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Seniors and Texas State students find their zen together

College students are paired up with senior citizens to attend chair yoga or Tai Chi together for eight weeks.

SAN ANTONIO — Senior citizens and college students in San Marcos are finding their zen, together. Texas State University is researching the health impact of yoga and Tai Chi.

Wednesday mornings, nearly a dozen people gather in the sunny yoga room at The Price Center in downtown San Marcos. The yoga class led by Anna Broom is more than meets the eye. The participants are part of a study being funded by Texas State University. College students are paired up with senior citizens to attend chair yoga or Tai Chi together for eight weeks.

“I had never thought about taking yoga because all I had ever seen was, you know, the leg behind the head and all this kind of stuff,” said Myrnell Turner, one of the senior participants in the chair yoga class. “I would have never dreamed that there was something that I could do. This has been very, very educational. I hope it will encourage other people, particularly people my age.”

Turner and Molly Morman are buddies in the “Connect Across Generations” study.

“As you can tell by our earrings, we have the same taste,” said Turner.

Morman, a graduate student at Texas State University, says the class has plenty of physical benefits.

“I had some problems with my shoulder for a while,” said Morman. “I think actually doing the chair yoga and doing it with people who have more physical limitations reminds me of my limitations and that I shouldn't push too hard.”

Researchers approached The Price Center to host the study. Executive Director Clay DeStefano is pleased with the initial feedback.

“Both sides, younger folks, and older folks got something out of it,” said DeStafano. “It's good physically but also the social interaction is what we see really being the big key. It's just a lot of energy in the place that seems to be in some ways infectious.”

Jonnie Sargent takes the Tai Chi class with instructor Brenda Bell. She says the concept is fantastic.

“It was really great having a young person to kind of keep up, that kind of gives you energy,” said Sargent.

Working on her sun pose and gathering data at the same time, Research Assistant Amy Piatt jumped at the opportunity to be part of the project.

“In one of my classes …it was really disheartening because the professor talked a lot about how older adults are overlooked or their thought of as less than like they don't have the same capabilities as everyone else,” said Piatt. “I think it's really important to shed light on programs that look at older adults in the same way as people my age.”

Once the study wraps up next month, the wellness classes at The Price Center will open back up to new participants. For more information on classes at The Price Center: Click Here