Quit Stressing, Do Yoga

5 Feb 2010

With school in full gear and midterms creeping up around the corner, students look for cheap ways to De-stress and unwind.Every Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 5 p.m., CU’s YES+ club offers free yoga classes in the university’s Museum of Natural History. Daniel Moss, yoga instructor and founder of YES+ (Yoga Empowerment Service) classes on campus, talked about the importance of yoga for students. “There are so many reasons [yoga is important],” Moss said. “The mind has a tendency to exaggerate the negative, but we are learning how to keep the mind positive and stress-free. We do a nice balance of yoga of the body, yoga of the breath and yoga of the mind. We will help give [students] the tools [they] need to succeed in life, do well on a test or feel natural and confident to give a speech in front of the class.” According to the YES+ organization’s Web site, yoga also increases focus and concentration, deepens engagement in campus life, raises confidence, improves study habits and helps students cope with personal and academic challenges. Moss said he began offering free yoga classes at CU last semester on Norlin Quad. However, they soon moved inside because of cold weather. Each class has yoga breathing techniques, a guided meditation and sometimes even games. “The busier you are, the more important it is to do yoga and meditate,” Moss said. “This is the only free yoga class on campus, and [everyone] should come and learn tools they can use in the rest of life.” Moss said he would be hosting a weekend yoga workshop through the Art of Living Foundation on Feb. 19. Gunnar Bergkamp, a 25-year-old who studied engineering at CU, said he has been doing yoga for about two years and that this is his fifth time coming to YES+’s yoga classes on campus. “I went to India with the Art of Living Foundation for the 2007 New Year and got involved with yoga of the breath, which is primarily what they teach here [at the YES+ yoga classes],” Bergkamp said. “I heard about these free classes through the Art of Living, which Daniel is a teacher at, and I love it!” The class practices Hatha yoga — though Moss said he likes to refer to it as “Sri Sri” yoga after Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of Art of Living — in the anthropology wing of the museum. During the hour, students will find themselves balancing in plank, swooping into downward facing dog and crouching in warrior pose — all this among the backdrop of the woven Navajo baskets, textiles and other relics in glass cases. Chris Hayes, 19, a freshman theater major, said he’s a relatively new at practicing yoga. “I just started doing yoga this semester,” Hayes said. “This is my third time coming here, and it’s about my fifth time doing yoga ever.” At the end of the class, Hayes explained that he had a busy week ahead of him but after the hour of yoga and meditation, he felt like he could take on anything. Christian Eaton, 22 (CQ), a senior environmental studies major, also explained how it was his first time coming to a YES+ class in the museum, and that he will definitely be back for more. “Over winter break I decided I wanted to do more stretching, and I thought yoga would really fit me,” Eaton said. “It’s a good way to get into tune with yourself, your muscles and your body.” The class focused on several things: better breathing, stretching, mindfulness and acceptance of both the good and the bad. It concluded with about a 10-minute meditation. As people packed up to leave, much calmer and happier expressions were apparent on the faces of the night’s participants. “I can’t really explain how I feel,” Eaton said. “But I can’t help but smile.”