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Junior Jade Juniper is starting a campus yoga club.
Courtesy | Jade Juniper

Hillsdale College student Jade Juniper is leading yoga classes, hoping to create a place for stu­dents to de-stress together and cul­tivate a com­munity of med­i­tation and relax­ation. 

Juniper, a junior, recently  obtained the 200-hour requirement to be offi­cially cer­tified as a yoga teacher this past summer. 

Juniper has been doing yoga for the past five years, and became com­mitted during high school. As her workload at school became more demanding, she sought out yoga as an outlet to release her stress and balance her aca­demic life.  

“I wanted to bring that skill to campus because I felt that there was a limited amount of spaces for stu­dents to decom­press in a high-stress school setting,” Juniper said. 

One of the stu­dents who has been attending her classes, Hannah Neukom, said, “Taking time to focus on some­thing other than classes and homework has been really nice.” 

As a psy­chology major, Juniper recently started a research project that draws upon her back­ground in yoga. Her interest in yoga inspired her to study the con­nection between med­i­tation and its effect on anxiety. 

She said that yoga, unlike other ther­a­peutic remedies, is often easier for those who are not very verbal or have social anxiety. Things like talk therapy can be intim­i­dating because one might be foisted right into problems, whereas med­i­tation encourages one to observe them as opposed to engaging in them. 

“You are letting things come to you,” Juniper said.

Juniper’s class begins with intro­duc­tions, then a 25 – 30 minute flow sequence, fol­lowed by a 15 – 20 minute med­i­tation or dis­cussion of yoga phi­losophy. 

Juniper said she teaches “restorative yoga,” which encourages holding pos­tures for long periods of time. 

“This is so you can focus on releasing tension in the body and then it will be easier to release tension of the mind as well,” Juniper said.

She also wants to inte­grate games and other activ­ities that will make the class fun and engaging. 

The class’ par­tic­i­pants said they enjoy its health ben­efits.

“I love the com­bi­nation of yoga and guided med­i­tation because it really helps with the stress of the week to relax me,” Neukom said.

Juniper said she seeks feedback from those who attend the club so that she can tailor it to the needs of her members. She hopes to foster a relaxed envi­ronment for people of all levels of physical wellness. 

“Yoga is very per­sonal, so it helps you appre­ciate your own natural abil­ities,” Juniper said. “It also requires a level of dis­ci­pline and con­sis­tency, that help renew the body.”

Meghan Koepke is another student who has attended ses­sions.

“I thought it was so much more special to practice in that com­munity setting,” Koepke said. “I’ll def­i­nitely be coming back.”

Juniper holds classes on Mondays from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the George C. Roche Sports Complex dance studio on the second floor.  Sign ups are through the Student Activ­ities Office email.