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Yoga classes help PTA students learn wellness

Who says physical education classes are a thing of the past? Not at Ozarks Technical Community College.

The 25 students in the Physical Therapist Assistant program have been taking part in a number of P.E. classes including yoga, tai chi and dodge ball.

“Teaching students yoga helps them use and learn techniques that they will use when they work with future patients,” said Steve Bishop, dean of Allied Health, who leads the yoga class.

Students are evaluated at the beginning and the end of the 16-week semester to chart their improvement through the yoga and other fitness classes.

Becky McKnight, director of the PTA program, said the fitness aspect of the program began several years ago but this is the first year the classes have been held at Richwood Valley, with the recently completed storm shelter offering plenty of space for the class.

“We wanted to make sure that fitness component was a significant focus in the program We want the students to not only be able to teach others about healthy choices but we want them to model healthy behaviors,” she said.

Yoga was chosen, McKnight said, because it helps students learn about where the different muscles are located, the basic principles of stretching and the benefits of yoga as an exercise. 

Students said they like the chance to stay in shape and know they will eventually use what they learn.

“Since we’re going to promote health and wellness to our clients, they want us to be healthy and well, also,” said Dave Hagar, a PTA student.

Andie Smith, another student, admitted there were a few shaky arms and legs during the first couple of yoga sessions.

“But as professionals in the healthcare field, we are going to need to promote healthcare. Therefore, we need to be healthy and fit ourselves,” she said.

McKnight said students welcome the opportunity to work out as part of the program.

“Most of them are already fitness-mined so they appreciate being able to do that as part of the program instead of having to find extra time outside of class,” she said.

Steve Koehler is coordinator of publications at Ozarks Technical Community College. Contact him at




College Director of Communications

Phone: 417.447.2655


Steve Koehler

Coordinator of Publications

Phone: (417) 447-2666


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