Take your shoes off and start stretching

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Yogathon attendees rest in child's pose. Photo credit: Brittanie Smith

The lights were off in the gymnasium of Hart Auxiliary Gym 210. Purple string lights, Himalayan salt lamps and glowing diffusers transformed the room from a place of sweat to a tranquil, peaceful environment, perfect for this semester’s yogathon.

The yogathon was 8-10 p.m. on Nov. 11. Three yoga instructors took turns teaching and giving attendees a taste of their different styles.

The soft, sweet tune of Hozier’s “Like Real People Do” played over the speakers as attendees chatted and gathered their mats in a large circle around the center of the room. The room soon fell quiet as Jacqueline Benson, a senior studying English, began the event by teaching different breathing techniques before beginning her flow.

Shoes, coats and water bottles lay scattered next to mats around the room as the group flowed from one pose to the next, breathing in sync with the movements. Some attendees were contorted into shapes that looked painful just to think about, while others relaxed in a simple child’s pose and let the rest of the group move around them. Benson believes this individuality is important to every yoga practice.

“It’s an individual process and journey,” Benson said. “It’s not a competition — you’re not supposed to compare yourself to the person on the mat next to you or the instructor per se, or even yourself from the day before. Every day is a new experience on the mat. It just depends on your mentality approaching the practice.”

Himalayan salt lamps and purple string lights helped create a calming mood with soft colors and low light.
Himalayan salt lamps and purple string lights helped create a calming mood with soft colors and low light. Photo credit: Brittanie Smith

People joined and left throughout the event, some staying for only one teacher while others enjoyed the whole two hours. Adeline Blomfield, a junior studying exercise physiology, was one of the yoga teachers and helped plan the event. According to Blomfield, the turnout was greater than expected. Many people were regular attendees of yoga classes, but some had never been to a class before.

Michelle Foster, a freshman studying elementary education, and Claire Emery, a freshman studying biology, attended the event together.

“It was awesome; we’ve never been before,” Emery said. “We loved it. We just wanted to get out, do something … It’s so calming. I love the lights and the diffusers and all the little fancy things. And the instructors are amazing.”

Though this was their first experience with yoga, they’re both excited to continue the practice by attending regular yoga classes in the future.

“We want to go every single time,” Foster said.

A table outside of the door had a yoga mat to be raffled off, a check-in sheet and handouts about the yogathon and other events like this month’s Lazyman Ironman.

The table outside the door of the Yogathon sets the scene for a calming environment with candles and bamboo next to the check-in list.
The table outside the door of the Yogathon sets the scene for a calming environment with candles and bamboo next to the check-in list. Photo credit: Brittanie Smith

Meanwhile, occasional sounds filtered in: shouts from the pool across the hall, music thumping through the wall of the room next door, people chatting in the hallway. But the yogathon managed to achieve remarkable tranquility for a busy evening in the Hart Building and an open door.

“It’s open for everyone because the teacher isn’t judging you,” Blomfield said. “It’s not about the other students, it’s about you. It’s about you and your yoga practice. And so I say it’s for everyone and everyone should give it a shot.”

Registration for weekly yoga classes can be found on the Campus Recreation website.