By Celeste Kurnik
It is 6 A.M. and sunlight is beginning to fill the glass walls of Tamarack where students are starting their day with yoga and meditation. In the throes of classes, clubs, jobs, and more, many Lewis & Clark students have turned to yoga and meditation to keep their minds and bodies healthy. Opportunities to learn about these practices at LC are plentiful and available to all.
A study published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity suggested that yoga can reduce the physical effects of stress. Over the course of a 12 week yoga program, participants displayed indications of less body inflammation and a significant decrease in cortisol levels, the primary stress hormone.
Yoga practitioner Genevieve Newcomer-Nelson ’22 said yoga and meditation has helped her slow down amid the active life of being a college student.
“Being able to do yoga and meditate and take that time for myself is helpful,” Newcomer-Nelson said. “When you’re going going going, you don’t have a lot of time to sit down and think and be in your own body and mind without distractions.”
Students have decided to create communities through yoga and meditation clubs. The clubs not only host free classes throughout the week, with times ranging from morning to afternoons, but serve as a great way for students to meet new people. Newcomer-Nelson shared that she has made many new friends through yoga classes and events she attended.
The recent Full Moon Meditation, a moon lit evening meditation class, experienced renewed interest from LC students.
“There was a really big turn out from what the instructors were saying as compared to previous years,” Newcomer-Nelson said. “It was really cool to see different types of people show up to do meditation.”
Students have also found these practices to aid their academic performance. “Academically, I am really affected by meditation and yoga,” Newcomer-Nelson said. “Striking a balance between mind and body helps me focus and feel good … and energized to go to classes and to study.”
As a first year student, adjusting to the pace of college can be overwhelming. Taking time out of your day to do these practices can help the adjustment go smoother. “It gives me time to think,” Torrey Lind ’22 said. “Thinking just allows me to clear my mind and makes me a happier person.”
LC has multiple programs dedicated to reducing the stress of students though these practices. For example, the Counseling Service offers a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Class that focuses specifically on reducing stress through meditation and yoga. The Office of Spiritual Life also hosts a variety of classes on mindfulness. They provide a mindfulness meditation session every Thursday at 4 p.m., located in the Agnes Flanagan Chapel basement room 112. Additionally, the Office of Spiritual Life will be having a mindfulness retreat on Sunday Oct. 7.
If you are interested in participating in yoga and meditation on campus, you can email the Office of Spiritual Life at firstname.lastname@example.org, the Yoga Club at email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org for information on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Class.