoga classes are available at both Truax and the Downtown campus. There are two levels taught, level one and two. The instructor is Tammy Systma, a yoga therapist and a level 500 yoga instructor. She started Yoga by watching old tapes.

“I really liked it,” Systma said. “The funny thing is I never actually liked taking classes. I only like to practice at home. That’s the idea of what I’m doing, teaching people to practice their own thing.”

The idea of yoga often brings preconceived notions with it. Systma has found many students do not realize how much of a workout the classes really can be. Conversely, some students believe they will be encountering something more acrobatic, full of handstands. While Systma is capable of teaching classes that show those things, that is not what the classes at Madison College are for.

Another common perception of yoga is the idea that it’s mostly women participating. Systma explained that this is not the case at Madison College. In fact her level two class actually has more men than women.

The classes contain information on many different aspects. People learn how to breathe, focus, and concentrate, with a small amount of meditation as well. The classes are intended to help students gain awareness of their body and mind and learn how to be in the present. The term mindfulness is commonly used to express these ideas.

Meditation is part of the same system that applies to yoga. Systma believes that yoga and learning to breath are all tools. These tools help lead one to mediation.

The ability to focus can result in many benefits for students. Systma stressed that it is not just about exercise. While you will find increased flexibility the greatest benefits will be seen in one’s mind. When students are able to focus and keep their minds in the proper place all the stresses of life become much easier.

“It’s not just about muscles and flexibility and how to achieve whatever goal you’re working for. It’s also about getting the mind in the right place. I’m not worried – I’m not stressed … not freaking out. You can get a lot more done,” Systma said.

Classes are tailored to the level of the students. Systma had a level one class last term that performed so well that their program ended up being very similar to the level two class.

All the mats and tools that are needed for the class are provided. Students only need to wear something that they find comfortable. One student even showed up in a full suit and tie for an entire workout, but that is not recommended.

There are not any specific physical requirements needed for the class. You do have to be able to lay yourself onto the ground and pull yourself back up. If you are capable of handling that then you should be able to participate in the class.


The cost for yoga is $30 for students and $75 for those in the general community. There is normally a free trial class at the beginning of each term. There are a variety of days and times to choose from Monday through Thursday. More information can be found on