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Student Union offers variety of exercise classes from Zumba to yoga

On February 15, 2019

Austin Aubert/Courtbouillon
Yoga instructor Lorraine Calcagno strikes a warrior pose.

NEW ORLEANS (February 15, 2019) – Six Dillard students gathered on a recent Wednesday evening to learn yoga poses such as the tree and the warrior with calming music in a dim setting on the third floor of the Student Union. The night before, about 15 students had assembled for a Zumba class with its lively music and upbeat pace.

The two classes are among seven unique classes offered weekly in various locations in the union with starting times ranging from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Among other offerings are circuit training, boxing, and karate.

All classes are free to students and have a nominal cost for faculty and staff: $50 for the semester or $20 for the week.

Courtney Williams, director of student engagement and leadership, said the classes began last fall in collaboration with Fit4You Wellness Center, with class types selected by popular demand of students. He said plans are under way for additional “pop-up” classes, including events in the residence halls as promotion, but none has been announced.

Laura Porter, a sophomore chemistry major from Natchitoches, said she attends beginner’s yoga every Monday and Wednesday.

“Yoga helps me realign myself and focus on me,” Porter said.

“The form of yoga that I teach is called tri yoga,” said yoga instructor Lorraine Calcagno said she teaches “tri-yoga” in her beginner’s class, held at 7:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays.

“We focus on flowing and movement, which is a full experience of mind, body, and soul,” she said. Indeed, some neuroscientists are now saying that yoga not only benefits balance and fitness but also helps keep the prefrontal cortex of the brain healthy as humans age.

(The prefrontal cortex is responsible for complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision-making and moderating social behavior.)

The class begins with a breathing exercise and goes into a 40-minute flow using various poses and ends with meditation.

Kennedy Watson, president of the Student Government Association and senior business administration major from Mobile, Ala., said she practices yoga at home, but has only taken one class so far at Dillard.

 “Yoga helps me with grounding. I am able to escape the worries of the world,” Watson said. She said she loves the intimacy of the class and would recommend it.

Jordan Kane of Baltimore, Md., attends the Zumba class, held from 8-9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The sophomore accounting major called the class “a fun way to effectively work out without even realizing it.”

She added, “The environment is fun, burns calories and introduces you to a different culture of music.”

The one-hour classes include:

Monday:

  • Kemetic yoga at 6 p.m.
  • Beginner’s yoga, 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday and Thursday:

  • Beginner’s karate, 6 p.m.
  • Fundamental boxing, 6:30 p.m.
  • Advanced karate, 7 p.m.
  • Zumba, 8 p.m.

Wednesday:

  • Circuit training, 5:30 p.m.
  • Beginner’s yoga, 7:30 p.m.

Friday:

  • Kemetic yoga at 6 p.m.

Williams said the hope is that “students will learn the benefit of staying healthy and fit while in college as well as how to properly exercise. Each class has fundamental elements that the students learn.”

(Tania Royster contributed to this report.)

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