‘Yoga with Jim’ soothes, relaxes students

Jim Stout has been involved with the University of Detroit Mercy for over twenty years.

He has assisted with communication studies, tele-production, and now works in the IT department.

But over the last couple years, Stout has been making a name for himself twice a week at the Student Fitness Center during “Yoga with Jim.”

Stout’s lifestyle has been connected to athletics for many years.

During his undergraduate studies at Ball State, he practiced yoga but gave it up once he graduated college.

Even though yoga was absent from his life, he remained active by running and cycling. 

About ten years ago, he was convinced to get back into yoga by some buddies. The result: He experienced the hardest workout of his life.

That is no small feat, as he had previously run marathons and participated in century cycling rides.

When Stout returned to yoga after his long break, he noticed the difference made and again committed to practicing regularly.

“It’s a lifestyle change,” he said. “You become more in tune with your body and what makes you feel better. You also gain a level of awareness.”

Stout is delighted that he is able to share what he found to be one of the most beneficial things in his life with the students at UDM, and he encourages all to step out of their comfort zone by giving one of his classes a try.

Many students who have taken the classes have enjoyed them immensely.

“He made it light and fun and made everyone who had never done it before feel really comfortable,” senior Katy Severson said. “He had a very soothing voice that made it more relaxing.”

Contrary to popular belief, Stout said, flexibility is not one of the most important aspects of yoga.

So people who are as stiff as a board should not shy away for that reason, he noted.

“Really it’s all about breathing and relaxing, and bringing yourself to become calm in intense situations,” he said. “The majority of yoga poses are strength based, as opposed to flexibility.”

Some people relate the strength involved with yoga pilates.

Stout noted the crossover between the two activities, while adding that yoga includes more stretching, twisting and bending.

A known instructor in the region, Stout also teaches at Nafas Fitness Studio in Royal Oak and at Keego Harbor.

“Yoga with Jim” occurs on Mondays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m and on Wednesdays from 1 to 2 p.m.

A URec fitness pass can be purchased for $25, which allows students to participate in unlimited yoga and zumba classes for the semester.

A $2 drop-in fee is also available.