Stretching out, reaching out to help those in need

Tyler Norris

Free yoga sessions in exchange for donations

Students participate in an hour-long yoga session in the Student Center last Tuesday. The class is every week at 7:30 p.m., and the only cost is a non-perishable food item or a gently-used piece of clothing. Rachel Kilroy | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

The sound of popping joints and the Velcro-like rip of hands and feet pulling from a rubber mat created a unique harmony at the yoga class sponsored by Kent Student Center programming.

It was the distinct sound of charity.

Classes will be instructed at 7:30 p.m. every Tuesday in the Kent Student Center. The only cost to students is a non-perishable food item or gently-used piece of clothing.

The room was nearly dark during the hour-long session. The only other sounds were the new-age music and the voice of a helpful instructor to guide the 38 participants.

Bodies moved in sync until harder poses like “three-legged dog” when some students wobbled and others fell down. A few students executed the pose flawlessly.

Whitney Ponczak, junior interior design major and class instructor, designed the class for yoga enthusiasts at any level of experience.

“It is a very loosely run class,” Ponczak said. “It’s entirely up (to) the individual to decide what their body can and cannot handle on that particular day.”

The class is a great way to relax while getting a physical workout, said freshman exploratory major Mehgan Miller.

“It gets your heart pumping, so it makes you sweat,” Miller said.

For Ponczak, the relaxing flow from one pose to the next makes yoga more than exercise.

“When I go to class, I go to relax,” Ponczak said. “If you’re zoned in the way you’re supposed to be zoned in and breathing the way you’re supposed to be breathing, you’re not thinking about anything else.”

Tessa Saylor, Kent Student Center programming co-manager and Sydney Jordan, Kent Student Center programming assistant student manager, wanted to do more than help students relax when they produced the weekly event.

“We came up with idea that we’re poor college students, so let’s try to help people,” Saylor said. “We have several charities that we’re working with that we’re giving the food (to) locally.”

Donated items will go to different charities each week, including Violet’s Cupboard, Safer Futures and County Clothing Center.

Donations from today’s class will go to Skeels-Mathews Community Center.

It won’t be difficult for any student to pay the cost, Saylor said.

“You can just go get (a canned food item) on your food plan if you live on campus or out of your parents’ cupboard if you live off campus,” Saylor said. “Then we can do free yoga.”

Contact on-campus entertainment reporter Tyler Norris at [email protected].