With the fall semester in full swing, many SAIT students may be starting to feel the pressure of accumulated assignments, and no student is immune to these stresses. Finding balance is key, and The Weal has gotten the details on three calming activities that will have you chanting ‘Om’ in no time.
Derived from the martial art Tai Chi Chuan, Tai Chi is a system of fluidic movements within a ‘set.’ The Tai Chi set is comprised of 108 moves, with each move being performed in a slow, controlled, movement while ensuring that your body is in constant motion.
Grand Master Cai preaches a simplistic approach to Tai Chi, “The body can only do what the mind tells it, without a clear mind the body wavers”
Many of the moves are associated with animals and nature, and within each set, controlled breathing is emphasized to create an almost meditative state. Tai Chi is a popular form of stress relief as it is low-impact, requires no equipment and can be performed indoors or out.
If you’re in the market for a clear mind with a quicker approach, accredited volunteers from the Taoist Tai Chi Society’s main centre on 24th Street S.W teach Tai Chi practitioners the internal art of Tai Chi with the mantra of technique over speed. Grand Master Cai teaches students who range in age from 50 to under 16.
With such a broad demographic, it can be said that this form of stress relief can be adapted to any age and lifestyle. “Anyone can learn Tai Chi; it is the basis of inner peace”
Arguably the most popular form of meditative practices, yoga is practiced by millions worldwide. Yoga focuses on the mind as well as on the body. Many studios create a Zen atmosphere where outside distractions are left at the door to ensure that practitioners can clear their minds.
Yoga Instructor Lauren Gothe has been teaching Yoga for over 3 years and considers Yoga the best stress reliever in her life, “It is physical and refreshing, no matter my current situation, (stressed, tired, sick) I have always felt better after a Yoga session”
Yoga emphasizes deep stretches and static poses related to nature. Instructors create a peaceful environment for their practitioners, and with calming instruction, they encourage patrons to move at their own pace to ensure each individual gets the most out of their stress-free experience. “Most people use yoga as a way to stay toned but in reality, the physical side of yoga was developed as a moving meditation”
Yoga requires little to no equipment and many studios such as Yoga Passage offer a drop-in class on Sundays that are paid by donations. SAIT also offers a variety of drop-in yoga classes for students as a way to de-stress on-campus: Tuesdays at 5:00pm and Thursdays at 4:45pm in V118b and Saturdays at 9:00am in the fitness studio for $12 per class.
Meditation is the simplest of all stress relievers mentioned. It involves clearing your mind and reverting it to an almost sleep-like state. The practice of meditation requires one to be able to drown out outside influences and to calm one’s mind into a state akin to a self-imposed trance. Both Tai Chi and Yoga focus on mediation within their exercises. The art of meditating requires patience wherein practitioners maintain a static pose – usually while seated on a stable floor. Crucial to the meditative state are the acts of concentrating on a clear mind and controlled breathing. Meditation is a great option for students as it has zero cost and can be done in as short a time span as a few minutes per day, and the only requirement is some patience on the behalf of the stressed student.
The key element in meditation is knowing that distractions will occur and mentally overcoming such distractions while staying in a calm state.
Whether you have a day devoted to stress relief or just a few minutes, students’ minds and bodies can benefit greatly from calming activities.