The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Free yoga classes help combat burnout

Midterms are over and, for a brief moment, some students are feeling a sense of relaxation and peace – until they realize that in a few short weeks it will be December and finals will be here.

The time after midterms is long enough for professors to schedule exams and projects before finals week. But these tight-packed academic schedules leave little time for students to take care of themselves. This prolonged period of stress often leads to burnt-out students. 

Symptoms of burnout range from chronic fatigue and insomnia to impaired concentration and depression. These symptoms can be detrimental for students with weeks of studying and schoolwork ahead of them.

In an attempt to combat the threat of student burnout, the Marquette University Medical Clinic provides health and fitness resources that are accessible, flexible and at a free or low cost to students. One of their initiatives is the free student-lead yoga classes on campus.

Each week, the Medical Clinic East, housed in the 707 building, hosts five yoga sessions. The sessions run for an hour and are scheduled Monday through Thursday evenings. Certified students instruct the classes using different sequences that build flexibility and strength while simultaneously helping students focus through specific breathing patterns. These skills help students release built-up stress.

Caroline Hildebrand, a junior in the College of Communication, attends classes occasionally to have fun and relax.

“There’s a laid-back, supportive environment with a patient instructor,” Hildebrand said. “These classes are great for people of all skill levels. Even athletically hopeless people like me can join in. It’s a perfect combination of relaxing and challenging.”

Patience Blessing, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, has been teaching yoga classes for Marquette for three and a half years.

Six years ago, she realized dance was doing more harm than good to her body. Despite this setback, she enjoyed teaching children and expressing herself in a unique way — so she turned to yoga.

Blessing went through nearly 300 hours of training to become a certified yoga instructor. She taught at Yoga Six, a studio on Prospect, and now works through Marquette’s medical clinic.

“I liked (yoga) because it was all about being really honest with your body and what feels good or doesn’t. If something doesn’t work for you then don’t do it,” Blessing explained. “It isn’t about anybody else – it’s about you.”

Blessing  believes that being flexible helps with everyday tasks and has a lifetime of value.

“You see a lot of older people take hard falls…it’s bad because their muscles can’t cope with the fall so they tense up and they have more breaks because of that,” Blessing said. “My view is that flexibility is equivalent to youth.”

Classes typically end with 10-15 minutes of stretching and relaxing, including a Savasana pose, more colloquially known as the corpse pose, in which participants lie on the floor in complete silence.

During the gap period between midterms and finals, students have the opportunity to take a step back and care for themselves. If that means fitting in an hour of light exercise at the 707 building each week, students can detox from stress by expressing themselves through yoga.

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