“Yoga for Mental Wellness” starts up in the new semester

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“Yoga for Mental Wellness” starts up in the new semester

Graphics by Olivia Braito.

Graphics by Olivia Braito.

Olivia Braito, Graphics Manager

Graphics by Olivia Braito.

Olivia Braito, Graphics Manager

Olivia Braito, Graphics Manager

Graphics by Olivia Braito.

Maddie Margioni, Contributing Writer

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Dr. Isaac Brandt, a staff psychologist at the University’s Counseling & Student Development Center, was no stranger to yoga before his idea to initiate the “Yoga for Mental Wellness” classes. Brandt, who has been a yoga practitioner for eight years, said, “I took up regular and consistent yoga practice as a means for self-care and self-discipline during graduate school and have often joked that yoga wrote my dissertation!”

During his time on campus, Brandt saw many variations of the “highly busy, highly stressed Bucknell student,” so he came up with the idea to create a yoga class specifically for them.

While yoga classes were already being offered on campus, Brandt thought of the idea to partner with Rec services “to create a specific type of class that was entry-level, focused on themes of mental health, and taught by someone with a welcoming, inclusive presence who could provide an hour class every week in which students could experience the benefits of yoga.” Out of this idea, “Yoga for Mental Wellness” was born.

Brandt found a yoga professional for the class named Laurie Knight, who was already teaching yoga classes at the University. She began practicing yoga 30 years ago as a stress reliever after the birth of her daughter. Knight finds her “Yoga for Mental Wellness” class different from the other classes she teaches as it’s “more restorative” for both herself and the attendees because mental peace is at the heart of the class.

On Monday night, Knight led a “Yoga for Mental Wellness” class, which attendee Aung Pyae Phyo ’21 described as, “very relaxing.” This description aligned with what Knight was hoping for the class. Knight described yoga as, “great for mental health,” and her class in particular as, “trying to incorporate the more mindful things” and help people “become attuned to the present moment.”

In her class, Knight went through many traditional yoga stretches, such as downward dog and child’s pose, but she always kept the focus inward on a calm and peaceful mind.

Student Marlee Warwick ’19 was hesitant at first about going to a yoga class, but she found the meditative process very restoring. “One of my friends suggested we attend a class together, and to my surprise, I enjoyed it! Taking an hour out of your day to just be in the present moment can really work wonders. The instructor is friendly and ensures that no one in the class feels pressured to do everything right the first time,” Warwick said. “It’s easy to look silly when attempting all the poses, but she fosters a no-judgment atmosphere that really helps everyone relax.”

In the final minutes of the class, the instructor turned the lights off and told the attendees to lie in a comfortable position and allow their minds to reflect on what they had been doing in the class. “It helped me forget my problems and it was so relaxing that at the end I wanted to take a nap,” Josie McKnight ’21 said.

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