You might have seen some pretty unusual things going on in O'Neill Plaza last Tuesday around 5 p.m. RHA is now offering a new program, Sunset Yoga, during which yoga classes will be provided, not in the stuffy Plex, but outside on BC’s green spaces.
The idea for the program came from Julia Hirsch, A&S '15, who became infatuated with traditional yoga on a recent trip to India. She is trying to introduce yoga to the general population at BC, and what better advertising than holding a class directly in the center of the busiest spot on campus!
Yoga is not a new hot trend. People are generally very familiar with the total body-wellness regime. So why bother starting a club when the Plex offers yoga classes daily? Hirsch emphasizes the importance of calming yourself in her class, as opposed to the Plex's cardio-oriented programs: "I wanted to offer a way for students and teachers to de-stress from the chaos of the work week and take time to rejuvenate their bodies and minds. Just so everyone can take a step back from their busy lives and relax!"
The theme of Hirsch's first class was "letting go." She wanted to address the constant stress that BC students often inflict upon themselves. Sure, your classes are hard. You might have a job. But let's face it: over 50 percent of your stress can be attributed to your obsession with appearance and other students' perceived opinions of that appearance. This is not strictly vanity or an obsession with physical appearance.
As students, we are concerned with how others perceive us intellectually, socially and even spiritually. Maybe you hold back in class because you're afraid of saying something stupid. Maybe you skip a religious service because you're afraid of the teasing you'll get from your friends. And maybe you drink excessively on the weekends because that's what everyone else is doing.
If you really think about it, the majority of our actions in a day can be chalked up to the stress of attempting to live up to these imaginary expectations. If you speak your mind in class, chances are your classmates or professor won’t openly ridicule you. And if you choose to stay in on a Friday night, your friends probably won't mock you for that decision (if they do, you are desperately in need of some new friends).
So while Hirsch's class is technically a physical activity, it is more about embracing the mental health benefits of yoga. You need to be comfortable with yourself and focus on your total-body health, which is not something that can be accomplished solely on an elliptical.
While the theme "letting go" may seem rather simple, as Hirsch says, "it really is a hard thing to do because we internalize so much of things that are outside our control. So, just for a moment, we forgot about what everyone else was thinking of us in the plaza and just let go and had fun."
Next time you start freaking out about something that's outside of your control in life, breathe. Think calming thoughts. And go to yoga.
Join Hirsch and RHA for a break from the stresses of college life next Tuesday at 5 p.m. on the Bapst Lawn!