Personal trainer and sophomore at University teaches yoga at sorority houses

By Carley Edwards

Danielle Wayman, sophomore studying Food Science, taught a peaceful yet strengthening yoga class to a sea of women at Kappa Delta on Feb. 13 in Champaign. The mindful event comes at a time when students are still adjusting to college life during a pandemic. 

“COVID-19 itself just made it really hard to have activities to look forward to or to take your mind off things, ” said Kelsey Devereux, Director of Health and Wellness at Kappa Delta. “Throughout COVID I have prioritized my physical health more which in turn helps my mental health.”

The health and wellness position is a new position in their sorority. Devereux said they not only focus on the physical health side with events like this but also relaxed evenings with coloring activities in mind.

About 20 girls showed up for the early afternoon event with mats sprawled out across the dining room floor. It was both Kappa Delta’s first yoga event and Wayman’s first class on campus.
Since the event was such a success, Kappa Delta is open to continuing the service. “Maybe we can do it once a semester,” said Devereux. 

Photo courtesy of Carley Edwards. Danielle Wayman, student and certified personal trainer, teaches a 60 minute yoga class at Kappa Delta on Feb. 13 in Champaign, Ill.

Personal trainer Wayman has already begun to book yoga classes at other sorority houses on campus – spreading her knowledge and passion for exercise to others across campus. 

“It’s not about having a six pack. It’s about feeling good,” said Wayman. 

She started her fitness journey right before high school and developed a love for working out, she said. Wayman said it’s so important to maintain not only a healthy lifestyle but also a balanced one.

At age 18, Wayman became one of youngest certified personal trainers at SPENGA nationwide and at their location in Downers Grove, Ill. SPENGA is a 60-minute workout that combines spin, strength and yoga, according to their website. 

Wayman said that because of her age she had to work extra hard to get people to give her the time of day and take her seriously. 

“My manager, and even other instructors did not take me seriously. They just assumed I was just ‘another teenager with minimal work ethic… I slowly gained more clients but it took working at every hour of the day — super early shifts to super late ones and making sure to go above and beyond with every class, ” she said. 

She now has the highest retention rate at her home club. The moms love to partake in her classes she said.

With almost a year of training under her belt, Wayman is sharing her passion and expertise with other females on campus. Her age also allows her to connect to a younger clientele as she can relate to them on many levels, including the shared experience of going through college during a pandemic.

At Kappa Delta, Wayman commanded the room in a gentle yet instructional manner. The energy of the space was calm and collected as these women came together to prioritize their mental health.

Photo courtesy of Carley Edwards.

“For me, exercise gets my energy out. Then, I feel like I’m so much more focused and ready to take on the day,” said Elizabeth Watson, a sophomore who attended the yoga class and expressed her love for fitness’ positive effects on her mental health.