Weekly faculty yoga classes have started

Justin Schmithorst, Sports Editor

On April 10, Pitt-Johnstown faculty and staff members were able to join in weekly yoga classes at the exercise studio in the Wellness Center,

Assistant Athletic Director Katrin Wolfe said that the classes are $35 for seven weeks.

According to Wolfe, the reasons for the yoga classes are twofold. For one, yoga is a time-flexible kind of exercise, and it is a fundraiser for the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.

“Faculty and staff do not have classes for their needs like students. Other institutions have similar programs.

“Pitt-Oakland does have staff-only classes. It is nice to have the opportunity to see other people on campus you don’t normally see,” Wolfe said.

The classes are instructed by Jill Gontkovic.

According to Gontkovic, she has taught over 250 classes, including some for Pitt-Johnstown students in fall 2016 at the Wellness Center.

“I couldn’t believe the number of yoga enthusiasts that kept showing up each week and growing the class. My schedule made it difficult for me to continue teaching the late evening class,” Gontkovic said.

According to Gontkovic, she is passionate about yoga.

“It completely changed my life, and that’s no exaggeration. I attempted it twice prior to really becoming immersed in it. After I had kids, I sought out a gentle yoga class for the mindfulness and relaxation,” Gontkovic said.

According to Gontkovic, these gentle classes are what allowed her to see what these exercises can change in someone.

Gontkovic said that there are multiple benefits to yoga classes.

“Whether you are working toward a meditation practice, learning to regulate your breathing, or you just want a focused workout, yoga can offer it all.”

According to Gontkovic, some of the more specific benefits include stress-relief, mindfulness and strengthening muscles.

The classes are to take place during lunchtime, and the first one started at 12:15 p.m.

Gontkovic said that having the classes mid-day has some benefits.

“The benefits of a lunchtime yoga class are that you are more alert and focused through the second half of your workday, sustained energy and, most of all, blood flow to the areas of the body that become stiff from sitting,” she said.

According to Wolfe, Gontkovic is to be back this fall to teach a student yoga class.