On May 23rd, I will officially be a graduate from the Univerity of Maryland (UMD). It’s been quite a journey, to say the least, and one that yoga has played a pivotal role in. For my first two years at UMD, I was an environmental science and policy major with a concentration in marine and coastal management. I have always had a love for science growing up and I was intrigued with the idea of saving the Chesapeake Bay. At the same time, I had recently started a yoga practice before attending UMD. I’m incredibly thankful that I entered my undergraduate schooling with some knowledge of yoga & the desire to practice for four main reasons:
1. Yoga helped me find my breath in times of stress
College is stressful, it’s no secret. That meant I would find myself feeling a bit overwhelmed with my workload from time to time. In my primary schooling, my way to deal with that stress was to cry. Going into my Freshman year of college I realized it was time to change that habit/behavior. One of the best ways for me to deal with the stress of the workload was to spend a couple of moments on my mat. This method helped me reconnect with my body and focus on my breath. With each movement I would take a deep breath, calming my mind and relaxing my body. By clearing my mind, I could look at problems with a fresh perspective and find solutions I hadn’t noticed before.
2. Yoga was a fun form of exercise
Growing up as a dancer meant I was used to a lot of movement throughout my week. When I started attending UMD, I knew I would need a new kind of exercise that was engaging and good for me physically. Yoga was the perfect exercise for me because it was something I could do in the comfort of my dorm and I could adjust it to my busy schedule. I loved how yoga gave me the ability to get creative with my workouts, and it was something I could do if I only had a couple of moments to spare.
more from the may publication
3. Yoga helped me make connections
I decided to go to UMD partly because of the school size. I liked the idea of having a school so big that I could find all kinds of people to connect with. I went to a couple of different yoga classes at some local studios and attended events at UMD’s yoga club. I met friends, like Noa, and got them interested in the practice of yoga, so it was great to have that common interest of something we could work on together. Having friends who share a common interest with you is a great way to combat the potential loneliness college can induce.
4. Most importantly, Yoga helped me decide on my major
During the winter break of my freshman year of college, I created my page @freckled_yogi. Initially, it was a way for me to track my yoga progress, but as I developed my yoga skills, I also found myself being drawn to understanding the ways Instagram worked. I began spending more of my free time researching best practices for digital marketing and noticed how much fun I was having by learning about marketing. This led me to look into the Individual Studies Program at UMD during my Junior year. It was with this program that I was able to go through the process of creating my own major so that I could pursue my passion for digital marketing and teaching yoga. I took a combination of Business, Journalism, English, Communications, and Kinesiology classes to make my major in Digital Marketing and Entrepreneurship.
In these last weeks before graduation, I am reflecting on my college experience and appreciating the impact that yoga has had on my life these past few years. College is a time for growth and self-expression, and yoga acted as a catalyst for me to explore my identity and grounded me in difficult times. Regardless of whether or not yoga has impacted your life, I encourage you to explore hobbies and subjects you’re passionate about to change your perspective and serve yourself.