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.
For those of you taking Summer courses, you know ALL TOO WELL how quickly the course materials go by and before you know it finals are here (…then again, it feels like that during the Fall/Winter courses but y’all know what I mean!). One of my favourite things to do on-campus is to hit the gym, stressed or not.
Inspired by Annette’s post about the MoveU Crew, I’d like to share some of the fabulous features of the HealthyU Crew that I’ve been fortunate to be a part of in a communications role. I love being able to share our successes and achievements around campus— especially because an awesome team of students and volunteers are responsible for planning and executing the campaigns and events! Perhaps you’ve seen them at Clubs Day, Street Festival, in libraries and common spaces, and at walkabouts around campus… Here’s a snapshot of each of the four themed-teams that make up the Crew!
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.
“Happiness is not for the faint of heart”. These are words I remember from a life-altering lecture I attended this past August.
Over the summer I had the opportunity to attend the Canadian Fitness Professionals conference, a multi-day event with the biggest names and faces in the fitness and health industries. With hundreds of educational sessions, workshops, and classes to attend, it was a wonderful opportunity to be immersed in new ways of thinking, moving, and being healthy.
My favourite speaker of the day, Petra Kolber, spoke at a panel discussion titled “Mind Before Muscle” and again in her own lecture called “The Happiness Epidemic: Catch It If You Can.” As a fitness professional and positive psychology guru, Petra introduced me to a concept called FLOW. This term describes the moment in time when time disappears, when we are challenged in a way that matches our skills – when we are in what we often call “the zone”.
She explained that being in a state of FLOW is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves to contribute to being happy. Happiness, she said, is not a steady state, but something that we have to train ourselves to achieve. She recommends a minimum of two hours of FLOW a week as our basic training exercise.
Finding FLOW, or recognizing the activities that bring me peace and joy, is something I have been trying to identify ever since. Whether or not I appreciate them as FLOW-inducing exercises, there are tasks that I complete in my daily life that make me feel whole.
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.