Photo by Evangeline Fox
By Kirstin Nichols
When I was filling out my course selection sheet last year, still needing a gym credit, I came across a class called “Stretch your Wellness,” taught by Ms. Markiewicz. Being a runner, I place a lot of value on stretching for injury prevention and decided it would be a great addition to my schedule.
Two months into the school year, I don’t regret my decision to check the box next to this class on my course selection sheet last year.
Each class begins with a warm up in which we describe what we should know by the end of the class in six words or less based on the objectives of the day, such as working on breathing or completing a headstand.
We then respond to a “mindful moment” prompt, which is normally about the senses or paying attention to everyday occurrences. I find that answering these “mindful moment” prompts helps me to look at common events in a different way.
Then, we take about five minutes to lay on our yoga mats and relax in silence, sometimes with Ms. Markiewicz prompting us to think about things such as our breathing. Normally having just come from pride period study sessions or redo’s, I find these five minutes especially useful to calm myself down and prepare for the class.
Next, we complete “sun salutations,” a sequence of yoga positions that are used to warm up your body and lubricate your joints. The sequence consists of the warrior 1, 2, or 3 pose, a short plank, and the “cobra” pose.
After this, we work on meeting the objective for the day–for example, back-bends. To start, Ms. Markiewicz has us go through a series of exercises to build up to the main objective of the day. In the case of the back-bend, we spent most of the class doing back flexibility exercises, each one increasing in vigor. Throughout the class, Ms. Markiewicz constantly suggests modifications for those that cannot complete the full pose while also suggesting ways to add difficulty for those who find it easy. The result is each student facing a challenge every class. After meeting the daily objective, the class returns to relaxation, which is normally accompanied by instrumental music and Ms. Markiewicz encouraging positive visualization.
Because I go to pre-calc directly after “stretch your wellness”, I find closing the class with relaxation helpful in getting myself in the right mindset to truly focus on my work.
Overall, I’ve had a very positive experience with Arundel’s newest edition to its selection of fitness-based classes, and find it refreshing in the middle of a school day otherwise crammed with difficulty and stress. This class promotes a positive mindset and attentiveness to the world around you, which I have found important in finding more success both in and out of school. I would definitely recommend this class to anyone looking for a fun way to improve physical and mental health.