As students begin to reemerge into campus life, so do opportunities for free classes and activities provided by SUNY Plattsburgh. In collaboration between the Plattsburgh Art Museum and the campus fitness center, any student or staff member is welcome to join a free yoga class every Tuesday in the month of September at 10 a.m.
Students and staff can find the event in the Nina Winkel Sculpture Court, on the second floor of the Myers Fine Arts Building.
Tonya Cribb, the director of the Plattsburgh Art Museum, presented the idea to Group Exercise Director Connie Fesette hoping to bring more people into the space after being closed for three years. She hopes events like these can intermingle students of different majors who may not find themselves in the art building or fitness center.
The Winkel Sculpture Court is littered with artwork and potted plants, and is virtually silent. It is a small space that Cribb said “should be a place of healing,” among a bustling campus lifestyle.
The gallery is open Tuesday to Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.
It’s a sanctuary to focus on the mind-body connection that comes with yoga. Everything about the space is organic — the natural lighting, tri-leveled flooring and an unstructured layout. For an hour, Fesette leads the class through beginner level poses alongside ambient music.
Student Ella Bard and Adjunct Professor for Adventure & Expeditionary Studies Stella Boolukos-Brinker both attended the yoga event. They saw the event in the student digest email, and it was a welcome event after the loss of social workout classes due to COVID-19. While there was more time to workout, Bard pointed out, there were lost opportunities for classes, like spin and kickboxing that would need specific equipment or another person for.
“Instagram live brought fitness together for a while, but it began to slow down after a few months,” Boolukos-Brinker said. “But summer brought more in person, distanced classes.”
She said students should try these classes out at the beginning of the semester because the end of the semester gets overwhelming.
The similar sentiment of trying a new fitness class when students have the time to do so was echoed by Fesette, who has been working at the college for eight years. She looks for new events and locations to involve students and staff who otherwise might now try them. The courtyard — with it’s glass ceiling looking up at blue skies — matched the zen qualities of yoga.
Also excited to be teaching in person again, Fesette presented a case to why group fitness benefits more than following one virtually.
“Especially with exercise, you feed off the energy of others in the room. That energy motivates everyone, and also holds accountability to someone who might [at home] decide to just not do it,” Fesette said.
Fesette, who also instructs Zumba, hardbody, spin and kickboxing, stressed the importance of giving oneself more than one chance when going to a new fitness class, “allow yourself to be a beginner.” She welcomes any student to come talk to her about any questions regarding classes, fitness, etc.
To stay up to date on fitness center classes and events, follow the @plattsfitness Instagram.