SHU inspires junior to become a yoga instructor
With the start of the new semester, meditation techniques, like yoga, could become essential in helping to maintain good mental and physical health.
Yoga has enchanted junior Sarah Nocito since she was eight years old. When she first discovered the practice, she was amazed the most by the instructor who could maintain a headstand at eight months pregnant. That lasting impression has since inspired her to become a certified yoga teacher in order to share her love of yoga with others. E
“It has helped me tremendously in life and has gotten me through a lot of tough times,” Nocito said. “I basically wanted to help others experience this strengthening yet calming practice.”
NBC Nightly News reported that meditation has been transforming some Californian public schools. Twice a day for 15 minutes, students remain calm and silent. Over a period of four years after practicing this type of meditation, violence in schools has decreased dramatically while test scores have increased, according to the report.
Nocito volunteers at an elementary school in Paterson, N.J. teaching yoga once a week. She said Patterson is an urban area that has a lot of poverty and crime but since practicing yoga with them she has witnessed firsthand an improvement in the children’s overall mood despite a possible strained or difficult home life.
“They manage their frustrations a lot better now and they seem more at peace and happier,” she said.
This can translate to the stressful college lifestyle. Meditation is a great practice in order to be able to regulate your mood, according to Dr. Jude Uy, a staff psychologist with the Counseling and Psychological Services on campus.
“I think of yoga as a mindfulness moving practice,” Dr. Uy said. Dr. Uy said mindfulness increases mental health in a number of different ways; it acts to relieve not only physical pain and stress but is also effective in fighting depression, anxiety and eating issues. CAPS is a resource on campus for more information about managing and relieving stress and negative emotions.
“Meditation is able to slow a person down,” Dr. Uy said.
Students are often doing many things at once, so he suggests that students observe and be present and aware in the moment and of your thoughts in small amounts during the day, whether it is while brushing your teeth or standing in line for chicken fingers.
Self-care and self-awareness are very important in preserving good health. He noted that many students with their busy schedules block themselves from meditation because they believe they are too busy but continued that this is not true.
“Start with a minute, see where that gets you and tie it into things you do regularly,” he said. “Begin to incorporate a mindful practice, notice the placement of your head notice your thoughts notice your feelings, one or two minutes, sit down and tune in, focus on your breath and focus on your body.”
Dr. Uy is the faculty advisor, and Nocito the president, for the Seton Hall Holistic Health & Yoga Club. This recently created student organization offers yoga sessions as well as workshops on holistic health on Wednesday at 6 p.m. each week. Although there are around 300 people on the email list, a hodgepodge of around 20 members usually attends.
“I definitely think that yoga is a great way to relieve stress and that it’s a practice that helps you achieve peace between your mind and body—yoga is a lot more than just touching your toes,” Nocito said.
Emily Balan can be reached at emily.balan@ student.shu.edu.