Beyond Booth: Mr. Flexible

By Ritika Bipin Singh

Ritika Bipin Singh

Ritika Bipin Singh

Keeping up with the many things Boothies do outside of class -- recruiting and student group activities -- ChiBus found an interesting story with Mario Yang ‘17 and his hobby -- yoga. Apart from the sports, running and other outdoorsy or fitness-oriented clubs, we found out that there is growing interest to pursue fitness collectively, through yoga too.

[ChiBus]: How did you get involved in yoga and what kept you interested?

[Mario Yang]: I stumbled upon my passion for yoga after first trying out a class in 2012 to help improve my flexibility.

I was very into weightlifting at the time, and a friend suggested that increasing my flexibility would actually help me lift more, so I made the commitment. Very soon, I stopped caring entirely whether improving flexibility affected my lifting at all, or even if yoga improved my flexibility. I just kept going back to class because of how great it was to explore  different poses and how much I was learning about my body. Then, a curious thing happened. When I let go of any of the preconceived notions about what yoga might do for my body, my flexibility or my lifting, my yoga practice took off. The pace of improvement in my yoga practice was so rapid that I couldn't bring myself to stop practicing. I practiced seven days a week. It just all felt so great. Fast forward three years, I decided to take my yoga practice to the next level and became a certified yoga instructor.

Mario’s handstand mad skills.

Mario’s handstand mad skills.

[CB]: How have you pursued it while at school?

[MY]: I try to stay committed to two or three yoga classes a week in studios around Chicago. Classpass is great. I am on the staff at a studio called Yoga Six, but I've also been to Corepower, Yoga Loft, and Exhale, among others. I practice my yoga at any studio that's convenient, and I practice my teaching on anyone that will listen.

[CB]: How can others get involved with you in this?

[MY]: How great of you to ask! Several of us have just founded the Booth Yoga Club (shout out to my co-founders Cassie, Farhan, Mary, and Yanran!), and four of us are certified instructors. We offer yoga classes accessible to all levels of practitioners right in MPP on the 38th floor. We hold the classes twice a week on Wednesdays and Sundays. It's a safe environment physically and mentally. No judgments whatsoever. We are also working on more offerings and yoga programming as we get the club going, so check us out on the Booth Groups site that will be going up very soon!

Ritika is a first-year who, after the whirlwind of recruitment, is now trying to define life at Booth outside of it.