With the lights down low and New Age music gently wafting around
the room, it is impossible to be tense. Simply observing Rebecca
Gurholt Sands yoga students gently roll their necks to loosen
up does a lot to relax even the most high-strung spectator.
Spines perpendicular to the floor, eyes closed in meditation and
reflection, hands neatly resting on knees, the 14 members of Gurholt
Sands class are collectively hypnotized by her soft words
and the airy atmosphere.
With each exhale, just let yourself release whatever you
dont want to bring into this practice, Gurholt Sands
instructs her students. Just let it go.
Every movement, seemingly every breath, flows smoothly into the
On the top floor of the 1525 Building, high above the Emory campus,
the exercise room at the Blomeyer Health Fitness Center has become
an escape both literally and figuratively from the hectic pace of
the world outside.
Its been tremendously helpful, says Carla Freeman,
associate professor of anthropology and womens studies, of
her yoga class, which meets for an hour every Tuesday at noon. If
we could do it everyday, we would.
Not only does yoga help the mind, but its gentle stretching helps
the body as well. Mary Ellen Leduc says she has been able to cut
back on her arthritis medication since she began taking yoga classes
Gurholt Sands twice-a-week yoga class is one of 10 different
group exercise classes offered to Blomeyer members. They range from
the serenity of yoga and tai chi to the high-impact intensity of
spinning and cardio kickboxing.
Gurholt Sands has taught yoga and other classes on campus for around
20 years. Theres a good sense of community here,
she says about her Blomeyer yoga classes, which she has led for
While many of her students have taken yoga for quite a while, new
people are always coming in. Curious students, in fact, are staples
of Blomeyers classes.
Most classes are designed so that beginners, as well as intermediate
and advanced students can come right in, says Blomeyer manager
Chan Snipes, who teaches three spinning classes and one class called
boot camp, which mixes conditioning exercises like kickboxing and
jumping rope with weight training.
Snipes says the best thing for new students to do is speak with
the instructor before starting their first class. The instructor
will tell them what to expect and keep an eye on them during the
workout, helping them through the activities if necessary.
Blomeyer has nearly 1,300 members, and while the number who participate
in group exercise is a just a fraction of that total, according
to Snipes, it can be very advantageous.
To make exercise a lifetime habit, youve got to make
it fun, Snipes says. You cant do the same thing
over and over and expect to stay with it.
Thats where group exercise comes in. Individuals can draw
strength from each other, and the experience is always fresh. That
usually cant be said about the monotony of simply pumping
iron by oneself.
When you are part of a group, you tend to work harder,
Snipes says. You push yourself more.
Blomeyers group exercise classes are scattered over six days
a week. Conveniently, the times are generally before work (6:157:15
a.m.) or after (4:307:30 p.m.). One class a day is scheduled
at noon for people who want to get away for their lunch hour (yoga
is the Tuesday class).
Snipes says that yoga and cardio kickbox are Blomeyers most
popular classes, but sessions of all disciplines average around
10 or 12 people.
Fitness center membership is required for all classes (although
guests are welcome for a $10 fee per day) All Emory faculty and
staff members are eligible to join Blomeyer. The cost is $24 a monthwhich
can be deducted from an employees paycheck on a pretax basisplus
a one-time-only $26 application fee.
More information about the Blomeyer Fitness Center visit http://emory.hr.emory.edu/blomeyer/Blomeyer.html,
or call 404-727-4600. For a full class schedule, follow the classes
link on the home page.