By Carlota Garcia
Weekly offered outside of the Old Lynn dormitories Sunday through Thursday, campus recreation’s yoga classes have changed how students are tested both mentally and physically.
The yoga classes usually take about an hour to complete, and the program has brought along numerous new faces along the way. Ashley Kaufman joined the campus recreation community at the end of January by becoming the new yoga instructor and is currently enrolled in the graduate program for clinical mental health counseling.
“Yoga means to ‘yoke’, to ‘come together,’ and I think that in some ways we have lost that,” said Kaufman. “However, I think that if someone is showing up to their mat consistently, then it is doing some good and benefiting them.”
Kaufman’s yoga classes relax the mind, create clarity and increase body awareness. The standard level of the class is for beginners, making it inclusive to everyone. Still, Kaufman is happy to accommodate any incoming level of experience.
Hriday Ahuja is a sophomore student from India studying entrepreneurship. To him, yoga is part of his culture as the practice started in India, rooting from Hinduism.
“I enjoy it because it is a good form of physical activity,” said Ahuja. “I do it to calm my mind and put myself at ease.”
There are physical, mental and emotional benefits to partaking in yoga. Physically, it is a great way to increase flexibility, muscle strength, toning and is an excellent form of cardio. Mentally, it is a healthy way for managing stress, which affects the mind, body and one’s habits.
“When we get into stressful situations or we have that panic, our bodies immediately go into fight or flight mode,” said Kaufman. “Focusing on your breath is such a grounding experience. Neuro-logically, it completely relaxes your body.”
In the midst of this rapidly operating and interconnected world, being able to take a few moments to pause and breathe can be helpful. Participating in yoga provides individuals with this outlet, and Kaufman’s approach to this exercising platform continues to alter fitness lives across campus.