By Zack Downing, Staff Writer
It may not be time for finals, or even midterms, but that doesn’t mean the student community is not stressed out.
No matter what’s going on at the university, thousands of students walk across campus every day filled with worry and tension because of classes, relationships, money, or anything else that weighs them down.
Whether you are an art major with several sculptures due, or a nursing student who spends too much time at clinicals, you know the heavy workload you’re expected to deliver.
Everyone has their own way of coping with the stress, whether it’s harmful methods like alcohol, or beneficial ones like walking through the woods.
One excellent method students are turning to for decompressing from stress is yoga, the ancient Hindu meditative practice.
The Center for Religious and Spiritual Life at UMass Dartmouth recently sponsored a talk with Swami Yogatmananda on the spiritual value of yoga, and Hinduism overall.
Rabbi Jacqueline Satlow, head of the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life on campus, is an advocate of the spiritual benefits of yoga. As she defines it, “Yoga is the practical technology of attaining the loftiest goal in life which is approaching the Divine, which is also the highest self.”
She also noted that yoga not only helps you unwind, but levels you out for the rest of the day. “I have certainly found yoga to decrease stress and increase physical well-being and a person’s sense of their own well-being,” she said.
“It helps with focus. Better focus leads to less procrastination and more available time which will also help with stress.”
So, if you’re stressed about a big test, doing yoga beforehand will help focus your mind while you’re taking it. If you’re scared you did badly, you can even do another session to calm yourself down.
The benefits are not exclusively mental, either. Meditation and yoga have been known to decrease blood pressure, according to Harvard Medical School.
As their website says, “Practicing yoga has been shown to increase mindfulness not just in class, but in other areas of a person’s life.” (health.harvard.edu)
Another advantage of yoga is that you don’t need any equipment to practice it. As long as you have enough room on the floor, you can do it anywhere, including your dorm.
If you don’t want to do it by yourself, however, UMass Dartmouth does offer yoga classes at the gym. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12-1 p.m., students pack the yoga classes to unwind from the stressful week.
Grace Augello, a junior illustration major, is one of the students that practices yoga weekly. “I like it because it brings me confidence, and the instructor’s very supportive,” she said, “and it’s kind of like getting a mini-nap in during the day.”
So, unless you’re a superhuman who doesn’t feel anxiety and is connected with their inner beings, give yoga a try, Mon – Wed – Fri in the gym, from 12-1. Yoga’s for everybody, and the sooner you try it, the sooner you’ll be feeling more relaxed for class.