Taking a for-credit yoga class at IU has been one of my best college decisions yet.
This semester is the first time I have experienced in-person classes at IU. When I was building my schedule over the summer, I asked myself a series of questions. But the most important one was: What can I do to best help my mental health this semester?
Throughout the past 18 months, I have become a stronger and more vocal advocate for mental health and the prioritization of balance and wellness in college life. I knew I had to practice what I preach.
That is how I decided to enroll in Yoga 1.
To preface, the last time I took a yoga class was when I was 4 years old and in preschool. Deciding to commit myself to yoga for 16 weeks — as someone who struggles to do any form of exercise — was a big step.
The class, consisting of a total of 18 students, takes place twice a week for 50 minutes. In my schedule, yoga ended up situated between two long lecture classes.
I never thought I would be this grateful to have 50 minutes between lecture classes where I could relieve all the built-up tension, anxiety and stress from having to learn about financial accounting in a crowded room. But that is just one benefit of taking an on-campus yoga class midday — you are forced to have a mental reset.
My only qualm is that I wish yoga took place in a dark, cold room with nature sounds filling the silence, which also happens to be how my preschool yoga class was.
Yoga is not easy. Finding the time to balance your body and your mind is not easy.
You do not have to be good at yoga to do yoga. I am not good at downward dog because I have no wrist strength. My balance is conveniently only good in solitude, so doing balancing poses in class results in me falling over. The only parts of yoga I excel at are the resting poses or when we do 15-minute guided meditations, which are both like mini naps.
The goal of yoga is to balance yourself, and even though I end up sore from a variety of poses, my mind and my body are telling me I made the right decision.
As our world returns to a sense of normalcy, my yoga class has helped me adjust back to Bloomington and to the hustle and bustle of campus life. Because of these last five weeks of yoga, I can now successfully use yoga practices to ease my anxiety and stress whenever I need to.
Twice a week for the rest of this semester, I will carry a thick pink yoga mat around Hodge Hall and squeeze it into tight lecture hall rows. A lot of people are curious about why I carry the mat around and are unaware that we can take a for-credit yoga class. People ask me if I recommend the class and whether it is worth the time, and my answer is always “yes” without hesitation.