Life @ U of T

Mindful Moments Yoga: A chance for reflective movement

“Okay everyone, head into child’s pose”

Folding my body over my bent knees, I extend my arms. Wow, is reaching forward like this supposed to be so hard? Man, I need to stretch more, I think to myself during U of T’s Sport and Rec Mindful Moments Yoga virtual class. Unlike most other online fitness classes - which are all about getting that heart rate up and breaking a sweat - Mindful Moments focuses on quiet self-check-ins and pose-holding. As the U of T student body dives back into academics with the beginning of second semester, Mindful Moments will definitely come in handy as an opportunity to take a breather.

The class opened with a conversation about positive goal-setting and ways to follow through with commitments…a particularly relevant discussion to have so shortly after entering 2021. This thoughtful opening to the class provided a useful moment of reflection. Once we started with the yoga poses, reflection somehow became even more critical. After all, contemplation is a big part of yoga: when you hold a pose for long enough, your muscles start to react in new ways, and extra attention must be paid in considering how far a pose can be pushed. 

Especially if you’re someone like me who makes the recurring mistake of foregoing stretching after working out, yoga will really force you to notice how your body responds to each movement. While everyone will learn something new about their limitations from this yoga class, I certainly was forced to confront the embarrassing reality of my inflexibility - and will definitely be tuning into this class more regularly in the New Year! 

Something else this class has going for it is personability. On top of the session beginning with the instructor’s insights into goal setting, many class attendees did something brave and unusual…turning their cameras on. In the bleak reality of a Zoom-dependent world, many of us (including myself) can be all too reliant on the anonymity that sitting behind a screen can offer. Yet attending Mindful Moments Yoga felt like stepping into a miniature community. At the end of the class, a couple of the yogis turned their cameras and mics on (unheard of, I know) to share their experience and thoughts throughout the session. These days, it’s the little stuff that counts, and hearing the students and instructor interact despite the virtual barrier was worthy of appreciation. 

Mindful Moments Yoga provides students with the chance to push stress and schoolwork to the side for the duration of the class, and instead think about themselves…and if you’re me, that you seriously need to stretch more often.  

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