Faculty, staff get involved in fitness

Matthew Anderson

Yoga isn’t as easy as it might appear.

“There are a number of movements and positions that really make you sweat,” says John Farquhar, the manager of multimedia and Web development in Academic Technology at Western.

Farquhar has been attending the free noon yoga classes in Gym A at Carver Gym for about a month.

“I have two kids at home, and ever since they’ve come along, I haven’t had time to exercise,” he says. “To be able to fit something into the middle of the day allows me to spend more time with my kids.”

The yoga classes are taught by Summer Huntington, a graduate student working with the Center for Healthy Living on campus. Huntington also teaches a handful of other classes, too, and she hires lifeguards for noontime lap swim, creates fitness assignments, writes regular newsletters and educational materials and coordinates guest speakers and other events, among other duties.

Huntington is drafting a proposal for future funding of the program, which for the past two years has been paid for by a grant from then-president Karen W. Morse. Huntington believes she’ll need $15,000 to fund the program for another year, just enough to cover tuition and pay for a student to work 19 hours per week. Huntington is due to graduate in June, but she would train the next graduate student willing to take over the program, she says.

“We have so many resources here,” Huntington says. “This program really puts many of them to good use.”

Huntington also is hunting for space to continue the yoga program. The coming renovations to Carver Gym mean that the space she’s been using since beginning the free yoga classes in winter 2008 won’t be available during spring quarter. And finding enough space to house the 40-or-so regular attendees until the fall isn’t easy, she says.

“The Rec Center is full, and that doesn’t really leave many big spaces,” Huntington says.

But for now, it’s business as usual for Huntington and the Wellness program.

Among other things, she’s hoping to organize another round of work-site health screening for the spring. The program, which brings in nurses from Group Health Cooperative to help assess the health of attendees, filled up in a hurry when it was offered for the first time fall quarter.

The various Wellness offerings have been a big benefit for fitness at Western, says Paul Piper, a WWU librarian and regular yoga attendee.

“I’ve been really enjoying the class,” he says. “Yoga is very difficult to do well, and there’s always something you can learn.”

Friday, July 17, 2009