Taking a breather


With midterm season in full swing, students turn to yoga and meditation to relax

Kristen McEwen
News Writer

The middle of the semester is quickly approaching with essays and midterms piling up. For some students, these are completed one at a time; focusing on one thing and then another, like a game of whac-a-mole.

The University provides services for students to help them cope with the stress when assignments and midterms begin to corner them in. From counselling to homework help, these student support services are provided free of charge to students on campus.

Despite these free services, some students are taking a different route to manage the stresses that come with gaining higher education.     

Shayna Stock is the artist in residence for the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour. She’s a writer, poet, and actively schedules events for the Creative City Centre. She also regularly attends yoga classes.

Stock said she first attended a yoga class with her aunt five years ago. She’s been attending classes ever since.

“It makes my body feel very strong,” she said. “Just the fact that it makes me feel more aware … it kind of creates this connection between mind and body … the practice of focusing for a period of time on your body and the movement of it and help it connect with the breath.”

Stock said she enjoys the effect yoga has on her body and her ability to focus. 

“I really like how that awareness of my body translates in to the rest of my day to day life,” she said. “I’m a lot more focused on the day after I’ve done yoga in the morning.”

As for dealing with stress, Stock said yoga isn’t an end all cure but can become a tool.

“I don’t know if it relieves stress, but it does leave me feeling a lot better at dealing with it,” she said. “I think stress is a normal part of life, but when it becomes a problem is when we don’t have the tools to work with us and serve us and I think yoga is a really great tool for that.”

“I really like how that awareness of my body translates in to the rest of my day to day life…I’m a lot more focused on the day after I’ve done yoga in the morning.” – Shayna Stock

Meditation is also an option that some students turn to as another tool to handle stress.

Chris Gilboy from Regina Insight Meditation Community said that many students have joined the group.

As a teacher and one of the founders of the Insight Meditation community in Regina, Gilboy warns that meditation is not for everyone. He said he has been practicing it for close to 20 years and he finds benefits from it, but not everyone does.

“Other people [who regularly practice meditation] also know that it’s been life changing for them,” Gilboy said. “I think it’s one of those things that if you dip your toes into it and think it’s transforming, that is delusional.”

Insight meditation is an investigation of the mind and body processes. The meditation allows a person to open their mind and deal with the good and bad experiences with less fear and more compassion.

Gilboy said the mindfulness learned from meditation can be used as a stress reduction technique. However, insight meditation is more of a spiritual path.

“It uses a mixture of mindfulness and concentration, and a development of wisdom,” he said.

The Regina Insight Meditation Community holds weekly drop in sessions for anyone wanting to experience the benefits for themselves.

Gilboy highly suggests that people, or students, starting any form of meditation, begin with an instructor. A guided journey with an instructor who knows what they are doing will bring the most results for those beginning meditation.

“It’s really encouraging that there are more young people interested in it,” he said. “At least it’s encouraging to me because the younger you do it, the more benefit you have [from meditation] – the longer time you have – rather than if you start in your 40s or 50s.”

Photo by Arthur Ward

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