On my campus tour, I remember walking around Lawrence, including the all-you-can-eat buffet, and thinking, “Wow, this is how the freshman fifteen happens.”
As an incoming freshman, I used to be overly concerned with worries such as gaining weight, having a social life and getting perfect grades. These are all legitimate and valid things to care about, but something was missing.
It took a few semesters of college for me to realize that the state of my internal world impacts every aspect of my being. I would never be able to reach a state of happiness if I did not actively practice self-care.
Self-care can present itself in many ways: Netflix after a long day, taking nightly walks, listening to music in the car, daily journaling and so on. But for me, I found the practices of yoga and meditation to be my safe haven—a time where I can pause from the stress of daily life and bring my attention inwards.
Fortunately, there are different resources for meditation and yoga on campus:
Student Recreation Center
There is yoga offered for all levels, at various times during the week, at the Student Rec Center. Check with the RAM Fitness schedule posted online to see which classes fit in your schedule. Also, if you do not feel like lugging your yoga mat around campus, you can borrow one directly from the Rec Center. The best part of all? You can pick up a fresh smoothie on your way out.
Contemplative Studies Center
In the Fall of 2016, West Chester University’s campus was blessed with a building for daily meditation and yoga sessions. Located on Church St., this center is perfect for anyone who is new to meditation or yoga. In addition, it is available for someone interested in experimenting with different styles of yoga with smaller class sizes. Beyond daily class sessions every Monday through Thursday, there are drop-in hours for anyone who wants to stop by and practice yoga on their own time.
Contemplative Studies Minor
This is a stress-free minor that is great if you have leftover credits that you hate to see go to waste. The curriculum of this study explores topics such as mind/body health, alternative medicine, positive psychology and stress management. If simply practicing these things isn’t quite enough for you, and you’d like to officially study them, this is the minor for you.
Visit https://www.wcupa.edu/healthsciences/ContemplativeStudies/minor.aspx to learn more about what the minor has to offer and how to declare it.
Yoga Teacher Training (YTT)
Ever dreamed of becoming a yoga teacher? West Chester University’s Yoga Teacher Training allows full-time students to become certified on campus. The program consists of enrolling in different levels of yoga offered as three credit courses, studying yoga philosophy and teaching small classes on campus to gain experience. To learn more information about the details of this program, visit https://www.wcupa.edu/healthsciences/kinesiology/yogaTeacherTraining.aspx.
College comes in waves; there will be high points and low points, and the best advice I could give would be to figure out how to stay balanced and grounded no matter what is happening all around you. As mindfulness philosopher Jon Kabat-Zinn states, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”
Emily Brady is a third-year student majoring in nursing with a minor in contemplative studies. She can be reached at EB829460@wcupa.edu.