Night of Relaxation is hosted every semester during the last few weeks of classes in the Student Wellness and Recreation Center and brings students a chance to practice meditation through a one and a half hour yoga session.
“It’s a way of wellness that not a lot of people know about,” said Muriel Valencia, third-year kinesiology major and Beach Balance employee. “It’s important to emphasize meditation and yoga because it’s a way of connecting to your spiritual well-being even though that is different for each person. With me being a strong believer of psychical wellness, meditation just opened my eyes.”
In a featured study done by the American Psychology Association, researchers found those who practiced mindfulness had significantly less anxiety, depression and somatic distress which is how their body reacts when under a stressful situation.
In that same study, it was also proved to help with memory, focus, self-observation and the way people react to things emotionally.
Wendy Cha, a fifth year community health science major was diagnosed with anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder type one. She has been looking holistic health patterns to help relieve some of the everyday psychological barriers she deals with. For her, the event had perfect timing.
“I was taking a medication to help with anxiety but I didn’t want to depend on that anymore,” Cha said. “I didn’t want to build a tolerance and keep on taking higher doses; with yoga and mindfulness, you don’t ever build a tolerance to it. It only makes [your mind] stronger in the end.”
According to campus yoga teacher Jessi McMaster, the nervous system releases hormones in the body when people get stressed as if they were in a life or death situation, which brings on anxiety and fear-based thinking. The parasympathetic nervous system is a system our body uses to help us relax after a stressful situation and they don’t have a direct release system.
“Mentally, spiritually, emotionally, physically, we’re not releasing all these fight or flight response hormones in our bodies because of our mental state,” McMaster said. “Doing mindfulness practices, stretching and even just exercise [help so] you can think clear.”
Night of Relaxation also brought chakra healing stones to the first 50 attendees. Each chakra has their own special meaning depending on what connection they emotionally need. Students got the chance to pick from stones to help with insight, emotional balance, personal power, determination and creativity.
“If one of your aspects of wellness is out of whack then you’re not going to be fully focused on your exams,” Valencia said. “You’re not going to be fully focused to do your projects or function. Some of the reasons why a person may feel out of place are because they don’t focus on their spiritual well-being,” Valencia said.
Beach Balance also offers free weekly activities for students throughout the semester including free massages, meditations and nutritional counseling. If they are looking to get a hot stone, deep tissue, acupressure or lymphatic massages, students can receive one by paying $25 for 30 minutes. Non-students pay $35 and the time for the massages can be extended for $15-25 more.