Students looking to get in a class that will help alleviate stress should consider taking Beginning Yoga.
“Yoga is the science of calming the mind,” Cecile Craft, yoga instructor, said.
Craft believes the benefits of yoga allow college students to rediscover a sense of wholeness in life.
“We are not our feelings and our thoughts; they simply move through us. Yoga focuses on paying attention to the present moment while watching the breath,” Craft said. “If you can’t breathe, you can’t do anything. I like to think of yoga as the practice of breathing and stilling the mind.”
Craft said breathing into the belly can immediately lower stress response and the pranayama practice is vital to a healthy body.
“The practice of meditation is simply watching the breath as you would watch the ocean. [It] allows a person to not only oxygenate body more efficiently, but allows the mind to calm and the senses to become sharper,” Craft said. “When you start living in the moment, not worrying about the future or grieving over the past, life opens like sunshine on a flower.”
Craft has had students use breathing techniques to help calm the mind and improve activity capabilities off the mat as well.
“They find [their] focus is better while studying and other students’ activities have become stronger, such as a runner finds length in hamstrings and hip flexers which leads to increased speed. Choir students state their voice is stronger; my golfers see a dramatic improvement in range of motion and focus,” Craft said. “This goes on and on… Eventually as the mind becomes still and focused, the inner spirit starts to shine and bring out the true essence of the individual.”
Craft wants to stress that yoga is not only for females.
“We are seeing many more guys signing up for yoga. The strength, endurance, flexibility and stress reduction cannot be found in any other practice.”
Students have the necessary skills to enter any intermediate yoga class with confidence and safety after completing Beginning Yoga.
“The students gain knowledge of techniques to create more overall flexibility and strength,” Craft said.
Introduction to meditation and breath work used in yoga gives the student life-long loops for stress management.
For students wishing to join the class, Craft suggests each student purchase a yoga mat, but mats will be provided for those who do not. The class uses blocks, straps and blankets. All props are available in the yoga studio.
“I can’t think of anything any more important for a college student than to: Slow down, be calm, be strong and be healthy. Just breathe and enjoy life.”