The Women’s Innovation Network (WIN) hosted the R&B Yoga event for Homecoming Week Saturday morning at the 707 Hub, kicking off the activity-filled day by promoting relaxation. Joanna Brooks, a Marquette alumna, led the event and said she was extremely excited to return to campus and host a class during Homecoming.
Brooks started out the class by introducing herself and talking about her mission to bring together all types of women and enhance their lives through the practice of yoga. Brooks’ forte is to play relaxing rhythm and blues music throughout the class. She does the same at the classes she teaches in her yoga studio.
“I started teaching yoga back in 2013, so it’s been five years for me now,” Brooks said. “I think I truly have come into my style of teaching yoga, specifically practicing to a backdrop of R&B. Playing the R&B music style is really important to me because I want to be true to who I am as a person of color. It’s the music I grew up on and it’s familiar to me.”
The yoga class featured many different moves and stretches, each focusing on a particular body part. Beginners were given easy directions to get into the positions, while Brooks offered mini challenges to accompany each move for more experienced yoga partakers.
There was a mix of both advanced and beginner yoga students who tried out the event. For Jada Vignos, a freshman in the College of Health Sciences, R&B Yoga was her first organized yoga class.
“I think that this was a really cool event, I definitely liked the R&B twist,” Vignos said. “The class was a cool event to do on a Saturday morning so I’m definitely glad that I came. Before this I have never been to a legit yoga class before.”
Valerie Lynch, a sophomore in the College of Health Sciences, had also never taken a formal yoga class before attending R&B Yoga, but said she was pleased by the way the Homecoming event went.
“I liked the yoga class a lot, especially because when it was paired with the R&B music the class just flowed so smoothly and was very mellow,” Lynch said.
The event came about through the partnership between WIN and the Center for Cultural Engagement. Jennifer Perdomo, a graduate student in the College of Health Sciences, worked with Brooks to coordinate the event space and time. Perdomo specifically works with the LGBTQ+ Resource Center within the Center for Intercultural Engagement.
“We typically always do events like this and try to make things diverse and inclusive. A lot of our events are also open to the community and not just Marquette students. That’s why at the yoga class there were a lot of people there that also go to yoga studios,” Perdomo said.
During the class Brooks promoted the practice of yoga, saying it is good not just for the body but also the mind. We live in a society with so many expectations and so much stress and yoga helps to relieve that, Brooks said.
“I like to tell my students that yoga isn’t just a workout, but also a ‘work in.’ It not only works out the physical aspects, it gets the emotional part too. It helps you manage your life better, so that’s why it’s so important for people to move their bodies and practice yoga,” she said.
At the end of the class, food and drinks were offered. Many people there took the chance to get to know the others in the class and recap their thoughts on the event.