Yoga sessions allow students to stretch, strengthen

Trained yoga instructor and faculty adviser Pari Ford leads a Yoga Community session at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. The group formed three years ago and meets regularly on campus. (Photo by Amanda Arnold/UNK Communications)

UNK Communications

KEARNEY – Brightly colored yoga mats lay scattered across the room, and soft music plays in the background as students trickle in. The instructor then leads students through stretching, balance and strength sessions before finally ending in a relaxation pose an hour later.

The weekly session, led by trained yoga instructor and faculty adviser Pari Ford, is organized by the Yoga Community at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. The relatively new organization provides free yoga meetings for students and typically meets at 8 p.m. on Mondays in the Cedar Room of the Nebraskan Student Union.

The class is available to anyone with an interest in yoga, and prior experience isn’t needed. “I try to direct the class at an intermediate level and make modifications based on what I see,” said Ford. “I pay attention to what everyone’s doing and go from there.”

Ford said she tries to meet everyone’s needs in the sessions. “There are some pretty athletic people who have been attending and using it as a relaxer and a stretching type of thing,” she said. “I do a lot of strength poses as well, so I’m hoping that’s reaching people who need that resistance training.”

Yoga Community formed three years ago and has changed leadership since then. “It was started by a freshman, Natalie Hanisch, who wanted to see yoga on campus,” said Julie Taylor, president of the organization.

Only one person showed up at the first session, but that person encouraged the organization to keep going. “More people showed up and it’s been going since then,” Taylor said.

It was an easy decision for Ford when she was asked to take over as the faculty adviser more than a year ago. “Natalie is a math major, and since I’m a professor in the math department, she knew I had taught yoga in the past,” said Ford. “So when the previous faculty adviser left campus, she asked me to step in.”

While the number of participants fluctuates from week to week, it doesn’t seem to be a major concern. “As long as people keep showing up, we’re going to keep doing it,” said Ford. “I think yoga is a great practice, and it’s something that people should do regularly so I’m going to support it as long as I can.”

Said Taylor: “I feel like it’s important because people need to have that relaxation moment in their week. I know Mondays are really tough for me, so having it on Monday night helps me get through the week.”

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Source: Pari Ford, 308-865-8553,
Writer: Amanda Arnold,

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