Yoga and meditation are benefiting UA’s student body


By Sara Syed, Writer

It is that time of year again when the weather becomes cold, workload increases for students in school and the immune system is challenged. But what if there was something that could provide you the warmth and happiness of the summer sun without having to be in the sun? What if there was something that could increase your immune system, energy levels and overall happiness? What if this also relieved stress? Sounds perfect, almost too good to be true. The solution to stress, wintertime blues and maintaining vivacious health is simple; it can be found in the practice of yoga and meditation.

Yoga and meditation are two different practices that branch from the same foundation.  Practicing meditation involves quieting the mind of its thoughts to give yourself a moment of silence and clarity. When we practice meditation, we silence the racing thoughts and start bringing awareness to our breath. Through our inhalations our stomach and diaphragm expand and grow full of life and possibilities. When we exhale our stomach and diaphragm contracts as our belly button moves closer to spine. Meditation is a practice independent from religion; it is simply calming the mind through deep breathing, relaxation and sometimes visualization in order to create a space where we can look within ourselves. Through meditation we can find peace and possibilities; an experience that we can only know, if we try.

Similar to meditation, is the practice of yoga. Yoga requires the same deep breathing required in meditation, except with the addition of body movements. Yoga is an exhilarating practice in which we can uncover truths about ourselves by discovering where we hold physical tension and resistance. Are your shoulders tight? Perhaps you are carrying too much weight on your shoulders, either figuratively or literally. Yoga incorporates the beauty of our breathing into meaningful body poses, or asanas. These asanas are meant to not only positively affect your body through stretching, strengthening, and relaxing, but a more important aspect of yoga is that is allows the practice to push past physical and mental boundaries that they hold within themselves.

There is a magic of yoga that cannot be described in words. It improves the immune system, increases blood circulation, strengthens, clears blockages, and heals the mind and body.  Personally, yoga has changed my life and anyone who knows me well, knows that yoga is one of my greatest passions. I have experienced its magic first hand and would not be in the happy happy place that I am without it.

Yoga and meditation have the ability to alleviate anxiety, depression, stress, while instead breathing in positivity, love, light, and healing. The practices of yoga and meditation date back to as far back as 2500 B.C., and it is still widely practiced today. It is one of the oldest practices in existence because of the benefits. It empowers, heals, strengthens. The only way to discover this magic for yourself is to simply try them out. Consistent practice of yoga and meditation can help to alleviate old blockages, pains, and obstacles, to make room for new, loving and positive opportunities.

If you wish to have more opportunities to practice yoga and meditation or just try it for the first time, Holistic Leaders and Mindful Meditation offers free yoga and meditation courses multiple times per week.

Please E-mail [email protected] for more information. Classes are open to all. We will also be hosting a pre-finals relaxation event Monday, Dec. 1 through Fri., Dec. 5, 2014.  We practice yoga Wednesdays at 3:05 p.m. to 4:45 p.m., and offer meditation Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Bierce Room 168, and Thursdays from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Student Union Room 335.