For a new section in our mag, we’ve set out to showcase the wonderful clubs that spread across our campuses. There is a whole range of groups that enhance community and present opportunities for students, whether it be for meeting new people, using skills that can be helpful in the future, or simply to enjoy a new activity. For our first club we’ve chosen to feature The Yoga Society: where holistic health and mental well-being is everything.
As we all know, uni isn’t all sunflowers and rainbows. We can all probably say that at some point we’ve felt stressed, anxious, and worried about our grades or future. Here to not necessarily save us, but definitely help ease the strain, is the club that prides itself on mindfulness, open-mindedness and inclusivity.
The Yoga Society provides community classes for students of all levels and abilities. Drawing on traditional yogic philosophy and scientific research, the team strives to help encourage students to study and live mindfully, while providing ways to approach high pressure situations calmly.
Sophie Majeric, this year’s president, says The Yoga Society aims to encourage engagement among UniSA students.
“Like-minded students are able to come together to participate in free sessions, creating a yoga community within UniSA,” says Sophie.
“We promote wellness and well-being through the practice of yoga. It relieves stress, which is very important for students who are constantly under pressure from approaching due dates or exams.”
The benefits of yoga seem to be ongoing. Since 1998, there have been are over 40 different studies demonstrating the various advantages of yoga. These studies are published in reputable peer reviewed journals such as Journal of American Medical Association, Journal of Pain Symptom Management, and European Journal of Cancer Care, just to name a few.
Across these studies, experts have found a large number of ways where life can be improved from practicing yoga. It has the power to:
- Decrease stress
- Relieve anxiety
- Reduce inflammation
- Improve heart health
- Improve overall quality of life
- Fight depression
- Reduce chronic pain
- Promote sleep quality
- Improve flexibility and balance
- Improve breathing
- Relieve migraines
- Promotes healthy eating habits
- Increase strength
Yoga instructor, Vanessa Kerison, has practiced yoga for over 20 years. In her experience she has combined her love of yoga with teaching, and she is grateful to have met such a diverse range of students at UniSA.
“I believe everyone is drawn to yoga for their own reasons – wanting to have some physical exercise, wanting to strengthen their muscles and core, wanting to learn to mediate, wanting to learn how to relax. We’re all on our own yoga journey,” says Vanessa.
Vanessa’s involvement with the university has been overwhelmingly positive, with the students being extremely receptive and open to all aspects of yoga.
“It’s about taking the time to reside within yourself and find calmness, solitude and peace. If I can encourage this for the uni students, their beliefs about themselves, their expectations and interactions with other students, teachers, friends and broader community, can all benefit from calmer and peaceful centred individuals.”
Sophie says the opportunity the university provides for clubs is excellent. USASA provides grant money, which they use to pay Vanessa, and enables students to attend for free. Her advice to students wanting to start their own club is to definitely pitch it to USASA, because they will be very responsive in support and funding.
Classes run twice a week at City East, City West and Magill. They’re 50 minutes, with 10 minutes of mindful relaxation (savasana and meditation) at the end. The style they follow is Hatha Vinyasa.
If you want to show your support to The Yoga Society, follow them on Facebook and subscribe to their USASA page. You can find their yoga times on their website, and they encourage students to wear loose clothes or active wear. They provide the mats.
Vanessa says students should join The Yoga Society not only for the benefits listed above, but also to meet a diverse range of university students. It’s also an opportunity to implement your skills learnt in your degree if you decide to join the committee.
“Breath. Believe. Release. Receive.”
If you want to start your own club, get in touch with USASA.
Words by Georgia Lake