Yoga Newbie Learns Its Benefits in SCCC Class

Compass reporter Jarrick Ambrose tests if a live demonstration hosted by the Honors Club would help relieve pain and stress. Spoiler alert: It did.


Journalism Major -Jarrick Ambrose, attempting the Padmasana pose Feb 15, during a yoga class in the Montauk Point Room, located in the Babylon Student Center on the SCCC Ammerman Campus on Feb. 15, 2023. (Compass News/Anjali Sinha)

Santiago Vargas

Jarrick Ambrose and Santiago Vargas

As a person who routinely exercises five times a week, it is important for me to find healthy, active alternatives that allow the body to rest and recover.

I practice Olympic weightlifting. Unlike regular weightlifting, it focuses on two main movements — the clean and jerk, and the snatch. These movements put an immense amount of stress and pressure on my body. Unfortunately, I often don’t take the proper steps to decompress resulting in the recent injury of my right shoulder, limiting my mobility and range of motion.

When I saw that the members of the Suffolk County Community College Honors Club were hosting a yoga class on Feb. 15 in the Montauk Point Room of the Babylon Student Center, I attended with hopes of learning different ways to stay active without injuring myself further.

Suffolk yoga instructor Angela Strynkowski teaches and informs students about the importance of practicing yoga and its ability to help relieve stress and pain and improve overall health.

Yoga focuses on physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditations that help unite your body and mind to give you a better understanding of who you are. Strynkowski educates students on these techniques to help relieve tension from school, work, physical pain and other obstacles students face throughout the day.

The class began with the Padmasana, also known as the sitting pose. While mainlining different variations of the Padmasana, students were asked what the word yoga meant to them.

“Yoga is finding peace through meditation,” said business administration major Angel Cerna. “It’s important for students to have an outlet that allows them to relieve mental and physical fatigue here on campus.”

I started the hour-long class, which consisted of about 10 students — most of whom have never taken a yoga class before — full of skepticism. In addition to learning about chakras and the importance of breathing, students were taught introductory poses including the child’s pose, the downward dog, the tree pose, warrior 2, the crescent lunge and the mountain pose.

Suffolk County Community College Yoga instructor Angela Strynkowski, teaching students breathing and posing technique’s in the Montauk Point room on Feb. 15, 2023. (Compass News/Anjali Sinha)

I expected the pain in my shoulder would cause me to slow the class down. However, as the class progressed, I noticed that stretching and posing were easing the tension in my muscles. My aching shoulder began to loosen up. The transition between each pose became easier and the fluidity of my movements became more natural.

Strynkowski referenced activist and NBA legend Kareem Abdu-Jabbar as someone who has attributed yoga as a means to improving his mind, body and spirit.

“Kareem prolonged his career by dieting, exercising, and staying dedicated to yoga, through dedication and practice we are all capable of becoming a better version of ourselves.”

Hearing about Kareem inspired me to continue to take more yoga classes. Despite the initial sore and stiff feeling in my shoulder, towards the end of the class I could feel a slight increase in my mobility and range of motion.

Overall, the class was informative and beneficial. I would recommend students attend at least one class. Classes are held every Monday, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., in the Montauk Point Room.

The instructor was patient, interactive and knowledgeable, using her own life experiences to showcase how yoga can change your life when taken seriously.

“Yoga gave me the space that I needed to answer that question of, ‘Who am I?’” said Strtynkowski, who would like to see yoga promoted more at Suffolk.

“It’s really sad the college does not invest in yoga more,” said Strynkowski, “More things that are holistic would be really beneficial for students here on the Ammerman campus.”


IN THE VIDEO: Suffolk librarian Lisa Melendez shares her passion for yoga and how it can benefit students’ academic development and in their daily lives. She invited students to participate in special yoga workshops taking place throughout the week on campus.