Yoga on the lawn helps students stay mindful and focus on mental health

BY CJ GIBSON

Every Tuesday from 4:30-5:30 p.m., students can gather on Custer Lawn to participate in a practice of mindfulness and stretching. 

Yoga on the Lawn is hosted by the Kelly Center, the Student Engagement Office, and the Wellness Center. Yoga mats are lent out to students who do not provide their own, but the Kelly Center plans to give away some Tiger yoga mats in the future.

As yoga is typically an individual activity that involves little physical contact, the practice can be held while maintaining social distancing. As weather permits, the sessions will be held outdoors, providing students with ample space to spread out. 

“Eventually, when the weather gets colder, we’re going to be figuring out an alternative so that we can keep things going throughout the semester,” said Jessica Albin, Case Manager at the Kelly Center.

Lisa Schlegel, Ellis County Treasurer, has been instructing yoga sessions at FHSU for the past four years. Over the course of the session on Tuesday, Schlegel asked attendees, “Where are you?” and “What time is it?” to which the group was to silently answer “Here” and “Now” to bring their attention back to the present. Schlegel began the session with some mindfulness and breathing exercises.

Schlegel said the breathing exercises in yoga are beneficial to college students as it can help the mind focus on things other than stress, work or pain.

“It’s a way to focus the mind that you can do anywhere anytime. So by teaching students to watch the breath … and linking body, mind, and breath, it’s just really getting the mind from a turbulent state down several levels to stillness.”

As the session moved on to basic yoga poses, Schlegel reminded the students to listen to their bodies’ limits. 

“If anything hurts or you do not like it, don’t do it,” she said. 

Schlegel led the students through different stretches, such as the Five Tibetian Rites and beginning poses like Cat-Cow and Downward-Facing Dog.

While the past few sessions have focused more on basic yoga practices like breathing and meditation, Yoga on the Lawn will become more of a flow of different poses as it continues throughout the semester. 

The next Yoga on the lawn will be held this Tuesday at 4:30 on the Custer Lawn.

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