RikkiLynn Brings Yoga to MC

by Garrett Keidel, Sports Editor

Every Monday and Tuesday night, the Manhattan College Fitness Center hosts a yoga class for Manhattan students. Lead by senior RikkiLynn Shields, the classes are an opportunity for students who seek a more unified mental and physical state to do so while escaping some of the stresses of college life.

The classes are held from 7 to 8 p.m. each night in Kelly Commons. The room is subject to change time from time with a schedule of class locations posted at the Fitness Center, events calendar and Shields’ Instagram page.

Each session’s focus can be slightly different with some possibilities being breathing, mindfulness and deep stretching. People of all physical abilities are encouraged to come as each individual class is designed to be as accessible as possible for the widest range of students.

“My sessions are open to anyone, no matter if you’ve practiced yoga before or not. I try to make every class as accessible as possible to anyone who enters the room, and always offer modifications for certain poses that may be more challenging than others,” said Shields.

“I always tell my students that everyone’s body is different, so your downward dog may look different than the person next to you. I encourage everyone to listen to their bodies throughout the class, meaning, if a specific pose doesn’t feel right, or you just don’t feel like doing it, don’t do it. I’ve had students lay on their backs and meditate or even stay in child pose for the majority of the practice, and that’s fine!!! If they feel fulfilled after the class, that’s all that matters,” Shields said.

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The many physical and mental benefits that come as a result of practicing yoga has been studied by Shields, and was a major deveined factor it her bringing it to the Manhattan community.

“I decided to bring my practice to MC not only for myself, but mainly for others,” Shields said. “While the practice of yoga has seemed to be trending as of late, there is so much more to the practice than headstands and splits. The philosophy behind the practice is incredibly fascinating to me.”

She continued.

“The postural practice of yoga has a variety of benefits, some more obvious than others, including increased flexibility and strength, relief from stress or anxiety, improved concentration, balance cardiovascular and circulatory health, among a variety of other things. To me, the most important benefit of yoga comes from the unity of the mind and the body…the unity of intent to free the mind and the body of stress and physical pain underlies the devotion myself and many people have towards the practice,” Shields said.

For students looking to improve their overall wellbeing and take a break from the work of everyday life, Shields suggests coming to her sessions.

“People should come to my yoga classes every Monday and Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Kelly Commons, because to me, wellness encompasses much more than physical health, eating well, and exercising frequently,” said Shields.

“Wellness is cultivating a balance of both physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. The contemporary human condition itself is stressful and full of anxieties. However, I believe yoga has the ability to be a remedy for both the imbalances of daily life as well as larger obstacles faced,” Shields said.