Planting a Seed of Mindfulness Through Yoga

What if one hour a week could help you improve your mental focus, strengthen your ability to accomplish tasks and help you move through your day more mindfully?  These are some of the things students in Dara Harper’s Yoga Seeds class describe being better able to do since beginning their yoga practice.

This spring, Healthy Monday Syracuse has partnered with the Contemplative Collaborative to offer a free, Monday yoga class with instructor, Dara Harper. The class takes place every Monday from 4:00-5:00pm during the spring semester, while classes are in session, and is held in the Miron Room of Newhouse 1 (Room 303).

We caught up with several students from the class and asked them to tell us a little more about why they come to the class and how it’s made a difference in their lives.  Here’s what they had to say:

Healthy Monday: Tell us what interested you in coming to this class.

 Parvathy, a PhD Candidate in the SU Geography Department was drawn to the class to help her better manage stress and said while she has practiced yoga before, she had not done so consistently.  Since starting the class she’s greatly reduced her anxiety and become more mindful throughout her day.  Third year ESF student, Abbie, was looking for a way to relax and said the class was offered a time convenient for her schedule.  She was even more excited to attend when she discovered the class was free.

Healthy Monday: What influence has this class had on your life?

Abbie states this class has had a huge impact on her life thus far, “My mood has improved dramatically.  Since I’ve been going to the class, I feel like I’ve been more organized and focused on the things I need to get accomplished.  It really is an awesome way to start off the week!”  For a busy college student, the weekly hour long yoga class can offer a respite from the stressors of student life.

Public Diplomacy graduate student, Mary says, “This class gives me a safe space to focus on myself.  I can block out all other distractions and concentrate on how I feel and what my body is doing.  This is the only time I am physically and mentally in a quiet space where nothing else matters for the hour.”

Healthy Monday: What would you tell others about this class or why they may want to check it out for themselves?

 Parvathy, Abbie and Mary all agree that this class is worth checking out and has helped them reduce their stress and increase their mindfulness.  They credit much of their enjoyment of the class to the instructor, Dara.  Abbie says, “I like how Dara helps you to push a little further or readjust the pose.  I’ve never been to a yoga class where the teacher has done that, but it really makes me feel like she cares whether we’re practicing the move the right way.”  Mary agrees, stating, “Dara is awesome because she always asks what people need before each session and incorporates poses to meet those needs.  I don’t think I’ve ever had any kind of fitness instructor explain what you are doing and why in the way that Dara does when she’s teaching.”

Open to all SU students, staff and faculty, the class welcomes participants new to yoga as well as those who practice regularly.  Instructor Dara Harper has nearly two decades of experience teaching yoga and her expertise is in helping students achieve “pose precision”.  She focuses on helping beginners to develop a strong foundation for practice and strengthens the practice for seasoned yoga practitioners.  The class is free and no pre-registration is required but we do suggest arriving a few minutes early as word about the class has spread across campus and its popularity has grown.

Yoga Seeds is co-sponsored by the Contemplative Collaborative and Healthy Monday Syracuse.  The Contemplative Collaborative is an engaged group of faculty, staff and students from across campus with a shared interest in promoting mindfulness and contemplative practices to promote academic excellence and wellbeing of the entire university community.  We at Healthy Monday share similar goals of supporting a culture of wellness across campus.  Known for our Meatless Monday and Monday Mile initiatives, Healthy Monday also supports programs to promote mindfulness and help members of our campus community cultivate positive strategies for managing stress.  We hope you will join us this fall for yoga.  Visit our Events and News page to view the class schedule.