A student club focusing on providing opportunities for yoga and meditation is preparing to host a four-day workshop this week.
Arizona State University’s Art of Living club hosts regular meetings and meditation sessions during the school year and tries to host at least one longer Yoga, Empowerment and Service (YES+) course each semester. Outgoing club president Bharadwaj Sathyanarayana (Sathya), who will receive his Ph.D. in engineering this year, said practicing yoga and meditation relieves stress.
“We get so caught up in our daily activities, what happened in the past, what’s going to happen in the future that we forget to stop and breathe,” he said. Sathya has been the club’s president for the past five years, and he has avidly practiced yoga since he was 4 years old. He said there were times during high school and his undergraduate years when he would go without doing yoga for several weeks. When he began practicing his meditation again, he felt much better physically and mentally, he said. Sathya said students needed to realize that the benefits from yoga, meditation and controlled breathing don’t always appear overnight.
“Yoga and meditation are a way to be fit in the mind,” he said. “But it takes a few weeks to become physically fit after you start going to the gym, and it takes a few weeks to become fit in the mind after starting yoga.”
The workshop planned for this week will last from Thursday until Sunday. Courses on Thursday and Friday will last from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday’s courses will last from 10 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The club is bringing yoga instructor Debanti Sengupta, a Stanford University teaching assistant and member of the school’s wellness club, to host parts of the workshop. Participants in the workshop will play games, analyze thinking patterns that may be hurting them academically and practice a rhythmic breathing technique, Sudarshan Kriya, that the club uses.
The workshops are open to the public, and the club is also hosting introductory talks for students interested in joining the club or learning more about the techniques throughout the summer.
During the school year, club members meditate, do yoga, play games and go on hikes. Incoming club president and geological sciences graduate student Sandra Londono said yoga, meditation and other breathing techniques have been proven by both research and students’ experiences to help with school-related stress. “Yoga lets you train your mind and know your mind, which is always important in academics,” she said. “With iPhones, email, technology and Facebook, it’s really easy to get distracted, especially for students. Yoga helps you stay focused.”
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