Mountaintop Yoga: A time to breathe

by Conner Anderson

The lack of accessible health and wellness programs on the Mountain has long kept students away from achieving their physical and mental potentials. Individual growth is, after all, a collaborative effort between mind, body, and spirit. No two people in the Sewanee area understand this better than sisters Lauren and Alex Edwards.

Hailing from Hilton Head, South Carolina, Lauren and Alex Edwards come from a tight knit community very comparable to small world of the Mountain. Their community bonds back home left them with a passion for unified growth. This passion led them to the world of yoga, where community lies within the practice itself, providing an escape from the pressures and inequalities of the outside world. Emphasizing these beneficial effects of yoga, Alex Edwards (C’16) said, “Yoga truly is the great equalizer, it’s for everyone, no matter age, physical fitness, or position in life, it reaches everyone.” To the sisters, yoga is not merely a sport, it is an inhibition-freeing time of relaxation.

The camaraderie of the Mountain provides the perfect setting for the healthful practice of yoga to flourish. With this understanding, along with a bit of nostalgia for their home town yoga experiences, the Edwards sisters have brought their practice to the Mountain. Certified in the Vinyasa Flow style through the Live, Love Teach Program by way of the Jiva Yoga Studio in Hilton Head Island, the sisters have set out to cure Sewanee’s fitness deficiencies with Mountaintop Yoga.

Unsurprisingly, their classes have produced nothing but positive results, both in attendance and in quality. Alex Edwards claims, “With each class we have had at least one new face, and the classes keep growing.” Both sisters find these results heartening, proving that they are indeed fulfilling a campus wide need.

From a personal standpoint, the class provided all the necessities of a revitalizing yoga experience. My instructor, Alex Edwards, eased the class into physical readiness with a slow tempo and array of stretches. Positioned firmly back in the classic downward dog position, the pace quickened with a series of low and high pushups, chair poses, and core strengthening exercises. Just as the sweat began to accumulate on my face, the pace slowed and any tension withheld from before, or during the class, was released in intense, yet restorative, stretching. The class ended with a minute of silent relaxation, providing time to center in the present and block out the commotion of the outside world. I left the class simultaneously exercised and refreshed, indicative of a personally fruitful experience.

Mountaintop Yoga is a must for any health enthusiast, but also anyone looking for a release from the stresses of daily life. Regardless of skill level, size, or shape, yoga provides an opportunity for personal growth, something that every person should value.

Classes are held on Mondays and Wednesdays at 7:15 a.m. and, for those less inclined to early mornings, Tuesday and Thursdays at 5 p.m. Spring time plans to move the practice outside offer a truly serene experience. The sisters also hope to add a weekend class with all proceeds going to the community. For those that value their bodies and their minds, Mountaintop Yoga offers an experience that should not be missed.

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