De-stress this semester with free yoga and dance classes


Rebecca Dunphy

Students participate in a yoga class run by Dance major Niusha Karkehabadi.

Rebecca Dunphy, Staff writer

With classes picking up speed and schedules getting increasingly busier, it is often difficult to find the time, energy or motivation to stay physically active.

However, for those looking to try a new outlet, the Dance and Yoga Clubs have the perfect opportunity to diversify your activity, be creative and relieve stress.

Both clubs are offering free classes for students interested in learning about their respective disciplines in a welcoming, judgment-free environment.

“It’s a no-pressure, super fun environment of non-Dance majors exploring movement to music,” Dance Club president Megan Lay said.

Each Saturday morning from 10:45 to noon, a different dance major will be offering a class in a discipline of their choosing.

Introductory classes in jazz, ballet, tap, contemporary, salsa and heels will be offered in the Dance Space throughout the semester.

Lay kicked off the club’s community class series on Sept. 1 with “Ballet with Megan Lay.”

“We had a ton of fun exploring combinations of different steps and following a traditional classical ballet class pattern to solo piano music,” she said.

“Previous dance experience is not required, so this is a great introduction or reintroduction to dance,” she said.

“Not only are the classes free, but they are a great way to support and participate in the arts community of Mercyhurst,” she said.

“Dance is a great form of exercise that also allows students to explore an artistic avenue they might not have approached before.”

Interested students are welcome to join. For more information or questions, Lay is available at

As for the yoga classes, Yoga Club president Niusha Karkehabadi invites students to “come as you are.”

“I believe yoga comes to people when they need it,” she said.

Karkehabadi teaches yoga classes in the REC aerobic studio Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 to 8 p.m., in addition to Pilates Mondays and Fridays from 3 to 4 p.m.

“Yoga connects the body, mind and spirit through increasing a person’s awareness by meeting oneself on the mat in complete vulnerability,” she said.

Faculty adviser Solveig Santillano also comments on the benefits of yoga practice.

“When you’re really tense it’s a way of engaging your body and mind in a total experience,” said Santillano. “It helps us to be able to relax a little more easily. It can be relaxing or athletic, so there’s a great range of possibility.”

In addition to weekly classes, the Yoga Club also hosts a number of other events promoting physical and spiritual wellness.

Most recently, the club practiced yoga on the beach at Presque Isle State Park on Sept. 8.

Their next off-campus excursion will include brunch and meditation at The Juice Jar on Nov. 4.

Much like the Dance Club classes, the Yoga classes are open to all students.

For more information and to be added to the club email list, contact Karkehabadi at

Whether they choose the mat, the dance floor or both, students have numerous opportunity to get active, get involved and discover something new this semester.