Yoga Lab offers students a blend of traditional yoga and dance

Julieta Rodrigo // Contributing Writer

Don’t let the soothing music and calming voice of a yoga instructor fool you. Yoga Lab will get you sweating.

Offered at the Wellness and Recreation Center at the Biscayne Bay Campus every Wednesday from 10 to 11:30 a.m., the class blends traditional yoga with contemporary styles of dance.

Yoga Lab was created in the 2016 spring semester as an experiment with fusion classes, according to Bonnie Quiceno, the class instructor.

“I come from a dance and theater background,” Quiceno told FIUSM. “[So] it just made natural sense to me to fuse dance together with yoga.”

The class itself is simultaneously relaxing and rejuvenating. Free yoga mats are provided so students do not need to bring one.

The sequence of dance techniques gets you sweating and raises your heart rate, while the calming environment allows participants to synchronize their thoughts and breathe in a soothing way.

At the beginning of class, Quiceno asked for requests from students, hoping to address certain issues in their bodies or skills they wish to attain. She guided each student in finding their comfort level and gave clear and easy-to-follow directions throughout.

The class ended with each student saying goodbye to each other through “namaste,” a respectful greeting that means “I see your soul and bow to you.”

Yoga has a myriad of benefits for every individual who incorporates it into their lifestyle. From the perspective of college students, yoga helps with the stress from exams or relationships, physical and emotional tension in your body and even breathing.

“We don’t realize how important breathing is,” said Quiceno. “We think we breathe naturally, but we don’t. We hold our breath all the time, especially when we’re tense.”

The more you hold your breath, Quiceno said, the more you’re depriving your body of oxygen, which in turn makes it harder to study and retain information.

“I see you guys [students] come in so stressed, and I know how it is because I went to school too,” said Quiceno to the class. “You have a million hours worth of stuff to do in one day and even finding time to eat is challenging sometimes. I see you come in here and I see your faces scrunched up and your shoulders tight, stressed to the max and overwhelmed.”

Quiceno said sometimes people walk in on the verge of a panic attack, and when they’ve finished, she sees the real them — soft and relaxed and breathing and comfortable in their body, looking like they can handle their life now.

“Watching that growth, that’s amazing.” Stephen Blasco, a junior studying civil engineering, agrees with Quiceno. “I have seen more energy [after classes], and I’m happier.”

Quiceno urged students who haven’t tried yoga before to give it a try.

“I know a lot of people are afraid about yoga because you see these pictures of people doing crazy things with their bodies,” she said. “Every posture has a basic position, but you can always modify it to make it easier or harder. Anybody can do it.”

Senior criminal justice student, Malika Laurenceau, said she started taking the class after a friend introduced it to her.

“I try to make it to all the Wednesday classes,” she said. “It helped me learn to channel my energy and react proactively to situations.”

Quiceno recently wrote a book titled “Don’t Panic: How to Use Yoga to Survive the College Experience,” which is expected to be released on Amazon the third week of November.  As for what the future holds, Quiceno said that she would love to take [the class] out of just this room, and into the offices with faculty and staff.

“I would just like to say that one of my greatest joys is watching how yoga helps you guys [students], but one of my saddest things is that people don’t realize [the benefits of yoga],” she said. “What they don’t realize is by dedicating an hour and a half to doing a yoga practice on a regular basis, you become so much more efficient and that will in turn give you a feeling of having more time,” Quiceno said.


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