RRC’s Friday virtual yoga classes offer chance to stretch body and clear mind

By Emily Chandler

Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted how important moving your body and taking care of your mental is. It seems this past year, the importance of moving your body and keeping your mental health is at an all-time-high.

Before the pandemic, RRC offered a multitude of on-site workout classes held by Athletic and Recreation services including fitness classes, yoga, and other recreational drop-in sports like badminton and basketball.

In order to continue fitness experiences, RRC has teamed up with instructors to offer at-home workouts and live-streamed fitness classes.

Holly Pluchinski, 37, has been one of the designated yoga teachers at RRC since 2017. Before the pandemic, she used to teach in-person classes at the Notre Dame Campus, but when school moved to remote learning last March, her yoga classes shifted to Facebook Live.

Pluchinski said it was a great to see RRC taking initiative to provide affordable fitness opportunities for students.

She said the transition to online helps relieve some barriers people may face when exercising, including travelling to and from a studio or feeling uncomfortable exercising in a group.

Photo taken in 2019/THE PROJECTOR

“There’s like a degree of anonymity with it being online,” she said. “No one has their video or audio on except for me.”

Friday yoga classes became a weekly event through WebEx in October. Together, Pluchinski and Brianna Sawatsky wanted to make classes more formal where people can register online and get calendar reminders.

Sawatsky, 38, has been the Mental Health Coordinator at RRC for the past four years.

“There’s not a lot within our control,” Sawatsky said. “So, taking advantage of the things in our control is really important.”

In addition to yoga, there are also mindfulness drop-ins available to staff and students. RRC has a contract with MindWell, a workplace mindfulness and wellness platform.

According to a 2016 study, over half of all Canadian college students have said they experienced anxiety or feelings of hopelessness. RRC’s partnership with MindWell and classes like Friday yoga can offer students a resource to work through these mental health aspects.

Make sure to check out Friday yoga classes and the mindfulness drop-ins, as well as stay up to date on all mental health and wellness activities and resources by subscribing to Red River College’s Wellness blog.

Any students struggling with mental health or needing any kind of help are encouraged to contact RRC’s counselling services.