Flexible in more ways than one

New yoga program is on the rise to keep students active during COVID-19.

Cathryn Salis, Reporter

R.I.S.E. YOGA CLUB is one of many student organizations fighting to get restarted despite the chaos that the spring shutdown brought to campus. This student org in the past has offered students a mat and an opportunity to learn yoga from a certified yoga instructor and is confident that while this year will look different, They will still provide this wonderful resource one way or another.

 R.I.S.E., an acronym for Restore Inner Strength and Expand, does not affiliate itself with any one religion or spirituality, and instead offers the freedom to explore these aspects of yoga as little or as much as one pleases.

 This organization was started with the help of Professor Mark Berkson in the 1990s and has developed an expansive network of instructors and alumni to provide these bi-weekly classes. 

“In the past, it’s been really great, the instructors will come in, set up a room, teach a class, students will have free access to these classes,” Sarah Sawyer, a senior on the executive board said.

 Most instructors are found through networking and almost all have prior experiences at Hamline, either because they’ve been leading classes here for a long time or because they are alums who have come back to share their love of yoga. This year R.I.S.E. is hoping to host Danielle and Christa, both certified instructors who taught classes last year. 

Yoga is unique in that it can be both a spiritual experience and a physical exercise, or any combination of the two. Many people use yoga as a way to meditate, while others find it to be a great strength-training practice. You can do yoga in any space with an even floor and the only equipment that is recommended is a yoga mat. Anyone of any physical ability can participate and is a very accessible and accepting form of wellness.

 “Yoga is all about accommodation,” Olivia Felland, a senior and the president of R.I.S.E. said. “There are many different types of yoga, and you are not required to be super strong or flexible or athletic to do it!” 

The club welcomes all, regardless of race, religion, skill level, or experience. 

The individualized practice of yoga has not disappeared from the Hamline campus following last spring’s shutdown, although the R.I.S.E. Yoga club has faced difficulties getting restarted.

 “The pandemic has slowed down our usual timeline for securing location, dates and times.” Lainey Hanson, another senior on the board said. “We are for sure going to have virtual classes but are still learning if any outdoor or in-person options are possible.”

 While meeting details are still being discussed, the R.I.S.E. board is still confident they will be able to get virtual classes started by late November.

 To sign up for more information about when classes startup, follow @riseyogaclub_hu on Instagram or email riseyoga@hamline.edu.

 R.I.S.E. is also making an effort to provide yoga mats for students without one, acknowledging that being in a virtual space can limit the resources that they would otherwise be able to provide. 

R.I.S.E. is focused on providing non-athlete students with an opportunity to get and stay active, despite the pandemic. Sawyer acknowledges how it’s easy to “get bummy” while stuck inside but wants her peers to have these poses and practices that R.I.S.E. instructors share to implement in their altered lives. 

With zero requirements to join and participate, R.I.S.E. is hoping to reach a large portion of the student body.

 “We want the student body to know that yoga is for everyone!” Felland said. What better way to get involved than with the most flexible club on campus!