De-stress for wellness

Every Sunday until the end of the semester, UAA’s On-Campus Living Community will be hosting Ohm Campus Living yoga classes. The classes are offered with the residential community in mind, but are open to all students, staff and faculty as well.

Ohm Campus Living yoga classes are offered every Sunday in the Gorsuch Commons. Photo credit: April Rochford

April Rochford, UAA alumna, instructs the two yoga classes in the Gorsuch Commons every Sunday. Rochford has been practicing yoga for around 15 years, and two as a certified instructor.

For Rochford, yoga has been a way to improve her mental health and wellness. As an instructor, she wishes to share those benefits with others as a form of stress management.

“There is definitely a stress relieving aspect of yoga. I remember when I was a student, my brain was so busy. Being able to focus on one thing at a time is something we train ourselves to do with yoga,” Rochford said.

Kerry Davis, office manager for Residence Life and adviser of the Wellness Cluster, is also a registered yoga instructor, and teaches classes regularly outside of UAA. She launched Ohm Campus Living as a way to support students during their time here at UAA, and to bring some of yoga’s wellness practices to the university.

“I have been interested in bringing more mindfulness-based practices into Student Affairs to benefit students, staff and faculty for several years,” Davis said. “I found myself incorporating many of my own practices into the workplace in terms of seated posture, connecting with breath and movement in long meetings and conferences.”

The first class on Sundays, intro to yoga, is a gentle yoga class that focuses on a wide variety of simple moves to educate students on the practice. The slightly more difficult restorative yoga class takes place right after, and acts as a way to relieve the tension and stress of being a student.

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Bethany Mabry, senior elementary education major, is a student facilitator for the yoga classes. Mabry initially began practicing yoga in high school for flexibility and physical health. As she continued throughout college, Mabry said yoga became a source of peace and revitalization for her.

“It is an opportunity to focus on myself in that moment and not worry about everything else going on in my life,” Mabry said. “These classes offer me the opportunity to start my week on a positive note, and motivate me to be the best that I can be.”

No experience is needed to attend the yoga classes, and it can be beneficial for those who are experienced, as well.

“The thing with yoga is that even yogis that are really advanced, and have been in the practice for a long time can go into a beginner class and still get something out of it,” Rochford said.

UAA alumna April Rochford demonstrates a relaxed bound angle pose. By using supports such as bolsters and belts, yoga is an accessible form of relaxation for all. Photo credit: April Rochford

The yoga classes are also beneficial to students financially. Rochford said people pay hundreds of dollars a month to have access to this type of yoga and materials, which are offered free to students. Along with Rochford and Davis, Mabry encourages all students and staff alike to take advantage of this opportunity.

“Yoga can be intimidating, but don’t let your lack of experience keep you from taking advantage of these classes,” Mabry said. “The benefits of yoga are overwhelming, don’t miss out on a chance to take care of your mind, body and spirit.”

To participate in the classes, you must be 18 years or older, and complete a physical activity waiver. No prior experience is needed, and yoga mats and props are provided.

The intro to yoga class takes place every Sunday from 2 to 3:15 p.m. The restorative class begins shortly after from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. Both classes are located in the Gorsuch Commons, Room 106.