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Students learn to de-stress with yoga

Schedules in college can be extremely hectic. Students become swamped with assignments for more than one class and are often forced to juggle a crazy work schedule on top of that.

With a plethora of stressors, it can be easy to feel agitated, exhausted and without an escape.

During such a busy time in life, it is important to develop healthy ways to manage everyday stress. For many, the practice of yoga serves as an essential way to find this sense of calm, and Salisbury University offers a variety of yoga courses for the college community to take advantage of.

Professor of the Humanities Course of Yoga at SU Jordan Suber dove into this misunderstanding and explained that although the class is good for the body and soul, it is not meant to be an easy journey.

Despite its many benefits, it is a common misconception that the practice of yoga is a course one can take for an easy A.

"That misconception ... people figure it out once they get in the class, but whether you love it or not, it is working, and it is good for you," Suber said. "What's happening with your mind on the mat tells you a lot about yourself, and some people are scared of that."

Suber also placed emphasis on the idea that yoga has a way of healing and helping you when you feel lost and are hurting in our overwhelming world.

Following her studies at the Himalayan Institute in Pennsylvania, Suber has spent the past 15 years of her life practicing the craft of yoga and the past three years teaching at SU. In her time practicing and taking in the benefits herself, Suber feels that all in all the practice has helped her to heal in ways she didn't know she could.

"Yoga really saved my life. It got my head back together; it got my body back together and back in alignment of moving forward," Suber said. "Sometimes when illusions shatter, it can be hard to pick up the pieces, and yoga can really help."

In listing off the many benefits that yoga can bring to one's life, the list ranges from alleviating physical pain to reducing stress and gaining a better awareness of oneself.

Suber revealed that any preconceived notions of the practice should be thrown out the window, for Suber reveals that anyone and everyone can be a yogi.

"Specifically, it helps with the mind. I think there's this misconception that you have to be some kind of contortionist to be a yogi or that you have to look a certain way, which is really not the case," Suber said. "The benefits are endless, and they are on and off the mat."

Fitness and wellness professor at SU Susannah Taylor is also a firm believer in the practice of yoga and the many benefits that a class entails. Taylor emphasized that there is a wide variety of yoga practices, and each type provides unique benefits to the mind, body and soul.

Some specific benefits aside from the physical that Taylor highlighted include the bettering of one's immunity health and digestion and extends to the various improvements of one's strength, balance, stability and overall posture.

In an explanation of a specific type of practice called flow yoga, Taylor dove into the practice's specified benefits.

"Flow yoga can be a great way to manage stress, reduce anxiety and improve self-esteem,” Taylor said. “Twenty minutes of a yoga flow, twice a week would be beneficial.”

SU senior and multimedia journalism major Mara Lightner initially took the course to attain the four credits she needed to graduate; however, she's found the class to bring her a sense of peace and much more to her life than just a simple four credits.

Lightner explained the ways she's seen her life transform over the first few weeks of practicing yoga, highlighting that the practice has provided her with more energy throughout the day.

"Since I've started taking yoga, I've actually been going to the gym too, because I actually feel like I have the motivation," Lightner said.

In being the fundraising chair of her sorority, Alpha Sigma Tau, Lightner often finds herself stressed out, but the breathing practices of yoga have helped her to find a sense of clarity in the madness.

It is just five weeks into the semester, and Lightner feels that this practice is going to be one she carries with her for the rest of her life.

"I'm very hard on myself, and through this course, with the culmination of breathing exercises, self-reflection essays and meditation work, I do think I've been able to take a step back from my daily stressors," Lightner said.

"Yoga's opened my mind to see that in the grand scheme of things. We must treat our mind and body right before all else."



Staff writer and Gull Life editor

Featured graphic by Amy Wojtowicz Images.

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