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Williams College Center for Yoga and Contemplative Studies - Yoga classes open and available to all - Space for students to explore and practice mindfulness - Space for students to gather and hold mindfulness, meditation, and peer led yoga classes


SHORT TERM PROBLEMS FOR STUDENTS

• 6 CLASSES OFFERED TO STUDENTS – with approximately 2100 Students. No mornings, no weekends, and no drop-ins • There are only 4 yoga classes offered to all Williams students IF they are signed up to take a PE class and only offered during weekday afternoons. If students drop-in to a PE class they have taken it beforehand with Mary and the classes tend to become overcrowded, not allowing as much attention to be paid to individual students signed up for the class and receiving PE credits. • The only two drop-in classes are offered to athletes. Both classes are 45pm making it difficult for athletes in season to participate. In addition, students who do not participate in sports tend to be intimidated to attend a class for “athletes” and may not try yoga. As a result, drop-in yoga classes have appeal to a very limited student population. • No storage space for students to leave mats if they want to bring their own mat.


SHORT TERM PROBLEMS FOR WELLNESS CLASSES IN GENERAL • For wellness classes offered to faculty and staff, there is no storage space for individuals to leave mats between classes and there is no equipment for faculty/staff and community use. • Faculty/staff and community members do not have access to yoga mats, blocks, straps, or bolsters that would be helpful, especially in the gentler yoga classes.


LONG TERM PROBLEMS TO ADDRESS • There is no real variation in the type of yoga class offered to college students. There is a yoga I and II that builds off of yoga I, but there are no restorative, gentle, yin yoga, or yoga nidra classes that have also been shown to help individuals with stress, relaxation, insomnia, and mental wellbeing. In addition there are no power vinyasa or more intensive flow classes that may appeal to students desiring the physical intensity in addition to the mindfulness component that is always such a large part of yoga. • Yoga is offered through different departments making budgeting difficult. There is no designated space for students part of a yoga club or other organization to teach peer led meditation or yoga classes. • There is no quiet or private designated space specifically for individuals with traumatic brain injury or certain physical or psychological conditions that might warrant a student to practice in a small group or privately.


Spring Yoga Schedule in Greylock


SHORT TERM SOLUTIONS • Add drop-in classes available to students particularly early morning classes, perhaps 7:30-8:30am depending on class schedule. • Add a weekend drop-in all levels class, perhaps Sunday morning or Sunday evening to wind down from the weekend. • Encourage students interested in yoga and who have taught yoga to teach peers and work with students to devise a peer led yoga class schedule. • Offer more mindfulness classes that include guided meditation, body scan, lovingkindness meditation, breathing mindfulness exercises, and other exercises that can be used to foster group bonding such as for athletic teams, different student organizations or clubs, and different housing entries especially for incoming freshmen. • Offer meditations, yoga practices, and mindfulness exercises that students can access online and practice at their own leisure. (College can provide free access to download some of the more popular and highly rated apps and in the long term the college can collaborate to develop their own exercises to download).


LONG TERM SOLUTIONS

• Make yoga its own department. It may be appealing to many to donate or raise money for a yoga and contemplative practice center dedicated to providing classes and services that have been show to improve mental and physical wellbeing for all Williams students. Funds could be raised and allocated specifically to paying yoga instructors, providing equipment, and offering different retreats, workshops, specialized visitors, and studies, along with eventually providing a central space for yoga/contemplative exercises. • Offer online specific yoga and mindfulness exercises for different sports teams that specify the exercises different muscle groups for strengthening and stretching related to specific sports and encourage team captains and coaches to incorporate these exercises at the beginning or end of practice. (The goal would be to record these exercises in the designated yoga center not during class times and make them available to individuals).


LONG TERM SOLUTIONS CONTINUED • Provide a designated yoga/mindfulness/contemplative practice space to offer yoga and/or other mindfulness exercises that specifically are designed for populations such as: • • • •

Students with eating disorders Depression, anxiety disorders Insomnia Trauma-based yoga

• The space can also be used to train college students to go into schools in the community through CLIA


Benefits of Yoga Especially for Young Adults • Yoga and mindfulness practices provide lifelong skills for stress reduction • Mindfulness enhances neurological processes and “executive function,” or the ability to organize tasks, manage time, set priorities, and make decisions. The young adults’ rational part of the brain and decision-making part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, are not fully developed until 25! It is important to give students extra tools to make them more mindful, rational, and able to cope with life stressors. • Yoga is non-competitive – college students need a reprieve from the competition in academics and athletics. • Yoga and mindfulness teach acceptance of oneself and self-compassion. • Yoga has been used along with psychotherapy to improve mental health and treat psychiatric disorders such as depression, PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, ADHD, as well as eating disorders and conditions such as insomnia or poor sleep patterns through promoting bodily and self-awareness. • Yoga has been shown to be beneficial for individuals with traumatic brain injury. • Yoga has been shown to be beneficial in helping individuals with a trauma history to feel safe and secure in their body and their surroundings. There is a trauma based yoga that highlights different exercises including breathing exercises as well as positional differences in the setup of the studio for individuals coping with trauma.


Benefits of Yoga Continued: • Teaches athletes to become better attuned to their body and helps to prevent injuries • Teaches skills to cope with frustration/anger/despair or just “letting go” of a bad day or experience • Teaches skills that help students to self-soothe in constructive ways as oppose to turning to more self-destructive patterns such as drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, self-harm • Helps victims of trauma to find a safe space while on their mat and then transcending their experience on their mat into their lives using visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, and breathing techniques that are part of a trauma-based yoga and mindfulness practice • Peers teaching other peers helps students to feel empowered, helps their confidence, and mood.


Competition: Other colleges/universities offer much more • Current smaller college offerings - SEE: http://www.masters-in-psychology.net/30-colleges-leading-theway-in-meditation-for-mental-health/ • Amherst College – offers mental health apps that are downloadable to iphone and Android devices. Wide range. https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/health-safety-wellness/counseling/mental-healthapps • • • • •

Offers different yoga classes, barre classes, and pilates classes all drop-in to students In the fall offered wellness workshops on Wednesday afternoons Offers mindful meditation drop-in classes Offers a peer support training (peer led events) Offers services through University of Mass including MBSR (Jon Kabat-Zinn) and mindfulness trainings

• Middlebury College

• Offers various free classes to students weekly through the yoga club including some student-led classes. Most classes are in the evenings before dinner as well as Saturdays and Sundays. Sunday offers a spin/yoga combination (this is a new popular trend – Zen Revolution in Manchester, Reps in Boston, etc) – classes are drop-in as well. • Two other yoga class options are $5 drop-in. Integrative Yoga as well as slow-flow yoga. • Mats and props are available • 3 different meditation groups – including one peer led group.

• Bates College

• Bates Yoga Kula – offers student led classes – there is a large yoga community that also sponsors various workshops.


Other University/Colleges Offerings Continued: • Bowdoin College • Wellness classes are offered to students as well as the faculty and staff on a drop-in basis. • Seminars, workshops, and retreats are offered evenings and weekdays to educate students about mind/body/spirit-oriented practices that include info on acupuncture, massage, Chinese medicine, and integrative medicine approaches. • Mindfulness Over Matter student organization that offers many different mindfulness and meditation classes throughout the week including in the evenings and on weekends with a lot of emphasis on loving-kindness meditations as well as a separate meditation class for anyone who identifies themselves as a female. • Bowdoin Yoga Club that empowers students to offer yoga classes. • Dartmouth College • Drop-in yoga for stress relief is offered weekly 4-5pm with mats available • Offers 4 week courses (4 - 75 minutes sessions) of Koru Mindfulness – teaches different forms of meditations and relaxation techniques including breathing, body scan, walking meditations, guided meditations, eating meditation, and labeling thoughts meditation • In a randomized controlled trial, college students who went through Koru reported feeling more calm, more mindful, more rested, and had less self-judgment than students who did not go through the Koru program. • Offers stress less workshops to groups, classes, a group of friends of 10 or more, organizations, dorms, etc. Can choose to have stress less with mindfulness or stress less with yoga and mindfulness. Students can request this program with two weeks notice of when they want to do the program. • Offers a Kripalu Yoga Retreat over spring break – offers partial or full scholarships for this 3 night, 4 day retreat. • Offers downloadable free apps off of their website. • Swarthmore College • 2014 – Built the Matchbox – 21,000 square foot space for recreation and wellness needs offering space for a wellness lounge, yoga, and pilates all within the same building as the fitness center.


Other University/Colleges Offerings Continued: • Princeton University – • February 2017 – yoga fund established through alumni providing free and accessible yoga to students. Offers yoga masters lecture series with free workshops. All yoga is offered in the Dillon Gym. Offers special yoga during intersession everyday 5:15-6:15YOGA; The Whole Practice - 5 Days of Mindful, Holistic Yoga Practices TO RELAX, RENEW, RECHARGE During Intersession. Mon thru Fri, 5:15pm-6:15pm each day. • Yoga consultants available for campus recreation. • Offers multiple mind-body programs aside from yoga and tai chi – Note that all of these drop-in programs are offered to students, faculty, and staff. • Explore within – meditation and mindfulness workshop series – series of 4 workshops offered over a semester. • Mindfulness @ MolBio – mindfulness offered during lunch time 5 times during semester – held in the science lab – explore how practice of mindful meditation can support efforts in work and life. • Womens’ Meditation Series • Also provided on their website are audio guides – designed to lower levels of stress, ease muscle tension, calm the mind and direct the focus. These are available through the website any time to students and are made by Princeton University. • Offers Self-Compassion Guided Meditations and Exercises available online at any time as well as a free online course called the Science of Happiness. • Lists several other self-care phone apps as resources on their website. • Community meditation • Princeton Buddhist Meditation Group – held daily 4:30-5


Williams College HR Wellness Class

PE yoga class outside


Crowded PE class offered over winter study

Students enjoying yoga outside


Williams students through CLIA teaching yoga at the Williamstown Elementary School


The Power of Yoga • Mary Edgerton does a wonderful job teaching so many students. Her classes are crowded and students rave about their experience with her either as a new yogi or returning/advanced yogi. Mary has a passion for teaching students and is dedicated to their physical and mental well being. Together Mary Edgerton and Amy Sosne (class of 2005 and college athlete) believe that listening to the students and delivering more yoga classes will improve both athletic performance, mental health well-being, and college experience while also promoting and teaching a healthy life skill students will have beyond Williams.


Student Testimonials of Mary Edgerton’s Classes – Winter Study Yoga I • “Thanks so much for the great class!! Yoga was always the highlight of my day, and it was great to have a dedicated time and space to relax and destress. Definitely going to be doing more yoga outside of class too!” • “I loved the class and will continue doing yoga. Ms. Edgerton was very kind and eager to help us improve our poses.” • “I thought Mary did a great job of introducing various yoga poses in such few classes. I wish she was able to give feedback on poses, but because class is so large, she couldn't get to everyone, and I think she did a great job of stopping the class as a whole to demonstrate what poses should look like.” • “I thoroughly enjoyed the course, and found the explanations and demonstrations given extremely helpful. This was a wonderful way to end my days during winter study, and was a class I looked forward to. Thanks for being such an excellent instructor.”


Student Testimonials of Mary Edgerton’s Classes – Fall Semester Yoga I

• “Really enjoyed the class. Thank you so much!” • “As someone with little yoga experience previously, this class made me really enjoy yoga. As the quarter progressed, I saw myself making improvements and developing. I look forward to taking it again.” • “After taking this class during the first quarter, I wanted to take the second level, but it conflicted with my schedule, so I took the first level again. Even so, I didn't feel like I repeating myself because she continued to introduce new poses or variations of poses that I seen before. This quarter, it became even more clear to me that the instructor really cared the students taking the class. The structure of the course was that of a more rigorous practice on Mondays and a more relaxed practice on Thursdays, but at the beginning of each class she would check in with us to assess our energy level and adjust this as needed. She regularly checked in with me after class to see how I was doing and answered any questions I had about what we'd done in class and even about poses that weren't introduced until the second level. She was mindful of skill level and always gave lots of variations to increase/decrease challenge.”


Student Testimonials of Mary Edgerton’s Classes – Fall Semester Yoga I • “Love your yoga classes! Hope to take again soon!” • “Thank you Mary for another awesome semester!” • “I truly loved this class so much as it allowed me to ground myself and take some time to unwind and intentionally breathe throughout my busy weeks. Thank you for being so patient and so kind. Will take your class again!” • “Thank you!”


Student Testimonials of Mary Edgerton’s Classes – Spring Semester Yoga II - “I greatly appreciated yoga this quarter. It always serves as a mental break from school and I enjoyed all the new challenges/positions we learned.” - “Thank you so much Mary! I had never done yoga before coming to Williams but you have made it an indespensible part of my week. Your patience and attention to our energy level as well as corrections when needed are much appreciated. I really enjoyed the quote you read out earlier this week as well before the end of class, it complemented the practice very well and made me think.” - “Loved the class thank you!!” - “Thank you for the attentiveness and gentleness with which you teach your course. You help cultivate a productive yet calm environment.” - “You were very understanding of our busy lives and schedules. I liked the way you encouraged us to adapt our practice however we saw fit. You led dynamic classes with enough repetition to feel like I was learning and improving, yet maintained enough diversity that I never felt bored.” - “This course provided much solace and peace for me throughout the quarter. Thank you!”


References:

• Bahl, S., Milne, G.R., Ross, S.M., & Chan, K. (2013). A Long-Term Solution for Mindless Eating by College Students. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 32 (2), 173-184. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/43305781. • Bellhouse, Brenna. (2010). Yoga for mind, body, soul, and school. Physical & Health Education Journal 76 (2), 41-42. Retrieved from ProQuest document link. • Butzer, Bethany; Bury, Denise; Telles, Shirley; Khalsa, Sat Bir S. (2016). Implementing yoga within the school curriculum: a scientific rationale for improving social emotional learning and positive student outcomes. Journal of Children's Services 11(1), 324. Retrieved from ProQuest document link. • Chou; Chien-Chih; Chung-Ju & Huang. (2017). Effects of an 8-week yoga program on sustained attention and discrimination function in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Peer Journal. Retrieved from Proquest document link. • Ferreira-Vorkapic, C., Feitoza, J.M, Marchioro, M., Simoes, J., Kozasa, E., & Telles, S. (2015). Are there benefits from teaching yoga at schools? A systematic review of randomized control trials of yoga-based interventions. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Retrieved from ProQuest document link. • Fort, A.O. (2013). Contemplative Studies and the Liberal Arts. University of Hawaii’s Press, 33, 23-32. • Gordon, Leslie. A. (2015). Stressed Out: How to Avoid Burnout and Debilitating Anxiety. ABA Journal, 101, (7), 58-63. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/24806565. • Haynes, D.J., Irvine, K., & Bridges, M. (2013). The Efficacy of Teaching Mindfulness Practices to College Students. BuddhistChristian Studies, 33, 63-82. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/43185109. • Rasmussen, Martin & Laumann, Karin. (2013). The academic and psychological benefits of exercise in healthy children and adolescents. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 28(3), 945-962. • Schrank, S. (2014). American Yoga: The shaping of the modern body culture in the United States [Review of AMERICAN VEDA: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation—How Indian Spirituality Changed the West by Philip Goldberg; THE GREAT OOM: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America by Robert Love; HELL-BENT: Obsession, Pain, and the Search for Something Like Transcendence in Competitive Yoga by Benjamin Lorr; THE SCIENCE OF YOGA: The Risks and the Rewards by William J. Broad; THE SUBTLE BODY: The Story of Yoga in America by Stefanie Syman; THEOS BERNARD, THE WHITE LAMA: Tibet, Yoga, and American Religious Life by Paul G. Hackett; YOGA BODY: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice by Mark Singleton]. American Studies 53(1), 169-181. • Simple, Randye J.; Droutman, Vita & Brittany, Ann Reid. (2017). Mindfulness Goes to School: Things Learned (So Far) From Research and Real-World Experiences. Psychology Sch. 54(1), 29-52.

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Williams College Center for Yoga and Contemplative Studies  

Williams College Center for Yoga and Contemplative Studies  

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