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The Catalyst

Yoga: a great weight loss solution

by Susan L. Johnson, Ph.D.,
Office of Health Promotion director

Ashley Hillman “jumped on the yoga bandwagon” hoping to lose unwanted pounds. What she gained went far beyond a healthier weight.  

The October Monthly Mindful Challenge encouraged staff to “Change It Up: Explore something new.” Though she had done yoga a couple of times in the past, Ashley never did so consistently.  “I purchased a new client 30–day special in September but only attended seven classes during the whole month. I decided to purchase another pass and committed to practicing consistently for a month,” said Hillman.

“My initial motivation related to losing weight, as over the last six or so months my weight skyrocketed due to eating out frequently coupled with stress related to residency and celebrating after I finished.  Even though I wasn’t practicing frequently in September, I found how grounding the practice was for me, found it was improving my mood and stress levels.  I’m on rotating shifts right now and having my practice to come back to as an anchor provided some sort of stability.  I have found that if I practice before coming into work I have better concentration and stress tolerance.  Overall I come into work happier and leave happier. As I noticed these improvements I stopped caring if I lost weight doing it and became motivated to continue and deepen my practice to continue and expand on the benefits I had seen,” she said.

Ashley, a clinical pharmacist, currently practices what’s been affectionately called “hot box or sweaty” yoga at Charleston Power Yoga — a hot vinyasa practice. She’s tried other methods but particularly enjoys vinyasa/flow yoga because she finds “the linking of my breath with movement calming to my mind. I have to really focus and my ‘inner chatter’ is more likely to stop.” She plans on continuing her practice now that she “firmed her habit” and is anxious to explore other studios and classes as well as her newly purchased books outlining other aspects such as breathing and meditative practices.

Wellness Events

  • Make a Wish on a STAR gift drive  — Select a star from the MUSC Urban Farm oak tree and purchase requested items for a START student. Instructional flyer nearby contains details.
  • The November challenge is to Release the Tension. Begin by taking the Monthly Mindful Challenge survey at A link to the final survey will be sent at month’s end to those who take the first survey.
  • Chair massages — Free massages are offered to employees midday Wednesdays. Check broadcast messages for locations and times.
  • Farmers Markets — Fresh fruits and vegetables are available from local farmers Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Horseshoe.
  • Flu Shot Satellite clinics will be held — Dec. 6 and Dec. 11, 2 West Classroom and 6 to 10 p.m., 2West Classroom

MUSC Urban Farm

  • Midday Work and Learn — Tuesdays, 12:15 to 12:45 p.m.
  • Early Bird Maintenance Wednesday — 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.,
  • Sunset Work and Learn — 4 to 6 p.m., Light Up the Farm event.
  • First and third Saturdays: Family-friendly work and learn — 9 to 11 a.m., Dec. 6.

For more information about wellness events or the MUSC Urban Farm, contact Susan Johnson, Ph.D., or Suzan Benenson Whelan,



December 7, 2014



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