Sunset Yoga Series in May

By VAL PETSCHE

Staff Writer

Sunset Yoga Series in May. Val Petsche. Photo.png

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

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Giving meaning to your breathing

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Photo By: Theresa Tumminello

By THERESA TUMMINELLO

 

Staff Writer

@Theresa_tumm

Monika Lupean, owner of Salisbury Yoga, has been stopping by Salisbury University to lead meditation classes for members of the student body, as well as locals, on Monday nights. By stimulating senses and coaching deep breathing, Lupean offers a great way to unwind and clear your mind. Each week she focuses on different types of meditation.

The first week she focused on mantra meditation, followed by the second week with a specialized type of mantra meditation, “Love and Kindness,” for Valentine’s Day. With this type of meditation, you are encouraged to associate words with each breath. For example, you could breathe in “hope” and breathe out “love,” imagining scenes associated with the chosen words as you continue your breathing.

“Mantra meditation is the most accessible because it gives your mind something to do,” Lupean said. Her third session was centered on mindfulness meditation. Exercises included centering your mind and body, deep breathing and becoming aware of your surroundings.

Throughout the time that your eyes are closed, Lupean taps into your senses by giving suggestions on what to focus on. In between breaths, she urges you to continue escorting distractive thoughts out of your mind. She also reads some of her favorite quotes, including the following by the Dalai Lama: “The ultimate source of comfort and peace is within ourselves.”

Each activity is around 10 minutes long, followed by about five minutes of information about each exercise. During the periods of information, Lupean identifies benefits of meditation, which include increases in levels of “feel good” chemicals in your brain. She explains how meditation helps your brain adapt to new circumstances, reduces blood pressure, lessens the effects of a cold and can help reduce chronic pain, stress and fatigue. She even correlated meditation and physical health, saying, “Meditation can help you lose weight because you become more mindful in what you do.”

There is an elementary school in Baltimore, Md. that has adopted meditation into their code of conduct. At Robert W. Coleman Elementary School, the detention room has been renamed and turned into a “Mindful Moment Room.” Now, when a child acts out or displays bad behavior, they are taken to this room and coached through breathing and centering exercises.

In her article titled “Instead of Detention, These Students Get Meditation,” Deborah Bloom says, “Those at the school say it’s done wonders for their learning environment and productivity.”

Children attending Coleman Elementary School are more calm and mindful than ever before and the school is seeing a great change in their overall atmosphere.

With the exhilarating results that a simple 30 minutes to one hour of meditation shows, it is hard not to be intrigued. “There is no way to do meditation wrong,” Lupean explains. “Set a timer, close your eyes and breathe.”

Lupean is offering one more class on Monday, March 6th from 5pm-6pm. Bring a towel and bring a friend! Classes are located in Holloway Hall, Great Hall. I guarantee that you will leave feeling relaxed and ready to tackle the week ahead!