College Zoom Yoga Classes


Alexandra O'Rourke, Contributing Writer

Claire Lockwood ’20 is currently a senior here at Union. You may recognize her name from her campus events emails, where she advertises yoga sessions which she conducts twice a week: Sundays and Wednesdays. These sessions are led by Joni, an instructor from Studio 4 near campus in Schenectady. 

Lockwood explained that attendance for the yoga sessions has been fairly steady, with participation from both students and faculty. However, Lockwood noted that attendance has been decreasing over the past week due to the approaching end of the term.

To gauge how the student body was responding to the yoga classes, Lockwood created a feedback survey for general feedback on difficulty level, timing, and overall enjoyment. She received suggestions to make the Wednesday class earlier, so she created another survey to find the best time to alleviate this conflict, which ended up being 5 pm. 

Lockwood stated that the classes incorporate a ‘vinyasa flow,’ which is a style of yoga that strings each pose together so that there is seamless flow between each transition. The classes also feature a 25-minute meditation. On the topic of the challenges of holding and attending yoga classes over Zoom, Lockwood shared, “Of course, Zoom classes do not have the same potency as the immersive in-person experience – the energy, the music, the sound, the community. Yet, I have learned new lessons with the online experience – that you don’t need a class, a studio, a fancy mat, even people around you to practice yoga. These are merely aesthetic accouterments. You simply need discipline, and to be okay with the ordinary. In fact, this has deepened my practice – forcing me to show up for myself, even when no one is watching, and challenging me to find stillness among distractions. You may not be able to change your environment, but you can change your mindset.”

When asked why people should participate in these yoga classes, Lockwood stated,“Our classes allow you to destress, strengthen the muscles, be present and clear mental clutter and stagnation. Unlike other exercises, yoga allows you to be in sync with yourself, to tune into what your body needs – to flow with the breath instead of pushing and facing resistance. It’s not just a physical practice, it becomes a way of life – of discipline, of flow, of gratitude, of compassion for yourself and for all life forms. It teaches you to let go, to focus, to choose which thoughts you subscribe to. It’s more important now than ever to take care of your mind and body – they are connected. Mental unease manifests as physical disease.”

When asked about where she got her passion for yoga, Lockwood explained that yoga has been the stepping stone of a massive journey of growth which has shifted her mindset, relationship with herself and outlook on life. She admits that this doesn’t happen overnight, or the first time you participate in yoga, it takes time. Lockwood started around five years ago, initially for fitness purposes, but the mental and spiritual have impacted her with time, and are finally ringing true to her now. She explained, “I am starting to become aware of thought patterns, to trust my intuition, to treat each day as an opportunity to serve, to create, to love. When we are in good physical and mental health, we are able to serve others at our highest, fullest potential. We inspire more, accomplish more, love more. It’s a positive feedback loop.”

Lockwood further notes that as Joni says, “We are always meditating on something, whether that’s the song playing in our heads, commercials, gossip, worries, fears…but we can choose what we focus on, because what we focus on becomes our mindset, which dictates the quality of our life. What will you choose?”