BY VAL PETSCHE
With finals quickly approaching, students have the chance to destress during an open session of hatha yoga provided every Monday for the next three weeks on the lawn outside of Holloway Hall by instructor Madhumi Mitra.
She is a professor of Biological and Environmental sciences at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES). Dr. Mitra has been practicing yoga and meditation for the past several decades.
“My yoga series will teach the participants ancient breathing techniques, poses for overall health that can be customized based on the needs of the participants and will also focus on pain management,” Dr. Mitra says. “This will enhance better understanding of the theoretical and practical aspects of yoga that are often overlooked at the gyms and studios.”
The classes are an opportunity for students to learn the foundations of yoga, as each session covers the importance of chakra yoga, the five Tibetan rites and breathing techniques, before ending in meditation.
“Yoga is the coordination of mind, body, and spirit, and acknowledging the divinity that resides in each one of us,” Dr. Mitra explains.
She later discussed that this workout focuses on activating the wheels of energy, or chakras, to allow an uninterrupted flow of “chi” throughout the body, whether it be circulatory, skeletal, nervous or lymphatic.
Senior Mary Gellen, a communication arts and health major, attended the yoga session, explaining that it is a good introduction to energy work.
“In most yoga classes, they do not usually go through explaining the chakras. They just make you jump into the poses,” Gellen adds.
Senior Leeroy Jenkin, majoring in computer science, was also present for an evening of yoga. He commented on the session as well, stating, “It opens my sacral chakra.”
Charles Johnson, senior and elementary education major, says the class was not challenging, and students should attend to help relax during finals, especially because of the meditation aspect.
In regards to the encroaching deadlines and assignments, Gellen reasons that “the meditation and the breathing are some of the best things for stress relief.”
“Research has shown that the academic performances of students in K-12 schools have improved significantly with the adoption of a yoga-meditation approach,” Dr. Mitra said. “The classroom teachers have seen benefits with respect to students’ behavior, and mental and physical health.”
Dr. Mitra says she would like to see all K-12 schools, universities and colleges as well as government and non-governmental organizations start similar programs for promoting physical, mental and spiritual health.
“The world will certainly become a haven for peace, tolerance, harmony and equanimity,” she said.
No experience is needed to attend Dr. Mitra’s sessions, and it is important, she states, that attendees come with an open mind and the intention to learn.
“Yoga can do wonders if you put your heart and mind into it,” Dr. Mitra said.
It is possible to incorporate the mindfulness of yoga into everyday life. Dr. Mitra explained that the yoga mindset brings benefits of feeling content with oneself and others, being grateful and remaining positive.
“When we go deep in yoga and commit to transformation, we will also notice that mindfulness in our daily activities; breathing deeply and seeking balance and harmony become a way of life in an effortless manner,” Dr. Mitra added.
To Dr. Mitra, yoga is a personal journey about listening to one’s body, mind and spirit.
This Sunset Yoga Series will be held every Monday at 5 p.m. until the final session on May 15.