Time to De-stress: What we Really Get up to in the Yogalates Society

With the New Year having rolled around and now you’re back at uni, why not honour those resolutions to keep fit that you drunkenly made at 11:55 p.m. on December 31st by beating the January blues and going to a fun, upbeat yogalates workout class?

You might have seen us on a Monday or Tuesday evening as you’re walking through the Wessex Hall corridor or strolling past the building on your way home. As we kick our legs in the air and do Russian twists, you might have wondered what this somewhat crazy-looking activity actually is.

The truth is that the Yogalates Society is a rather unique, and in my opinion, genius combination. I don’t know who first came up with the idea, but the classes are a killer combination of yoga, pilates and more workout-orientated, gym-style exercises.

First of all, the students who volunteer as instructors start the sessions with a lively warm-up. This usually consists of some simple jogging on the spot to get our blood flowing, followed by some more traditional yogic stretches. This is when you may find yourself feeling the most relaxed as your body responds gratefully to the softening of your muscles, tense from sitting on those uncomfortable lecture theatre benches all day.

The main part of each class is divided into four sections which concentrate on intensive exercises pinpointing legs, arms, abs and butts. This is the time when you’ll really be gasping for breath and asking your friends why they persuaded you to come tonight and subject yourself to this torture. But you think this whilst simultaneously loving every second – trust me. Why? Because there’s nothing more refreshing than enjoying the exhilarating rush of adrenaline that comes from fast-paced movement, while enjoying great company.

Finally, we often finish off lying down and with some gentler stretches such as child’s pose, which has a restorative nature and has been used by Eastern yogis for thousands of years.

For me, one of the best things about going to the sessions every week is the music that accompanies us through the hour. The instructors choose the most upbeat, feel-good playlists to work out to, and we all know that singing along to Despacito (when we have enough breath left to do so) makes even the hardest, most taxing exercises bearable.

There was one day last year when the session was transformed into “Glowgalates”, and all eighty-plus of us participants got given glow sticks to wear whilst working out in the dark. The effect was mesmerising, and it was a worthwhile fundraiser for charity.

The Society doesn’t stop being active when it comes to socials. Every year there are formals where you can get dressy for a three-course meal and champagne with your friends, new or old, as well as nights out to Union where everyone wears funky 80s’ active wear, to name a few.

You can try out the Yogalates Society by coming along to a free taster session. If you’re unsure when these are, ask for details from the admins of the Facebook page University of Reading Yogalates. Or, if you’re feeling pumped already and want to get started right away, you can simply buy your annual membership on RUSU for £10.15.

Sessions typically run on Mondays from 5:00-6:00 p.m. and every Tuesday from 6:00-7:00, and 7:00-8:00, and you can attend as many or few of these classes as you choose.

Written by Sabita Burke

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