Sophia Lim, Section Editor
It is no surprise that college students seem to always be in a constant state of stress. With classes, homework, assignments, jobs, and other commitments, the workload of students can sometimes cause them to forget to take care of their mental and physical health. Finding time to de-stress and relax for a little while can seem almost impossible. Some Saint Martin’s students have found a way that enables them to find their Zen but also get credit for it; however, this is now being taken away.
Yoga classes at SMU have been a one-credit course for over 10 years. Instructor Rebecca Traber has been teaching this class ever since she was a graduate student at Saint Martin’s University. Many have said that this class has helped in multiple aspects of their mental health, but also benefited their body. Students who have joined the class usually return the following semesters, or at least plan to.
Traber starts the class by asking each student which part of their body they feel they need to stretch out or pay attention to. After hearing everyone’s answers, she teaches stretches and postures to help students in the areas that are crying for help. “Listen to your body,” is a common phrase of Traber.
“This class helps me as a person overall, because I apply what I learn in class, from breathing techniques to postures poses, in my everyday life,” shares Cori-Ann Morioka-Kam a returning yogi who has joined for two semesters. She had even planned to join for a third semester. When hearing about the cancellation of the yoga class, her shock and disappointment was evident. “I was making my schedule around it for next semester and would always look for it in self-service. Because it was a [course for credit] course, this pushed me to go to classes consistently.”
Not only did it devastate old-time yogis, but first-time ones as well. Tialynja Lewis on her first semester as a yogi explains how yoga had been a great help, not only for her physical state, but mental state as well. “If I hadn’t had yoga in my schedule this semester, I would have been way more stressed out about my other classes, believe me.”
For many students who attend the yoga class, this was the one place outside of desks, textbooks, and homework that they could go to for solace and peace. “The class teaches me to help myself and better myself, and that’s a beautiful feeling that I don’t want to be away from,” says Lewis.
Morioka-Kam explains how the benefits don’t stop there, “Along with helping my health, it also allows me to meet people in different majors and years, who I would not have met without taking yoga together. It builds community while still being a strong class that advocates for mental health.”
This class being an accredited course helped with attendance and motivation to get up and de-stress. The course promotes peace and relaxation within yourself with simple things such as breathing. Some students have said that because you earned credit from the class, it’s like being rewarded for taking care of yourself. You go to the classes, participate, earn credits, and reward your mind, body, and transcript.
Saint Martin’s University students are left hoping that the decision of removing yoga class as an accredited course will be changed and that it can nama-stay.