Yoga class helps students relax and de-stress


Hunter LyleReporter

As students gradually arrived, the sounds of soothing wooden flutes filled the open room as Counseling Service’s Denise Zack starts her Free Yoga Flow Friday class.

The Fitness Center at Southern Connecticut State University is once again offering an hour- long yoga class that focuses on relieving stress and ending the week on a positive, more relaxed note.

The idea of a Friday yoga class was proposed to the SCSU Fitness Center by Zack, said the center’s assistant director, Jessica Scibek. The staff thought there was no reason not to have students end the week with something zen that could benefit them physically and mentally.

“I hope this is an opportunity for students, in the course of their week, to just focus on
one thing,” Zack said, “To get away from all of the stress, from all of the distractions, from
all of the constant influx of information and technology and drama and just breathe, just be in the moment.”

Zack is a full time licensed professional counselor at Southern who focuses on helping student manage time and stress by helping create programs such as the Mindful Life Coaching series and Pet Therapy.

After getting her yoga teacher certification in 2013, Zack said she wanted to teach yoga to students at Southern.

“I went to Jess [Scibek] in the Fitness Center and told her I wanted to teach yoga during my lunch hour if I can,” said Zack. “The only stipulation is that I wanted it to be free for every student because yoga is expensive and I know the benefits of it.”

The style of the class is Vinyasa, which focuses on flow, linking each breath with a different pose, compared to other styles like Hatha yoga, where you hold each pose for a few breathes.

From the stress relieving qualities to the physical benefits, Free Yoga Flow Friday and yoga in general, has many positive qualities.

Lisa Derosa, a freshman and exercise science major said that she uses the yoga class to help her athletic career.

“I play softball at Southern,” said Derosa, “so this class will help with my flexibility and mobility.”

Others, like junior and communication disorders major Azhane Mitchell, said she uses the class to unwind and get ready for the weekend.

“It’s just a nice way to end the week. It’s been kind of stressful and everyone’s got their own thing going on, especially with classes and their personal life,” Mitchell said, “so, it’s kind of nice just to get a mat, get a block and just work it, focus on your breathing and meditate.”

Free Yoga Flow Fridays, which usually pulls in anywhere from 14 to 23 students, takes place in the SCSU Fitness Center from 12:10 – 1:10 p.m. every Friday. The class is free to all students at Southern, although newcomers will be required to sign a waiver before participating.

“The way I teach the class is from a mindful perspective so I try to enhance people’s experience in the sessions with my full communication,” said Zack. “Be where your feet are, don’t judge yourself. Let go of anything that doesn’t have anything to do with this moment. What I’m hoping is that what you practice on the mat, extends to what you hope to practice off the mat.”

Photo Credit: Hunter Lyle

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