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Free yoga class held for students, staff, and faculty

Tracy+Stewart%2C+middle%2C+and+Mary+Pat+Weber%2C+right%2C+imitate+Sydney+Sims%27+pose+at+a+free+yoga+class.+The+class+is+offered+every+Tuesday+at+noon.+Photo+credit%3A+Danny+Corrigan
Tracy Stewart, middle, and Mary Pat Weber, right, imitate Sydney Sims' pose at a free yoga class. The class is offered every Tuesday at noon. Photo credit: Danny Corrigan

Tracy Stewart, middle, and Mary Pat Weber, right, imitate Sydney Sims' pose at a free yoga class. The class is offered every Tuesday at noon. Photo credit: Danny Corrigan

Tracy Stewart, middle, and Mary Pat Weber, right, imitate Sydney Sims' pose at a free yoga class. The class is offered every Tuesday at noon. Photo credit: Danny Corrigan

Danny Corrigan

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Each week, members of the college community gather to relax and unwind at midday for a free yoga class on campus.

The free yoga class, which is run by English professor and yogi Sydney Sims, is held every Tuesday from noon to 12:50 p.m. in the dance studio room of the PAC. Sims welcomes students, staff and faculty of all ages and proficiency levels.

“It’s great to lose yourself in it for an hour,” said Mary Pat Weber, 61, who already has a degree, but takes classes for fun. “You don’t have to focus on perfect technique, just essence.”

Sims began practicing yoga in the late 1960s. More recently, she completed a 200-hour yoga-instructor program to refresh her knowledge and refine her technique.

“My first actual class was a free class like this,” said Sims.

Sims started the course after realizing that there was not a free one available on campus. Since then, she has continued teaching the class on-and-off for a decade.

“Sydney is very flexible when it comes to what people can do,” said Moorpark College Foundation Coordinator Tracy Stewart. “Whether you’re a beginner or advanced, it is very accommodating.”

With the class, she hopes to provide a convenient environment for members of the community to find some ease in the middle of their day.

“It’s a place where people can bring attention to the physical,” said Sims. “[They can] breathe and relax in this hectic workday.”

During the session, Sims practices the positions with participants as she advises them on how to move properly. If a particular individual is having trouble, Sims comes to their side and helps them to correct specific errors in their posture.

With gentle music and a hushed voice, she encourages participants to take things slowly and comfortably, not pressuring them to stretch beyond their limit.

“The idea is to feel, not achieve some posture or sensation,” Sims says during a session. “Your body needs to trust you. Don’t yank it into position; ease into it.”

At the end of the session, everyone takes a moment to thank one another for the experience and say ‘namaste’, a spiritual term of endearment.

For students, staff, and faculty alike, the weekly yoga session makes all the difference.

“[I come to the class] to take care of my body,” said Stewart. “I do feel like I have more energy and stamina.”

Yoga is about being at peace within, which coincides with one’s physical self. For some, the lessons learned have served them well through tough times.

“There have been stressful times in my life where I employed breathing techniques I’ve learned in the class and I do find them to be very helpful,” said Weber. “It’s really a great de-stressor for me. You really need that balance in your life.”

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