By Kelley Davis
CCC Journalism Program
As the warm evening sun dims, students usher in, neatly arranging their mats and slipping off their shoes.
For some, it’s just a yoga class, but for Bill Chultz, it’s become much more.
Camden County College offers yoga as a continuing education course for the community’s personal enrichment.
“It’s part of CCC’s mission to offer continuing education courses and programs to promote the cultural, social and recreational activities to the community,” said Sheri Porreca, director of the program.
Every semester, CCC offers a selection of personal development courses in areas such as health and wellness, languages, arts and crafts, dancing, music and theater.
Yoga Basics, a popular course among the middle-aged, inspired former students to become new students again.
Some have sought out the course for health reasons.
“My doctor says, Bill, you’re gettin’ old,” Chultz said.
Chultz, 60, suffered from sciatic pain before taking the course.
“I’ve had knee surgery, problems with my hips. I had a lot of discomfort, I was unable to stand- it was interfering with my job,” said Chultz.
His doctor recommended therapy, but it was expensive.
“Their therapy was more for athletes…not that I’m not an athlete, let’s not get confused,” he said with a laugh.
Then Chultz found yoga at CCC.
“I started taking the class and it helped my hip a whole lot. It’s helped my knees and shoulders. It’s really helped me a lot,” Chultz said.
Course instructor Kim Berni noticed the difference in Chultz over the semesters.
“Bill has really grown and changed a lot,” she said.
Chultz enjoyed the class so much, he encouraged his wife and two sisters to join, he said.
He applied some yogi philosophy to his daily life, incorporating more vegetables in his meals, and being mindful of his body, he said.
Yoga is much more than a way to spend a Tuesday night, but a catalyst for a lifestyle alteration, according to Chultz.
Classmate Jill Lewellen, 55, agrees. The course offers a comfortable and encouraging setting that stimulates personal growth, according to Lewellen.
Lewellen said, “I would encourage others to continue their education whether it’s physically, mentally, or spiritually. I’m 55 years old and I’m just getting my bachelor’s degree, so I’m definitely an advocate for continuing education and trying to better myself.”