Visitors and volunteers at Perry Wellness Center often learn much about the needs of individuals with mental illness and addictive disease. Some individuals are then able to share their own talents and knowledge with peers to help them better meet these needs and improve the overall quality of their lives.
One such individual is Michael Landreth, a senior at Georgia Southwestern State University. As he works on a practicum experience, he is teaching others as much as he is learning. A Warner Robins native, Michael is majoring in Psychology and Exercise Science. He is also a personal trainer for the university. Along with four other certified trainers, Michael provides one-on-one classes up to four times per week. He welcomes the opportunity to work with both college and community populations in his wellness classes.
“I am happy to be at Perry Wellness Center,” Michael says. “It is local, and the wellness goal of this center offers me a chance to help a diverse population of people. It is great, and I will learn much from my classwork on this campus.”
The 22-year-old senior is now conducting yoga classes at the center. He introduces new terms and positions that capture peers’ attention, and they look forward to the classes. Michael explains, “I have tried to break down the poses into a progression of movements that will challenge the muscles and minds of these peers. There is a real eagerness to learn about yoga and total body attention."
In each class, Michael leads students through beginning routines of forward arm movements and arm lifts. Then he begins a rhythmic progression from such simple poses as “Sun Salutations,” with extended arms in an upright position, and progresses to “Chaturanga Dandansna,” involving greater body movement and coordination. Classes learn the motions of hands to feet, roll ups, half lifts, forward folds, and overhead hand extensions.
“I try to make this a logical progression for my class clients,” Michael notes. “My goal is to help people appreciate this personal exercise that should be pain free. In yoga, we all learn to appreciate the movements of the body as it relates to person wellness.”
Thanks to one dedicated student, the ancient art of yoga practice has found a modern application in our recovery center. Yoga promises greater relaxation, strength, and flexibility for faithful students, and we are so pleased that Michael has made it part of our total wellness program.
In the photo, Michael Landreth, right, leads an early morning class with Kaylon Holt, Chelsea Hudges, Cassandra Carter, and James Barron.