To paint you a quick picture of my elastic limits and vestibular abilities, with my legs straight, I can barely touch my knees let alone my toes, and when I try, I usually fall over. So, when I signed up for the free yoga class that Student Health was sponsoring, I giggled to myself. It was scheduled for this last Friday, right after the sweet release of final tests before this utterly necessary 2 week Winter break. I just imagined being in this yoga class falling all over myself with a goofy euphoric smile on my face.
Friday rolled around and I did about an hour of stretching before I went just to lessen the embarrassment of just how much I could not mold myself into the impending positions. It turned out I didn’t have to be so concerned. The class was run by a friendly, laid-back guy named Ian. He started the class low key and ensured the people attending (although I think I was the only one that needed it) that this was a non-judgemental environment. It was not about doing everything perfectly but doing what you could and being at peace with it.
The class slowly ramped up to more challenging positions with plenty of “checking-in” periods when we assessed our physical status and breathing pattern. Some positions I could hold, most I could modify. However, it was more about becoming a little more aware of your body. We searched our muscles for stress and then we bent, squeezed, and breathed it out. My mind had already been stress free since I was officially on vacation but we all know how we store that stuff up in the most inconvenient muscles so we can never feel completely comfortable. We ended with some relaxing wind-down positions and I left feeling the best I’ve felt since I started my academic program.
The yoga room used for this particular class was small and only held 5 students very snugly. However, when the class continues in 2012, it will be held every 2nd and 4th Wednesday in the Old Library Auditorium from 4-5. There is no registration required and pads and blocks are provided (Here is the flyer with more details). Ian is an approachable and effective yoga guide and the class is perfect for winding down the tightly strung medical or science student, I highly recommend it. Even though I have a hard time thinking I will have an hour to give up on some Wednesdays, it will probably be instrumental in maintaining balance and sanity over the rest of my student career here at OHSU. Since the class, I have added stretching and balance exercises to my aerobic and resistance regimen and have begun to realize how rewarding they are.