Relax and rejuvenate on campus: A first-hand look

January 22, 2009 by  

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 Kwantlen’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.


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