Cathy, one of our Student Counsellors tell us more about ‘Uni Om’ and the benefits for students…
Have you heard of Office Yoga? It really is a ‘thing’. If I were to ask you to think about yoga, chances are, you’re making an image of someone dressed in Lycra doing yoga on a yoga mat, maybe even on a beach, bending into some awe-inspiring contortion. Well, this is the popular image in media. However, yoga is so much more.
Over the last few years, I’ve been fascinated by the idea of building yoga into our everyday lives. Particularly, on the benefits it has physically, mentally and emotionally when we take yogic concepts into the ‘normal’ stuff that we do. So much so, I’ve developed a workshop based on applying yogic principles to daily work and called it ‘Office Om’. Over the past year, I’ve reshaped this into a workshop for students called ‘Uni Om’. This has had great feedback so far, with participants saying it has helped them feel more focussed and relaxed.
Sound good? Our next Uni Om workshop is running on Thursday May 26th at 10am and if you’re interested follow the link to book your place.
Here are some ideas from the workshops that you can try:
- Awareness – often, if we’re feeling stressed, our minds can wander into the past, where we can feel upset about things that happened, or the future, where we might feel upset about things that haven’t yet happened. Mindfulness is a way to help train our minds to focus on the present moment. Whether you have a formal mindfulness practice or have never heard of it, taking a mindful moment every now and then when we’re studying can help focus. You can try a two minute guided mindfulness-based practice from the Calm website.
- Movement – been sitting down for ages? Try having a stretch! Yoga means ‘union’ of mind, body and breath, so if you’re bringing your mind to your body and coordinating your breath with your movement, you are practicing yoga. How does your body feel like it needs to move? Can you stand up and take a big stretch as you breathe in then relax as you breathe out. Repeat as desired. Notice how you are feeling.
- Breathing – when we’re stressed our breath can often get shallower. By breathing more deeply we activate the parasympathetic nervous system which helps our bodies and minds relax. Try taking a few slow deep breaths and see if it changes how you feel. Sit (or stand) where you feel safe and comfortable and place your hands on your belly. Try expanding your belly as you breathe in and contracting it as you breathe out. Try taking six or more deep breaths in this way. How are you feeling now?
- Relaxation – At the end of a yoga class, there is a period of relaxation whilst in ‘shavasana’ (corpse pose – lying flat on your back on the floor]. Our bodies and minds are said to need periods of relaxation to recuperate. You might choose to lie down and relax at points during the day. However, there are other ways to relax too! One way, is to close your eyes and take some mindful breaths in and out whilst counting – try and count 3 as you breathe in and 3 as you breathe out. If this feels okay, you could consider lengthening to a count of 4 or even 5. Do this for as long as you want, then release the count and let your body breathe just as it wants to breathe. How are you feeling now?
- Finding ways to incorporate relaxation into everyday life can be beneficial. What are your favourite healthy ways to relax?
Here’s some links to some more office yoga ideas:
Further support for stress can be found from our Counselling, Health and Wellbeing service.
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Contact us at Counselling Health & Wellbeing for further support
If you are experiencing any kind of emotional distress, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. The Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service, we can offer support to anybody experiencing any sort of difficulty, however big or small.
Bookable appointments are available via our online referral questionnaire, in which our friendly, approachable staff can offer you non-judgemental support in a safe and confidential space. We also offer a daily Wellbeing Walk-In Service Monday–Friday 3 – 3.45pm and Wednesday mornings 9.30 – 10.15am at the Student Support Centre at 50 Park Place. We also hold a walk-in services at Student Support Centre in the Heath on Wednesday afternoons 3 – 3.45pm.
Watch our video and see for yourself that we have friendly and approachable staff. Staff who are able to listen to you non-judgmentally, in a safe and confidential space.
If you are worried that you are experiencing physical symptoms that may be affecting your health, we strongly advise you to make a GP appointment to discuss this. If you do not already have a GP, please contact NHS Wales on 0845 46 47 or check out their website to view all of your GP options.
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Wishing you some peaceful moments in your studies.
Counselling, Health & Wellbeing Team
Your Student Life, Supported.
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