If there has ever been a time to start practicing yoga, now is the time. It’s time to start being more mindful and taking care of your body and mental health. Yoga has been around for thousands of years, and there are many different types of practices, whether they be vinyasa, which is connecting breath with movement, or yin yoga which is about holding poses for an extended amount of time for relaxation. The DU Yoga Society has been very active throughout the whole pandemic, and lucky enough, yoga can be done anywhere with a little bit of space and some time. With classes ranging from 30 minutes to an hour, it’s the perfect opportunity to stretch and get out of your desk chair and away from the computer. Interviewing multiple committee members about their experiences with DU Yoga, it is apparent how helpful yoga has been in navigating these difficult times we find ourselves entrenched in. Events Officer Inga Marie speaks about how practicing yoga has helped her cope: “I’m very grateful for all it has taught me so far, and all that I will learn as I continue to be involved. I am definitely less stressed than I was a few years ago, and even though I still experience stress very regularly, I have developed a way of dealing with it by using breath and movement.”
“practicing yoga can be beneficial in counteracting the adverse effects of sitting down hunched over the computer all day.”
Many of the 2020/21 committee members have quite a background in yoga. Conor Myler first took up yoga “in the summer of 2018 after a hectic first year in computer science”. He says: “I had initially tried meditation but later switched to yoga, looking for something that had a bit more movement and could also act as an antidote to all the sitting and staring at screens that my coursework involves.” Now we are all essentially online and looking at our screens as Myler does for his course, practicing yoga can be beneficial in counteracting the adverse effects of sitting down hunched over the computer all day.
“I originally started yoga as my mom had gotten me six free lessons for Christmas of fifth year. I started Viniyoga and with a year of practice started to branch out and explore different styles,” fellow committee member Emma Leuders says. “I still love how refreshed I feel mentally and physically after a yoga class.”
Yoga can definitely seem intimidating to beginners when you think of the very challenging poses and the flexibility that yoga requires. Chairperson Jordan Lynn says to not be discouraged: “First of all, no one is naturally good at yoga asana (the physical part)! Yoga is a process which slowly brings balance into your body, mind, and spirit.” While usually classes would be taking place in person, now they have all moved online. Lynn wants to emphasize the importance of being comfortable while being challenged and making mistakes in class: “No one cares what you look or sound like. Not one person is looking at you to see what you’re doing or listening to how you’re breathing.”
“The society offers cheap classes which are a huge selling point for them.”
Transitioning to online events has not been too difficult for the DU Yoga Society. “I think that we as a society are coping as well as we possibly can,” comments Helen Hololei, who helps to facilitate some of the online classes. “Zoom allows us to continue giving classes which is wonderful and our members have been so patient with us, which has helped a lot. The turnout to classes has dropped as we can only provide virtual classes and obviously there are free yoga videos online, but the committee and our teachers are working closely together to ensure that we can provide classes to everyone who wants them.” The society offers cheap classes which are a huge selling point for them too, with hour-long classes costing €4 and half-hour classes costing €2. Making classes cheap and available was attractive to Myler when he first looked to join DU Yoga: “The society drew me because of the low prices when compared with the rest of Dublin’s studios which could be a bit expensive if you’re living on a student budget.”
DU Yoga offers a community of people who are looking to destress and look after themselves in a healthy way. In a very stressful time when everything seems to be changing by the minute, it is important to have healthy coping mechanisms and practicing yoga even a couple of times a week can be very beneficial.