What a spectacular time to be alive! I had the pleasure of giving my beautiful friend a beginner ski lesson the other day at Lakeridge Ski Resort and was ecstatic to be able to hit the slopes in jeans and only a couple of thin layers. I can’t be the only one loving this warm streak, not to mention all the sun. We had a blast and I was reminded of how much a girl can enjoy winter.
So, since I can’t imagine we’ve seen the last of winter just yet, I thought I’d highlight some of the many things to do on campus as well as in and around Toronto to keep your body moving and enjoy this so-far-mild winter!
Everybody hates January. After a well-deserved break from courses, assignments, readings, exams and –for some – the cold commute, we’re back to reality. Thankfully, while reality does include mountains of coursework, commuting in all kinds of weather and a general apathy that comes with the second semester… it also includes campus physical activity programming! I kid you not, if it weren’t for aerial silks and Jiu Jitsu, I don’t know how I’d put my toque and winter boots on every morning to trek to school. I’m hoping you all can also find something to be excited about and to make this semester a little more pleasant!
I’m happy to announce that on top of circus and jitsu, I’ll be continuing my ice princess adventure this semester in the Skating Level 1 registered class at Varsity Centre! I’m currently looking for a pair of skates to call my own, but it’s great knowing that rentals are available if I don’t find the right fit in time.
I’ve never really participated in a group fitness class that wasn’t a quiet, restorative yoga session. As such, I had no idea what to expect from the “Cardio Kickbox” drop-in fitness class offered at the Goldring Centre. I came into the class without expectations, exhausted after a long day on campus, and somehow I walked out energized and uplifted.
Let me start this off by saying I am not a yogi, nor am I a master of the subconscious – or any other level of consciousness for that matter. U of T’s new yoga and meditation programming is inclusive and inviting, and all you need in order to participate is your presence.
Yoga and meditation are available across campus five days a week at a variety of times to suit our crazy schedules. It’s drop-in programming so you can go as often or as seldom as you like. If it’s Wednesday, 5:15 p.m. and you’re thinking you’re done for the day, you can pop over to the Goldring Centre and join the “Yoga and Meditation” session which runs from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. It’s flexible – in more than just the obvious sense.
That’s the session I had the pleasure of attending this week. It was held in the dance studio/multi-purpose room on the top tier of the Goldring Centre’s strength and conditioning centre. I’d never been in that space before and oh how I wanted to dance! It’s so bright and open, with a wall of mirrors that I could think of many ways to exploit.
As a U of T student, we have access to numerous fantastic resources, scholarships, and world-famous libraries. However, personally, my favourite perk of being at U of T is our Hart House membership, or generally, our access to daily free drop-in fitness classes.…
When I entered university, I was determined to take advantage of all the physical fitness resources available and undo the drastic drop in athleticism that had occurred during my teenage years. In grade six, I had found joy in doing laps at the U of T Athletic Centre pool every weekend. However, when puberty hit, and sports teams became increasingly ‘exclusive’, I grew self-conscious and made every effort to skip out on gym. Throughout high school, I only voluntarily participated in two sports: fencing (a one week long U of T summer camp) and archery.
Last week I wrote about being ill, and I speculated that (in addition to cold weather and a nasty cough virus circulating in the air) my sickness was due to being out of touch with my body. It happens every once in a while when we get so busy that it can be a challenge to keep tabs on how we are (really) feeling and what our body (really) needs.
I mentioned to a friend in passing this week that I sometimes attend Mindful Moments sessions on campus to get better connected with my body. He giggled, and said that he imagines me sitting cross-legged with my eyes closed, deeply concentrating on foretelling the future. I think at some point my friend was misinformed—mindfulness, meditation, tai chi, or yoga are not activities done to prophesize about the future. Quite oppositely, the goal is to bring more awareness to the present moment, to the body, and the breath.
Like most U of T students, I’m proud to be one. People like to call us pretentious and I like to argue there’s a big difference between being pretentious and being justifiably proud. We boast top 20 spots on lists of the world’s best universities and I’m “sorry I’m not sorry” that gives me the warm fuzzies.
While we excel as an institution overall, according to UniversityHub.ca (contributor to the Huffington Post), our sports and recreation programs are less well known.
Clearly something’s wrong here. We have a wealth of sport and recreational facilities, services, activities — there’s a lot going on here! We have FOUR athletic centres (if you count Varsity Centre), FOURTY-FOUR men’s and women’s varsity teams, the ONLY Olympic-sized pool in the city, a wide variety of registered and free classes, drop-in recreation, a FANTASTIC, SUPER-AFFORDABLE sports clinic open to students, more playing fields than I’m aware of and SO, SO MUCH MORE.
For this week’s post I interviewed David London, the founder of the University College (UC) Yoga Club. David is a 3rd year undergraduate student studying computer science. He says he founded the club because he had a lot of friends who were interested in doing yoga but couldn’t afford to take a class. Knowing it was something David practised, it was his friends who brought up the idea of starting a club. David says he loved the idea because he wanted to teach but couldn’t do it full time.
UofT St. George has some pretty fantastic student programming on campus, and opportunities to connect with resources. I think its particularly great that students who are seeking help are given autonomy and choice, and flexibility in health care options.
This week, I had the chance to chat with Peers are Here program coordinator, Adam, about the peer groups he helps to run, what you can expect from a session, and why he is passionate about this project.