The heavy-impact exercise routine may work for some, but for other University students, an easier, more diverse regimen may be in order. As an alternative to the daily workout routine, the University Activities Center (UAC) has many unique opportunities available. For students interested in fun, stress-relieving forms of exercise, mini-courses are offered, allowing students to participate in nontraditional classes, helping balance the stressful day-to-day rigors of academics.

Beth Dykstra
Ann Arbor resident Jasprit Singh leads a yoga class at RussaYog on State Street. The studio was named after a type of yoga that uses ropes and acrobatic stretches. (Shubra Ohri/Daily)
Beth Dykstra
LSA sophomore Molly Bowen strikes some belly dancing poses. (Shubra Ohri/Daily)
Beth Dykstra
LSA sophomores Amber Farrington and Matt Johnson use moves they learned at MSalsa. (Shubra Ohri/Daily)

“The courses are offered for people to go have fun. They are mostly for recreation,” said UAC President and LSA senior Mark Hindelang.



The balance between mind and body is finely struck in the art of yoga. Taught by Rachid Sekaoui, this course is offered for those with no experience, and for those who have done yoga before.

Sekaoui enjoys teaching mini-courses because he feels that they are the most rewarding for him. “When students leave,” he said, “I can notice that the difference in how much more relaxed they are is due to the exercise’s ability to effectively relieve stress.”

Seeing outstanding results in his students after just a few weeks, the results he notices the most in his students are how their body mechanics have changed, giving them a new aura of confidence.

“The class is effective because there are different types of stress present in younger students, and the students have an ability to get in and go with the flow of the class, benefiting them most effectively in the short term,“ said Sekaoui.

Sekaoui also said that students should take the class because yoga is the best stress management technique there is in Western society today. He also recommended taking the class because it is a great way to relieve physical stress, clear the mind and relieve tightness in the body.

“Yoga is also a great way to learn how to mediate, which helps ground students with a clearer mind that positively affects their classes and daily activities,” Sekaoui added.


Massage Therapy

In addition to yoga instruction, Sekaoui teaches massage therapy where he is a certified massage therapist and registered craniofacial therapist.

Massage therapy, as Sekaoui described, is a great way to get to know other people while increasing the body’s range of motion and reducing chronic and acute pain.

“The massage therapy class is different from yoga because you have someone to work with, stretching and messaging you,” Sekaoui said.

While still receiving the benefits of massage, Sekaoui said that the class is an alternative way to help the body relieve stress from pain without medication.

“These classes are a great way to connect to another human being through the beautiful art of touch.” Sekaoui enthusiastically said.

If interested, students are encouraged to register early for class because sometimes they are wait listed due to high demand.

Belly dancing and Meditation

Belly dancing and meditation are two other mini-courses offered this spring term that provide an alternative to the daily routine.

On the UAC website, Belly Dancing is described as being based on natural movement following the rhythm of traditional drum-based music. Students learn Egyptian, Algerian and Moroccan regional dances.

In meditation, according to the site, students align their senses with nature through meditation. They will learn a deeper sense of concentration, sharpening one’s focus. The class is free.



In addition to the mini-courses, students can find a great alternative source of exercise through a program called MSalsa.

“MSalsa class is a very high-energy atmosphere,” described Daniel Almirall, and LSA graduate student and co-founder of MSalsa.

“I have a great time going. They make it fun and comfortable at all levels. You won’t feel out of place because there are people who have the same ability level as you and you get to meet new kinds of people who go every week,” said LSA junior Stephanie Gardiner, a former MSalsa attendee.

MSalsa has over 150 students any given night with over 700 on the active roster.

“It is incredible how large the organization has grown over the last four years since its inception,” Almirall said.

Anyone interested in learning the Rueda de Casino technique of Salsa, can attend the Beginner level session in the Michigan Union Ballroom Monday starting at 7 p.m.

Almirall said that new students interested in learning how to dance are highly encouraged to attend. More information is available at www.umich.edu/~msalsa.

Students can find full details, including meeting dates, location, payment information and registration at uuis.umich.edu/minicourses/.


UAC Minicourses

Class information

-Belly Dancing (Applied Technique) — Tuesdays, 8 to 9 p.m. in the Michigan Union Parker Room. Starts on Feb. 8. Cost is $45.

-Belly Dancing (Technique) — Tuesdays, 7 to 8 p.m. in the Michigan Union Parker Room. Starts on Feb. 8. Cost is $45.

-Massage Therapy — Mondays, 7:45 to 9:45 p.m. in the Michigan Union Kuenzel Room. Starts on Feb. 7. Also offered Wednesdays from 7:45 to 9:45 p.m. in the Pierpont Commons Boulevard Room. Starts on Feb. 9. Cost is $76.

-Meditation — Mondays and Wednesdays, 7 to 9 p.m. in the Michigan Union Blain Room. Starts on March 14. Free.

-Yoga (Beginning) — Wednesdays, 6:15 to 7:45 p.m. in the Michigan Union Kuenzel Room. Starts on Feb. 9. Cost is $66.

-Yoga (Level 2) — Mondays, 6:15 to 7:45 p.m. in the Pierpont Commons Boulevard Room. Starts on Feb. 7. Cost is $66.

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