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Wellness, community merge at Rec group classes

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Courtesy of Campus Recreation

At the Colorado State Student Recreation Center, students discover more than just a place to break a sweat.

Group fitness programs taught by dedicated instructors build relationships while training bodies and minds. Free to all students, these sessions provide an enjoyable environment for socialization and personal development in addition to being an opportunity for exercise.

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“Every class welcomes participants of all backgrounds and experience levels,” the Campus Recreation website reads. “There’s no need to look a certain way or achieve a certain level of strength, endurance or flexibility; you can come as you are.”

Will Baker, instructor of Power Vinyasa and Hatha classes, described the yoga studio as a place of refuge within the Recreation Center. 

“It’s its own thing, kind of isolated up on the second floor,” Baker said. “The atmosphere and energy of the space cultivate a connection to it.”

Katie Bervy, known for her Rhythm Ride classes, was inspired to become an instructor by her upbringing and passion for exercise. 

“My mom was a cycling instructor, so I’ve been going to classes since I was 6 years old,” Bervy said. “I wanted to share that passion with others, especially here at CSU, where I’ve made so many connections through exercise.” 

Many students may feel intimidated or apprehensive about trying group classes, especially if they are beginners or don’t exercise regularly. Addressing misconceptions about group exercise classes, Bervy emphasized inclusivity. 

“I know every single instructor at the Rec Center, and our main goal is to just, like, break that barrier and make sure everybody feels like there isn’t really a stigma there,” Bervy said. “No matter their fitness level, they’re welcome.”

Kalia Kodrich Saavedra, instructor of Morning Yoga, Restorative Yoga and Hatha, also prioritizes inclusivity and mindfulness in her classes. 

“The beauty of yoga is that it’s about connecting with your body wherever it’s at without judgment,” Kodrich said. 

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Her classes offer a supportive environment where participants of all levels can feel comfortable. 

“If people are interested but unsure, I mostly try to be supportive and just listen to what they have to say,” Kodrich said. “The purpose is really to connect with your body without any judgment.”

When asked about encouraging newcomers to try yoga, Baker highlighted the depth of the practice.

“It’s not just stretching; it’s about so much more than that,” Baker said. “Give it at least three tries before deciding how you really feel about it.”

Baker said when he looks back on his journey as a teacher, he recognizes that learning never stops. 

“A teacher learns something new every time,” Baker said.

These classes are made even more special by the students who contribute their own experiences to them. Kodrich highlighted the feeling of community each student had when reflecting on their most memorable moments.

“I have a handful of regulars that come pretty much every class,” Kodrich said. “It feels really special because I teach three times a week, so it’s nice to feel supported.”

Thinking back on her classes’ sense of community, Bervy said she is appreciative of the bonds she has built with the students. 

“I love the community that we’ve created,” Bervy said. “Some people have been coming to my class as regulars for over two years now, and I’ve really created a strong bond with them.”

Baker said he also values lasting relationships formed in the classroom. Knowing that his students find value in what he has to offer and the supportive environment they’ve developed together, he enjoys having them return.

“It’s so nice to see people coming back to know that they enjoy what I’m offering them, enjoy that space for themselves or with the other people that they’re with,” Baker says.

The Rec Center’s group classes provide a route to well-being for everyone who seeks it, whether through achieving athletic objectives in the cycling studio or discovering inner peace on the yoga mat. Every session embodies a genuine spirit of community and energy as participants develop their bodies and create friendships that transcend the studio’s doors.

“I love being friends with my participants,” Bervy said. “I love just seeing people enthusiastic about exercise and working out. It just makes me feel like I’ve made a difference.”

Reach Hania Nini at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter at @RMCollegianSpts.

Interested in more sports content? Sign up for Ram Report here for weekly CSU sports updates!

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