Stretching Experience Through Yoga

Follow our student writer, Anna, along as she takes her very first yoga class at UMBC…

UMBC offers yoga in the RAC and at the Women's Center (pictured)
UMBC offers yoga in the RAC and at the Women’s Center (pictured)

“Smile! Don’t forget to smile — you’ll feel happier!” “Remember, this is all about you.” “You are strong, so trust yourself.” Who doesn’t want to be in a class where you hear these sorts of uplifting comments? Go to a class with Joe, and you can! Allow me to explain…

Though I’ve been to the RAC (Retriever Activity Center) more times than I can count, I had never taken one of the fitness classes before today. Sure, the classes are advertised (you can even get alert emails for when a class is cancelled), but I’ve never been one to go to a class to workout. But to give a class a fair shot, this morning I joined some friends in the Fitness Studio to hopefully not fail too badly at my first day of yoga.

It’s yoga with Joe, to be more precise. As you can probably guess, the instructor is, yes, Yoga-Joe. And Joe thankfully does not believe anyone can fail at yoga (“It’s not a performance. You’re doing this for yourselves”). Bless Joe.

About fifteen people showed up to the class, where we spent time learning to focus on our breathing, and then we began stretching. As I imagine it is common in yoga classes, we then gradually moved into balance poses (“You are a tree…feel the earth support you”) and other standing poses (“You’re all warriors. Got to scare off those elephants”). It was enjoyable, but don’t get me wrong. My legs were wobbling by the end of class. After such poses we gradually moved into cooling down and stretching (and re-aligning) ourselves.

That’s it. It may have been only 1.5 hours, but I forgot to think about blogging about my experience when I was there. To say I was fully absorbed in the class would be entirely accurate, albeit surprising for me to realize. As I said, I’m not a fan of fitness classes. I’d rather exercise on my own time. With that said however, I have already penciled this class in on my calendar.

Oh, and don’t worry about not having a mat for yoga. There are mats there for anyone to use. Just show up and give it a try!

AND if you know yoga isn’t your thing, then check out some of the other classes — cardio parties (though personally that doesn’t sound like a fun ‘party’), ab crunch sessions, fitness basics, yoga, and more. After all, as a student, the RAC is wide open to you…just swipe your card at the front desk, plug the earbuds in, and get moving!

— Anna Crow ’16

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