Welcome to the ‘Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ … preceded by nine hellish days of final exams.
When you’ve hit your limit with coffee and Red Bull, there is one study break out there that doesn’t involve sugar and caffeine spikes.
The answer is yoga.
But you don’t have to be a handstanding-human pretzel to give it a try.
“First of all, there’s no reason not to, especially for college students,” said Colleen Saidman Yee, the New York Times’ “First Lady of Yoga” and mom to four college kids of her own.
“It’s just such a hectic, crazy pace. Kids are pretty much still insecure, trying to find themselves, and one of the best ways to find yourself is actually through yoga.”
A practicing yogi since 1987 and teacher since 1998, Saidman Yee has graced the pages of Vanity Fair, New York magazine, Oprah, Marie-Claire, Allure and Yoga Journal with her style and story of her journey into yoga. As the owner of Yoga Shanti studio in Sag Harbor, N.Y., Saidman Yee has also helped to create the worldwide initiative Urban Zen’s Integrative Yoga Therapist Program with her husband Rodney Yee and Donna Karan.
The meditative stillness and the simple focus on steady, deep breathing can do wonders for the anxious and overworked mind. Wonders that can be maintained beyond a stressful week of exams.
“You develop that internal intimacy and then you walk around school and life with a whole different perspective,” Saidman Yee said.
“It’s nice to get in shape, it’s nice to do a physical workout, but you need to develop good habits especially when you’re young, that’s one of the most important things for college-aged kids.”
We each come to the mat with our own personal stories and struggles and our minds abuzz with ‘to-do’s’ and ‘what-if’s.’
According to Iyengar-certified yoga instructor and internationally-recognized leader in the practice Rodney Yee, yoga is one of the best methods to quiet the mind and discover your true self.
“College is a breeding ground, and a lot of times for pushing forward, for getting something, or educating yourself to get something so that you can be what you want to be. But unfortunately it doesn’t really teach you relaxation skills, centering skills, finding out who you are, your self, who you are in the world” said Yee.
“So in a lot of senses we get pushed through this machine and we never really ask ‘What do I want?’ and ‘What am I in this for?’ because we all get pushed toward money and career and we lose our own sense of ourselves.”
You’ll never know the benefit of a few silent minutes of meditation or a cycle of sun salutations until you try. As the yogis say, with each breath you inhale calm and stillness and exhale the toxic and negative energy and emotion welled up inside.
“These practices, hopefully if taught well, they bring us back to those real questions, those real quests that may be important for these people to put their energy towards,” said Yee.
Because after all, fellow ‘Canes, we are here, at the University of Miami for a reason. We’ve earned it, we’ve maintained it and will continue to get out of life what we put into it. Sounds kind of karmic huh?
At the end of the day, it’s just a one challenge along the path toward a goal.
Cheers to Finals Week 2013!
For some tips and teachings from the pros, visit Rodney and Colleen Saidman Yee’s online yoga studio at www.GaiamYogaStudio.com.
words and photos_kristen spillane.