Each semester, while students are bombarded by stressful schoolwork and difficult classes, the Ascension Meditation and Yoga Association at IUP
(AMYA) holds a weekly meditation/yoga session
is individually-based and has been practiced for thousands of years. Perceived widely as a practice linked to religion, meditation has a place in nearly every religion still practiced today. Meditation acts as a personal stress-reliever and teaches people to broaden their mental capacity. Yoga
, on the other hand, is rooted in India and, therefore, is mostly associated with eastern religions such as Hinduism
. Yoga combines the capabilities of a person's physicality, mentality and spirituality, with a goal of reaching immaculate spiritual balance. Yoga sometimes involves practitioners contorting themselves into difficult positions for long periods of time; however, long-term practitioners typically receive health benefits such as increased flexibility, better posture and greater strength.
At no cost, AMYA invites IUP students to improve their overall well-being by joining the group in the HUB Susquehanna Room, between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. for a spiritually-beneficial session.
On April 11, the group gathered together to practice four distinct forms of yoga. According to the The IUP Student Organizations news
page, attendees engaged in roughly 10 minutes' worth of laughter yoga
, which involves exactly what it insinuates. Laughter yoga requires practitioners to laugh for, literally, no reason while incorporating pranayama
, the yogic art of controlling your breathing.
Next, the group did a physical/hatha yoga
exercise, which seeks to join the mind and body through exercises geared toward improving posture.
"I used to go to hatha yoga classes and they were really good," Lopa Chatterjee (junior, biochemistry major at New Jersey's Rutgers University
) said. "Positions varied from easy, intermediate, to expert. It was a nice workout and it improved my posture."
(Woman performing hatha yoga; courtesy of ABC-of-Yoga.com
Following the physical yoga, AMYA led the group in a five-minute pranayama
exercise which promotes the control of breathing. The session concluded with meditation/dhyana
yoga, which requires practitioners to focus on a solitary object and successfully enter a tranquil state.
AMYA's decision to hold weekly yoga sessions is quite possibly one of the best student-run events to occur on IUP's campus- but why is yoga such an important practice? The answer is quite simple. The western world, largely, seems to be influenced minutely by eastern countries. One of the best exports the east could have given the west, therefore, is a simple method of achieving tranquility amidst the stress constantly placed upon most western nations. It's a common fact that many Americans tend to drown themselves in their careers and other work; for this reason, yoga remains an imperative and highly useful tool that continues to edge its way into the west.