Iowa State Recreation Services is currently offering free female-focused fitness classes to students at Beyer Hall.
“The classes are for anybody that identifies as a woman,” said yoga instructor Cass Brower. “It’s supposed to be an inclusive safe space for women to workout since traditionally going to the gym can be intimidating.”
Brower is a graduate student who has been teaching yoga at Iowa State for four semesters. This fall semester is her third semester leading female-focused yoga. While leading her classes she integrates several empowering routines that increase self-confidence and strengthen mental focus.
“One thing I like to do is set an intention at the beginning of the class so if you feel your mind wandering you can go back to that intention we set,” Brower said. “We’ll pick a mantra at the beginning of class and just repeat it in your mind as you do your flow and as you hold your poses.”
Some of the mantras Brower has used include “Self-care isn’t selfish,” “My body has my back” and “I am worthy just as I am.”
“These can be done in all yoga classes, not just female-focused, but I feel like a lot of women, especially with social media, struggling with body image, benefit from these types of mantras,” Brower said.
Working out and being fit is a stereotypically masculine activity. This stereotype has been steadily evolving, but fitness is still a male dominated pursuit. As a result, women are more likely to feel judged and out of place while working out at the gym.
“I 100 percent recommend [the female-focused classes] because I am a female who gets really nervous working out in front of people, and I did not feel judged at all,” sophomore Ryleigh Hudspeth said. “I felt like everyone in the room was cheering [me] on, and even if we didn’t say it out loud, we knew it.”
The female focused classes currently available are HIIT and yoga. Class schedules and registration can be found on the Iowa State Recreation Services website.