Navigating our way through a global pandemic and awaiting the infamous 2020 presidential election that is just around the corner, a few moments of zen can be extremely beneficial. Keene State College recently introduced weekly outdoor yoga on the Fiske Quad and the student response has been very positive.
The instructor of the class Jeanelle Boyer has been practicing yoga for 23 years and teaching for 13 years. “The yoga postures, breathing and meditation, it all helped me so much having to focus on my presence helped me cope with the many stressors that I experienced as a graduate student,” said Boyer. “As years passed, I continued to experience so many wonderful health benefits from yoga that I truly wanted to share this practice with others,” said Boyer.
Boyer explained she was especially interested in sharing these coping strategies with college students as she knows that this population experiences quite a bit of stress. She has taught many classes on campus before, but said the pandemic inspired her to bring her practice outdoors so that students can still attend classes safely.
“Any change in our normal way of doing things can be stressful and that certainly has been the case with COVID-19. I thought the yoga classes could offer both a way to relax during a stressful time and a way to connect with others in a ‘pandemic friendly’ way,” Boyer said.
KSC junior Melissa Ray attended a few of the yoga classes and thought very highly of them. “I think that students have been very appreciative to have been given an activity to reduce stress,” said Ray.
Ray also said that Boyer not only teaches the in-person classes on the quad, but she also has a Zoom yoga class later that day. “It seems as though students are excited to be a part of this, whether it’s in-person or online. I feel it’s also bringing a sense of community back to Keene State because it is something that we can do together in-person.” said Ray.
KSC professor Lawrence Welkowitz attended the yoga classes as well and was very pleasantly surprised.
“The class was amazing. I especially liked lying on our mats and watching the clouds go by. Just for a few moments, I forgot about COVID-19. It was a special time,” said Welkowitz.
Welkowitz was also thrilled to see some familiar faces from his colleagues. “For having just started I was really impressed with the turnout – even the Dean [ of Sciences, Sustainability and Health], Karrie Kalich, was there!” Welkowitz said. Welkowitz also hosts Thursday night hikes for any students and faculty that would like to join. “I’ve been a trail runner for many years so for me getting out in nature is really helpful,” Welkowitz said. “I was amazed about the big turnout and loved the positive energy. We did it again this week and people seem excited about keeping it going so we’ll be out there every Thursday at 4 p.m. in front of the gym, rain, snow or shine.” Welkowitz also expressed his gratitude to fellow colleagues Peggy Walsh and Steve Bigaj who have committed to hosting the hikes with him. As for yoga, Welkowitz is hopeful that Boyer will keep it going.
“She’s a great instructor and we all need some outdoor Yoga!” For information on the next yoga class or Thursday night hike, be sure to check out KSC’s website.
Victoria Miles can be contacted at: