Yoga club looking to bring health mind and body balance to members

The+Marquette+Yoga+Club+meets+inside+the+Alumni+Memorial+Union+on+Wednesday+nights+from+8%3A00pm-9%3A00pm.

Photo by Alex DeBuhr

The Marquette Yoga Club meets inside the Alumni Memorial Union on Wednesday nights from 8:00pm-9:00pm.

Namaste, downward dog and corpse pose are not terms you will learn in any academic course. However, the yogis on campus can be your gurus.  

Yoga enthusiasts started a new club at Marquette called the Yoga Club to help students handle stress, as well as to maintain a healthy mind and body balance. 

President Mary McNeil, a transfer student from Portland Community College in Oregon and junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, was instrumental in getting the club started this semester. 

“I fell in love with the practice after doing Yoga with Adriene on YouTube and was really excited to join a yoga club once I got here but I was sad to find out that there wasn’t one,” McNeil said. “I wanted to create a space where people felt safe to start practicing and it’s been really good. I instruct many of the practices because I’ve always wanted to teach.”     

Ellaya Kucharski, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Science, worked with McNeil to start the club and said it’s important that it is inclusive to everyone.

“The Yoga Club is a place where anyone can come, no matter their experience, and they can come and meditate and just relax from all the stress of the week. We just finished our second practice at the Alumni Memorial Union and we had a great turnout,” Kurcharski said. 

McNeil said yoga blends different elements and poses and provides an opportunity for people from different disciplines to come together. She said it is also a form of mindfulness and can help decrease tension in your life.

“I think that the bond you can create with people through such a mindful practice is great. Being able to be mindful and just take a moment for yourself where you don’t have to think about all of the stresses of life is a feeling I want everyone to experience,” McNeil said.

Sammi Greenfield, a firstyear in the College of Arts & Sciences, said that yoga is something you can do to better  yourself.

“I just love the club. I’m very proud of myself for joining it and it does really help me and my mental health,” Greenfield said. “It’s just such a nice stress reliever and I know a lot of people are stressed and they need ways to destress and yoga actually works.”

Kucharski said that the practice of yoga allows you to be mindful while also exercising.

“We take time to appreciate our bodies and our minds, but then we go through and learn different positions and breathing techniques. We’re incorporating a little bit of a workout within yoga itself,”  Kucharski said.

McNeil said people might not think of yoga as a physical sport, but it uses a lot of mental strength. 

“I feel like anytime I’m doing something physical, it kind of forces me to get out of my head but the intensity of yoga has really brought me closer to myself and my body,” McNeil said. 

Greenfield said her personal goal being in the club is to maintain a yoga routine.

“I hope to learn more about yoga and ways that I could implement it into my daily life because I’m trying to build the habit of doing it because I know it’s something that helps me relax and also just working on myself and building a community there,” Greenfield said.

McNeil said she hopes the club will be able to expand beyond Marquette and into the greater Milwaukee area.

“I would love for us to go to local yoga studios, I want our own community to form and create strong lasting relationships through this art (yoga),” McNeil said.

Kucharski said while there may be a lot of different yoga poses, the corpse pose is her favorite and a way for her to focus on what comes next in her life.

“It’s where you’re just laying on your back and you just focus on your breathing and it’s a super relaxing time because I’m able to get away from technology. Just turn your phone off, really get all those thoughts, make a plan of what you want to do for the rest of the week and just have time to really relax with no distractions,” Kucharski said.

While the Yoga Club is new to campus, stress for students may not be. 

“If you’re looking for a place that’s judgment free and a way to relax and get your mind off of the struggles life brings and you’ve wanted to start yoga but aren’t really sure how, I think this is a great place to start,” McNeil said.

Practices take place at the Alumni Memorial Union on Wednesday nights from 8:00 p.m.-9:00p.m.

This story was written by Catherine Fink. She can be reached at [email protected] or @CatherineFinkMU.