Calm your mind
Derived from the martial art Tai Chi Chuan, Tai Chi is a system of fluidic movements within a set. Each set is comprised of 108 moves, each performed in a slow, controlled movement while ensuring constant body motion.
Grandmaster Geng Z. Cai preaches a simplistic approach to Tai Chi wherein he says that, “The body can only do what the mind tells it, without a clear mind the body wavers.”
Many moves are associated with animals and nature. Within each set, controlled breathing is emphasized to create a meditative state. Tai Chi is a popular form of stress relief as it is low-impact, requires no equipment and can be performed indoors or out.
Accredited volunteers from the Taoist Tai Chi Society’s main centre on 24th Street S.W teach Tai Chi practitioners the internal art of Tai Chi with the mantra of technique over speed. Cai teaches students who range in age from under 16 to 50. With such a broad demographic, it can be said that this form of stress relief can be adapted to any age and lifestyle. As Cai put it, “Anyone can learn Tai Chi; it is the basis of inner peace.”
Yoga focuses on the mind as well as on the body, and many studios create a Zen atmosphere where outside distractions are left at the door to ensure that practitioners can clear their minds.
Yoga instructor Lauren Gothe has been teaching yoga for over three years and considers it to be the best stress reliever in her life. “It is physical and refreshing, no matter my current situation, I have always felt better after a yoga session,” she said.
Yoga emphasizes deep stretches and static poses related to nature. Instructors create a peaceful environment for their practitioners, using calming instruction to encourage patrons to move at their own pace. This ensures each individual gets the most out of their stress-free experience. According to Gothe, “Most people use yoga as a way to stay toned but in reality, the physical side of yoga was developed as a moving meditation.”
Yoga requires little to no equipment and many studios such as Yoga Passage offer a drop-in class on Sundays that are paid by donations. SAIT also offers a variety of drop-in yoga classes for students on Tuesdays at 5 p.m. and Thursdays at 4:45 p.m. in V118b, and on Saturdays at 9 a.m. in the fitness studio for $12 per class.
The most basic of all stress relievers mentioned, meditation involves clearing your mind and reverting it to an almost sleep-like state. The practice of meditation requires one to drown out outside influences and to calm one’s mind into a state akin to a self-imposed trance. The art of meditating requires patience wherein practitioners maintain a static pose – usually while seated on a stable floor.
Crucial to the meditative state are the acts of concentrating on a clear mind and controlled breathing. Meditation is a great option for students as it has zero cost and can be done in as short a time span as a few minutes per day. The only requirement is some patience on the behalf of the stressed student.
The key element in meditation is knowing that distractions will occur and mentally overcoming such distractions while staying in a calm state.
Whether you have a day devoted to stress relief or just a few minutes, students’ minds and bodies can benefit greatly from calming activities.