Students can release the stresses of school, work and relationships by dropping in for one-hour yoga sessions at Kwantlen’s Blossoming Lotus Studio.
Yoga continues to expand as a popular trend in the city and suburbs, and for good reason. You may not think you’re the yoga type, capable of devoting an hour to stretching and wearing spandex, but you’ll be glad you did.
Unlike watching TV, kick-boxing, playing video games, smoking or drinking, yoga works to relax your body and mind, by focusing on steady breathing and holding unique body postures and poses. These special exercises are designed to increase flexibility, enhance overall posture and, most importantly, calm the mind.
“It can be really stressful being in the environment of trying to learn and having to be at deadline constantly. So I hope to provide a relief,” says David Yao, 26, who teaches the class.
Although there are various levels of ability and technique, participate in one class and you’ll feel the effects. The first 40 minutes are spent synchronizing movements, which gradually become more technical and enduring. It’s not unusual to break a sweat. Then the last twenty minutes are focused on resting and laying in posture.
“I’m inspired to relax after a long day of school,” says Robyn Lord, 23, who studies graphic design. After a yoga session, Lord says she feels refreshed, centered and that her head is clearer.
“That’s what yoga’s really for. To calm the mind down and to see clear as to what your own body needs,” says Yao.
During these insanely hectic times, it’s important to have a positive outlet, as well as it is to try new activities.
“Between school and work and studying, there’s not much time to do anything, like go to the gym. So having a yoga session between classes is really good to relax and actually do something active,” says Darriya Plessovskikh, 22, who studies accounting.
Kwantlen’s classes are beginner friendly.
“It’s calm, soothing and relaxing,” says Plessovskikh.
Classes are held on Mondays (11:55 a.m.-12:55p.m. & 1-2p.m.) and Wednesdays (5:15-6:15p.m.). Cost is $25 – $35 per/month. For more information about yoga and intramural activities, contact the KSA.
KSA offers at Kwantlen’s Richmond Campus five fitness classes: Yoga, Boot Camp Circuit Training, Kickboxing, Group Groove and Group Centregy. All classes are held at the Blossoming Lotus Studio (Room 1320) in Richmond. Membership is $25/30 a month, drop-in purchases are available at KSA Member Services.
The Kwantlen Student Association loves Wii.
Last week, students signed up for the KSA-run Nintendo Wii tournament at Kwantlen’s Richmond campus.
The Wiimote-toting tourney, which is scheduled to run through April, will feature selections from the Wii Sports video game, from boxing to bowling.
“Everyone takes turns and they go up against each other and they win prizes,” said Heather Poirier, a KSA volunteer at the Wii Heart Wii booth.
The dates for each competition are tentative. Boxing will likely be in early February, tennis in early March, golf in late March and bowling in April.
Registration for the tournament has ended, but Eddie Lee of the Student Health Improvement Program hopes the games will encourage students to become more physically active and join fitness classes.
Ivy Mendoza, another volunteer, said, “He’s really advocating for intramural sports.”
The school is only offering basketball this semester for intramurals and registration has ended, but other types of recreation such as pilates and yoga are alternative options.
Though Lee isn’t sure if other universities have added the Nintendo Wii to their fitness programs, he hopes to engage students and improve student life. He hopes that making exercise convenient for students will increase participation.
The yoga and pilates classes have steadily increased in attendance since last semester, but spots are still available and drop-ins are welcome. Kickboxing filled up quickly and is unable to accept any more applicants.
Room 1820 on the Richmond campus was transformed into a sanctuary Tuesday morning, just as it will be every Tuesday and Thursday for the rest of the semester.
It was the first day of the yoga classes, put on every semester for students and faculty by Kwantlenâ€™s fitness program, at the Richmond, Surrey and Langley campuses.
Yoga is said to make one more aware of their body, mind and environment and I was skeptical.
I arrived to see tables and chairs in the small class stacked near the back of the room and about 10 participants beginning to set up mats and stretch.
This was my first yoga class and I felt awkward. It was obvious that those around me were veterans, but as we began, the instructor, Emily, went through all of the moves so even the rookies among of us could understand.
As the music began I became more aware of my breathing, of my body positioning and the sound of the instructor’s voice grew soothing. The lights were dimmed, and eventually shut off to create a wholesome ambience. As the instructor spoke of letting our muscles completely relax, and to feel the energy we were bringing into our bodies, I felt myself doing so. The initial nervousness floating away as my focus shifted to my body and my breath.
Emily provided much instruction on breathing. She asked us to breath as if we were filling our entire stomach and mid-structure with air, and to push it outwards. When exhaling, we were to tighten the abdominal muscles and pull our midsection in. This breathing was practiced throughout the session, regardless of the pose.
We went through a variety of different positions, such as downward facing dog, in which one has their hands flat on the mat, and toes curled under, making an arch with the torso and legs. In this position we are instructed to completely relax our shoulders and neck muscles, to let it all go. Regardless of the pose, we were instructed to completely relax certain muscles, breath consciously and deeply, and to focus on energies on our surroundings and ourselves.
I noticed myself more relaxed, more grounded and more alert. My energy level was up, but my anxiety level was down. During the rest of my day, it was almost as if I had re-set. It seems that the class I had been critical of turned out to do what it claimed to.
These classes can offer excellent relaxation sessions that are sure to help release the stresses that school can bring.
For pricing and times on your campus, visit the yoga website.