“Yoga On My Mind” by Erin Jackson

“Yoga On My Mind” by Erin Jackson

In college I have learned how to be flexible with my time. In fact, I think this is a necessary skill to have to keep anyone from going crazy when things don’t go as planned. As a recent, and very casual, member of yoga club, I have started to learn how to apply this skill in different areas of my life.

Yoga to me is not all about being flexible in the traditional sense, the way we all think about. For those not familiar with the exercise it’s easy to use lack of flexibility as an excuse not to go. But for me, it’s all about trying new things and pushing myself emotionally and mentally, if not physically.

I was not brand new to yoga the first time I attended a club meeting, but I’m definitely no expert. I grew up occasionally attending classes at the gym or using my family room as my own yoga studio while watching tapes or using the ultimate workout device: Wii Fit. However, I had never really done yoga with my peers, with all people around my age and in the same stage of life as I am. Thinking about it now, I believe that college students are the perfect age group to reap the maximum benefits from practicing yoga.

Every day as college students we wake up and go to sleep stressed out about one thing or another. We sometimes tend to feel a lack of control over our lives as we go through the day, taking the classes we have to take to graduate and trying to find the perfect work to social life ratio that will make our friends happy. I think that it is invaluable to find the time for ourselves; we need to put our thoughts aside for about an hour so that we can take full advantage of the moment and at the end of the day feel like we had a little control, a little time for ourselves.

Yoga to me is one thing that I am involved in on campus that doesn’t stress me out. I try to go once a week when I can, but when stuff happens and gets in the way (as it always does), I learn to be flexible and make sure to work harder to make time for it the following week.

I recently helped host a yoga event in Redding taught by the Honors Program’s own yoga instructor, Kelsey Cummings. The group that attended was of a wide experience range, and while I don’t know what everyone was hoping to get out of it, I truly believe that they all left happy and satisfied with how it went. The point of the event for me was to give the opportunity to create a stress-free environment right at the heart of all freshmen’s stress: Redding. It’s our home, but it’s also where we pull all-nighters studying, where we rush back to when we forget out lab goggles, and where we live for the first time away from home, surrounded by strangers for the first week that we have to share a room or bathroom with. By having this event take place here, I saw people’s stress levels go down, saw them act more confidently in completing their work later that night, and saw them encourage everyone else around them to engage in what they had just participated in.

Everyone handles their stress differently, and yoga may mean different things to different people. For others, they may have a bad experience with yoga or some other reason that the exercise stresses them out. I think the important thing is that we all take a break from the hustle-and-bustle of a college day and from the impossibly hard-to-resist urge to make everyone else happy and put ourselves first. Even if only for an hour of the day, it can make all the difference in creating a stress-free environment where and when you need it the most.

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