Otters have the chance to participate in free yoga classes

Story by Andrea Valadez

California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) students and staff have the opportunity to unlock their inner yogi by attending a variety of yoga-centered classes held every week in the Meeting House on Divarty Street. 

These classes range from gentle stretching and slow flows to high-intensity cardio circuits. The  beginner-friendly Oct. 12 session proved to be immensely relaxing and sweat-inducing for the roughly 15 women in attendance.

“Let everything from the day slowly begin to fall away, as you find the center of this moment and this time,” said instructor Amanda Kirk, who led the Mandala-style flow of the night.

The traditional practice of Mandala yoga asks participants to first establish a centered and enlightened state of mind. 

The session then consists of a sequence of positions that flow in a circular motion around the mat, much like the intricate shape of a mandala flower.

Kirk started the flow by asking participants to envision the center of a circle and set an intention for this practice. Kirk explained that envisionment is integral for the mind-body connection for an individual to “focus not just on the physical aspect … but connecting what you’re doing with what you’re thinking and feeling.” 

As the group moved around their mats, slowly getting the hang of the balance-centered flow, groans and stifled laughs could be heard through the almost euphoric music bellowing from the back of the Meeting House.

Sandra Ruiz, Director of Procurement and Contract Services at CSUMB said she’s “happy this is offered,” while attending her third yoga class since the program started. “We sit at our desks all day, so this does relieve some of that stress.”

For students participating in midterm exams, the relaxing practice is seen as a safe haven free from any expectations or worries.

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