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New yoga club wants to help you start the new year right

A new year inevitably brings new resolutions that we promise we’ll stick to — whether it’s exercising more, saving more money or burning ourselves out less.

A new club on campus hopes to address all of those resolutions and may have you chanting “om” in no time.

Students Colleen Chevalier and Renee Ellison co-founded the Algonquin College Yogis club in November that offers free yoga classes on campus. They believe in the power of yoga for improving physical and mental health.

“Yoga is so great for your physical well being,” Ellison stressed. “It’s designed to be relaxing and also reconnect you with what’s going on in your head and what’s going on in your body…the benefits are physical, mental and spiritual.”

The club is an open community and welcomes people of all experience levels. Classes are taught by experienced instructors, and mats are provided.

Classes are free, and considering many traditional yoga studios can cost upwards of $20 per session, Chevalier and Ellison say their main goal is to ensure yoga is easily accessible for the Algonquin community.

As the club grows, it plans to become a resource that goes beyond yoga classes and act as a community-based support system for students. The co-founders say they are considering introducing other aspects of meditation and mindfulness to sessions too.

Members can also learn the basics in class, and use them as a foundation for practicing on their own.

Chevalier says yoga has personally improved her own state of mind and given her the opportunity to simply disconnect from stressors.

“It’s definitely reduced my anxiety. Just taking that hour, listening to the instructor’s voice telling them to release all the tension that’s in your body, and then practicing poses that reiterate that. It’s definitely provided clarity, and gives you a minute to check in with yourself.”

For those more used to traditional sports, Ellison notes that a common misconception is that yoga isn’t physically challenging, but that’s a myth.

“Yoga is work. It’ll kick your butt. Using and holding your own body weight is tough.”

If you want to improve yourself in 2018, Ellison believes free yoga classes with the Yogi club could be a great place to start.

“For people who have new years resolutions, I think it’s a great way for people to reconnect with themselves and their intentions for however they want their year to be.”

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