With a practice that is so physically-based, the University of New Mexico Yoga Club is struggling to maintain a consistent club connection in an online setting. 

These UNM yogis, or people that regularly practice yoga, have found themselves in an isolated environment with little time to connect together.

The club is currently working on weekly online yoga classes through its Instagram page. Club President Katelyn Nicholas said online videos are still in the process of creation.

“Some people won’t be as interested in online class and some people will see it as an extra opportunity to go to classes they wouldn’t otherwise be able to,” Benjamin Anker, electronics and web officer, said.

Nicholas completed a 200-hour yoga teacher certification, which helps her run the club. She hopes to get a 300-hour certification in the future.

Anker said he will record videos of Nicholas to post for the page and will occasionally appear in some videos.

“I’m more comfortable in the student realm as opposed to the teaching realm,” Anker said.

Club members have requested live videos on Instagram of Nicholas leading yoga. The problem with live videos is time conflicts, as many members of the club have very different schedules in this time period Nicholas said.

With the new free time that students are facing with an online university, many students have chosen to take up yoga and this is reflected in the influx of followers that the club’s social media has recently gained.

“I think a lot of people still don’t really know that we are a club,” Nicholas said. “Maybe with the gaining popularity of [yoga] right now, it’ll help expose more students to our club and hopefully we’ll have more members in the fall.”

Yoga Club was created in October of 2019 and maintains a relatively new club status with an official count of 12 members.

“When we come out of this, we’ll be more open to connections and having conversations with new people and building new relationships,” Nicholas said. “Yoga is a really nice center for that.”

The club previously had hour-long sessions in reserved rooms at Johnson Gym, where yoga mats and blocks were available for use. However, Nicholas said it was easy to work with little equipment, which students could do from home.

“I wouldn’t say there were things we couldn’t do without blocks but the blocks definitely make things more accessible and comfortable,” Nicholas said. “They’re not necessary but they’re nice.”

Anker said that the club is free from financial pressures that other clubs may face.

“We don’t really need a whole lot,” Anker said. He added that, if necessary, “there are request forms to ask for one-time allowances for equipment purchases.”

Felisha Mikkelson, a UNM yoga professor, is the faculty advisor for this club. Nicholas has subbed for some of Mikkelson’s classes in the past because she “had already had a relationship with her prior to that.”

With Mikkelson’s support, Nicholas was able to create social media and posters to advertise the first meeting of the club.

The original idea for Yoga Club stemmed from Nicholas’ past experience with yoga clubs at other universities.

“I realized one day that UNM didn’t have a yoga club,” Nicholas said. “I thought it was a really great way for people to come together.”

Nicholas and Anker said they look forward to when the club is able to safely meet back together in person again.

“This time period is showing a lot of people how we might have taken interactions for granted,” Nicholas said.

Megan Gleason is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at culture@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @fabflutist2716