Mindful yoga: taking students out of everyday stresses

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Mindful yoga incorporates meditation and emotional regulation techniques into customized yoga poses to help students train both their mind and body for the demands of school, social settings and work . The class is located in room 309a in the Student Life Building every Tuesday from 1 to 2 p.m. — free to all UVU students who are taking 10 or more credits, and their dependents.

Yoga has been showcased many times for its ability to reduce stress, create social communities and even help students reach enlightenment. Mindful yoga does all three, while also helping to strengthen students’ ability to focus their concentration on any given task and to regulate their emotions.

Kelsey Redd, a clinical mental health counselor, trained mindfulness teacher and certified yoga instructor, led the class in a series of poses for an hour. Poses ranged in difficulty, from beginner to advanced, providing everyone with a comfortable challenge.

“The purpose of the class is to help reduce stress and help with emotional regulation by leading the students through meditation,” said Redd. “So many students are disconnected from their minds, they come to exercise their bodies but not to meditate. It’s so good for you to bridge the gap.”

This class was the first of its kind here at UVU, leaving students unsure of what to expect.

“I just think about taking a break from studying. I’m hoping this will help me focus on my next few classes,” said Abby Green, senior art student, before engaging in the class.

Research articles, “More Meditation, Less Habituation” and “Mindfulness Practice Reduces Cognitive Rigidity,” show that mindfulness helps to regulate emotions, as claimed by Redd, and also reduces cognitive rigidity — the inability to learn things from a different perspective. Additionally, it raises one’s awareness of environmental changes, regardless of how often one is exposed to that particular setting.

Though relaxing, the class was still a healthy challenge for the students.

“I was not expecting the class to be like that,” said Green.

Students also enjoyed other elements that the class provided.

“It was a good incorporation of relaxation, stretching and meditation,” said Cayla Robinson, a junior modern dance student. “It helped me get out of the world for a moment.”
Kayla Hansen, also a junior modern dance student, felt the same.

“I felt really relaxed. I got a good stretch in, while relaxing,” Hansen said.

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