Students can enjoy free, one-hour yoga classes amidst the tranquil backdrop of the Westerman Garden
Braden Klassen, Contributor
Has the stress of the summer semester made you feel like you’re stretched too thin? Is your work-school-life balance feeling like it’s becoming less and less flexible as time goes on? Have summer midterms got you feeling down, dog?
The Kwantlen Student Association is offering free one-hour yoga classes in the Westerman Garden on the Surrey campus for students looking to relieve some stress and find some peace of mind. The classes are led by Devon Turkington, a KPU Psychiatric Nursing student and former Kwantlen Student Association staff member who was trained in yoga instruction at Semperviva yoga studio in Vancouver.
“As a student, having something like yoga—or whatever it is in your life that helps you relax—is so important,” says Turkington. “We’re always so busy. We’re always so stressed out. We have anxieties about due dates and assignments and grades and applications and acceptances and failures. I think that if you take one hour to turn your brain off and just take that one hour for yourself, not thinking about the future, not thinking about the past, just being in that present moment, it’s very beneficial to your mental health.”
The classes cover the basics of Hatha-style yoga, which, according to Turkington, is the best style for beginners who have little or no experience.
“If you’ve never done yoga before, I would suggest a Hatha class before anything else because it’s a little bit slower pace […] and usually Hatha teachers will spend a lot more time walking you through the postures so that you actually do them properly, because a lot of people get injured doing yoga.”
The class begins with a series of movements to warm up the spine before moving on to basic positions like “downward dog” and the “child’s pose”. After this, the class moves into the more complex poses of the “sun salutation”.
“It’s a very specific routine of movements that gets your heart going. Then I’ll usually go from there to some standing posture flows,” says Turkington. “After we do that we go back down onto the ground and slow our heart rate down, stretch a little bit, and then we move into the best part of the practice, the Shavasna, where you get to chill out for ten minutes and sometimes people fall asleep.”
Shavasna is also known as the “corpse pose” and is essentially where yoga practitioners lie down at the end of the class to focus on their breathing and collect their thoughts.
“There are a couple of benefits [to attending the classes],” says Jay Reedy, VP Student Life for the Kwantlen Student Association, which is hosting the yoga classes in the garden. “One is just the mental clarity that comes from yoga. Another is the serenity to be in the garden and be out in nature and to experience that space without having to stress about anything.”
Reedy says that the KSA might continue to host yoga classes on campus if the events prove to be popular among students.