Yoga, pilates offer flexibility, relaxation

Matt Hellman | Lariat Photographer
McGregor graduate student Brianne Bidwell performs a “Warrior 1” position Wednesday during the 7:15 a.m. yoga class in the McLane Student Life Center.

By Molly Dunn

Some people see yoga and pilates as difficult and strenuous activities, but these exercises have been proven to increase flexibility as well as tone and strengthen the body.

“A lot of people label themselves as ‘I’m not flexible enough’ or ‘I can’t do that,’” Ilianna Garcia, pilates and yoga Bearobics instructor at Baylor, said. “I really think that my class as well as the other classes here just offer the tools to get you from square one to the goal of doing the entire pose.”

Garcia, a San Antonio junior, has been teaching yoga and pilates for Bearobics since 2010 and found her passion to practice and teach not too long ago.

“Two summers ago I started to do it with this lady back home at my gym and she was intense about it and really challenging, so I just started to get into it because of that,” Garcia said.

After doing yoga and pilates on a regular basis, Garcia said it is vital to the body in terms of flexibility, toning and overall relaxation.

“It’s so good to be flexible and when you are doing yoga every day. You are getting your blood flowing to every area of your body that we are working,” Garcia said. “If you’re doing it right and you’re breathing in and out properly, it is like cleansing your body.”

Pam Long, fitness graduate assistant at the McLane Student Life Center, believes yoga is an unique exercise that many people should do more often.

“Yoga is just you and your body,” Long said. “Yoga uses your own body’s resistance, so it gives you the optimal core strength for your body size.”

Not only does yoga contribute to the overall toning of the body, but it also provides relaxation, making it different from other types of workouts. Long said yoga encompasses breathing, which promotes reduction of stress and relaxation and poses, increasing flexibility and body strength.

Jennifer Ditlevson, a first-year graduate student from Ashland, Ohio, said she enjoys pilates and yoga classes at Baylor because of her background in dance.

“With pilates and yoga you get more flexible, too, so you get that like you would get from dance. So it was kind of the next best thing for me,” Ditlevson said.

Having a background in dance is not necessary, however, for someone to do pilates and yoga. In fact, Garcia encourages newcomers to attend classes for Bearobics.

“I would say come even if you’ve never done it before because it’s for anyone and everyone,” Garcia said. “You can really challenge yourself and see the results physically as well as feel more relaxed.”

Madison Oldham, a Dallas senior, came to her first Bearobics yoga and pilates class on Saturday in search of a new workout to improve flexibility and have fun at the same time.

“I just decided that it was time to start working flexibility in different ways,” Oldham said. “I’ve always done workouts myself downstairs, but I kind of got bored with that, so I decided to move on to trying pilates and yoga, and getting more flexibility that way.”

Bearobics offers yoga and pilates classes daily throughout the week. Long said more yoga and pilates classes were added this semester because it is an enjoyable workout for students.

With Bearobics, students can participate in more than 40 aerobics classes for a small fee, varying from Zumba to Boxing/Conditioning and even Aquacise. Bearobics classes are taught by Baylor students on the third floor of the McLane Student Life Center. Garcia teaches yoga every Tuesday and Thursday at 7:15 a.m. and at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings, each for one hour.

Go to for more information on the Bearobics schedule and class descriptions.