David Moscowitz, a professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, wasn’t introduced to yoga until he found himself driving down the icy roads of Indiana at 8 a.m. on the way to his first yoga class.
Moscowitz’s first encounter with yoga came when the studio his wife attended offered free classes to celebrate its anniversary. He fell in love with the practice in his free class and hasn’t stopped since.
Seventeen years later, Moscowitz guides others in his classes at Rooted Yoga in Columbia. His classes there focus on both the physical movement of the practice and the spiritual changes that can occur with those postures.
“Something drove that student to their mat to commit an hour or more of their time on the mat,” Moscowitz said. “What can we do to use the physical postures to maybe create some greater awareness of ourselves and/or of our relationship with the world?”
When he teaches, he keeps beginners in mind to maintain realistic expectations.
This philosophy came to life when he was tasked with leading an all-male beginner class. Many practicing yogis' spouses were hesitant to start, but the fully male class created a less intimidating atmosphere. Participants stuck with the class as it evolved into a higher-level class and eventually opened to all genders.
Currently, Moscowitz finds himself teaching a donation-funded class open to all levels alongside Angie Florentine, a teacher at Rooted Yoga, on Sundays at 2 p.m.
“He brings this lighthearted humor to it that’s very accessible and approachable for people who are intimidated,” Florentine said. “I would say that’s probably who he helps most because he does that bridge for them, and it’s beautiful.”
When he’s not teaching yoga, he teaches courses including an introductory Journalism 101 class and a more focused mass communications capstone experience.
Moscowitz attended Indiana University and obtained his doctorate in communication and culture. He taught at several universities and eventually found himself in Charleston where he worked on obtaining certification to teach yoga. After a year, he started leading others in their practice at his local studio.
In recent years, Moscowitz got the opportunity to combine his love of media and yoga when he helped a graduate student research how yoga-related magazine articles represent women.
His style of teaching within the studio translates into the classroom as he focuses on creating an environment of inner reflection. Moscowitz stresses that his goal in introductory classes is to encourage open dialogue. He tries to raise questions for students to ponder on their own about how media and society interact rather than teaching them only hard facts, and he encourages an open dialogue with students.
“He wants people to not necessarily have a different opinion, but to voice it and to have a discussion about it, which I like because he's open to everything,” Valentina Izurieta, a third-year public health student who attended his Journalism 101 class, said. “It's not just a right or wrong answer.”
Moscowitz acknowledges the differences in teaching on and off the mat but notes that his role as a teacher remains similar.
“I think a part of the skill, craft, art, whatever you want to call it, of teaching is being able to meet students where they’re at,” Moscowitz said. “If you’re committed to that like I am, and I think it’s safe to say most teachers are, then you take what you get and you meet those students where they’re at — and that applies to yoga, and that applies to here on campus.”
Editor's note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the university Moscowitz attended. The error has been corrected.