‘Simple breathing goes a long way’

Posted on 12 October 2016 by Ian Schrauth

Depression screening event stresses the importance of yoga


By: Kiera Bolden
Staff Writer


On Oct. 6, a quiet gathering took place on the Meramec campus comprised of two students, three faculty members and a yogi demonstrating breathing exercises. At 2:40 p.m. inside BA 105, an open room with a row of a dozen chairs faced a projector screen.

A long table was decorated with stacks of brightly colored flyers detailing resources for various mental illnesses, another was covered in enough snacks and drinks for 40 mouths. A partition allowed for the depression screening to be performed in relative privacy.signs

Despite the clinical nature of the event, the atmosphere is warm and unassuming. As the event is about to begin I sit in the back row and strike up a conversation with Claire Martin, a student attendance specialist, who directs me to psychology professor Jason Duchinsky.

When asked about the benefits of yoga, Jason Duchinsky from the Counseling Department stressed the importance of any physical activity, and reiterated that yoga, in particular, “makes it easier for us to fall asleep and stay asleep.” He said that college students, who are often faced with significant change and development, need remedies for anxiety, as the toll of financial and personal stress can be overwhelming.

Fifteen minutes later, guest speaker and yoga instructor of four years, Madeline Gilje, arrived wearing a bright smile and a tank top that read “But First, Yoga.”

Her advice for college students is simply to take advantage of school resources.

“The good thing about living in our current time is that we have the Internet and everything is available,” Gilje said. “If you have minutes a day to Google simple meditation activities… some simple breathing, I think that really goes a long way.”

Gilje’s presentation detailed the principles of yoga, upon which thousands of years of tradition rests. Its foundation is meditation; the movements and poses such as downward dog, and consequently, the Lulu Lemon era of yoga came about, said Gilje. She recited mantras in sanskrit and requested that her audience mimic her breathing techniques.

“You know, it used to be that in the 70s, you could work four hours a day at a part-time job to pay for college and now it’s 22 hours a day… which obviously, nobody can do,” Gilje said. “There’s so much in our lives that we’re not present with… It’s very easy to get overwhelmed.”



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