U. City businesses host free events in Williams' ULounge

· February 24, 2010, 6:24 am   ·  Updated February 24, 2010, 12:00 am

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Students weighed down with midterms can get a much-needed stretch today at yoga class.

University City District and Studio 34 — a yoga studio located at 4522 Baltimore Ave — collaborated to bring a free yoga class to the ULounge in Williams Hall Wednesday from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

The ULounge is located across from Williams Cafe. It was once an under-utilized meeting room but was converted into a student lounge “where students could just hang out, study, watch TV or play Wii,” Kris Patterson, manager of the Perelman Quadrangle, wrote in an e-mail.

The yoga class is the second event in a series of public program events held in the lounge, entitled UCity @ ULounge.

Milk and Honey Market sponsored the first event in January, featuring cheese sampling. The third will be sponsored by the Curio Theatre Company on March 24. The company will perform scenes from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

The series will end April 7 with an event by the Neighborhood Bike Works, a local organization dedicated to bicycle promotion and safety.

UCD spokeswoman Lori Klein Brennan said the goal of the program is to expose the Penn community to University City businesses and restaurants and to “increase the customer base for these local businesses.”

“We’re doing this as a resource to businesses in the difficult economy,” she added.

Students who attend the free yoga class today should dress in exercise clothing and bring a yoga mat if they have one. If not, Studio 34 will accommodate people with their supply.

Students should “expect a vigorous yoga class,” said Stephen Fisher, co-owner of Studio 34.

Jason Schoen, a Studio 34 yoga instructor, said he will be teaching the class Forrest yoga — a style of yoga that focuses on breath and body awareness, but most importantly takes place in a room that is heated to 80 degrees.

According to Schoen, Penn Facilities will attempt to heat the ULounge space to the right temperature.

This style of yoga is being studied to see if it helps alleviate hypertension. Studio 34 is working with the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania to investigate this possible mode of therapy. The study is being funded by a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Besides Forrest yoga, Fisher said other types of yoga also have many benefits.

“Yoga can tone your body, can help you become more limber and can help quiet your mind,” Fisher said.

“A lot of people have chatter in their head and yoga is a tool for helping you to quiet that down. If you’ve had injuries, it can help you strengthen different body parts,” he added.

Although Forrest yoga could help alleviate hypertension, Fisher emphasized that yoga differs from other more strenuous types of exercise in that it focuses on the “going inside component.”

“It’s not about being in pain. It’s not rough on your body,” he said. “This is something that everyone can do. It’s something that can be very healing and something that feels good.”

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