Meditation and Yoga at YLS
As the plane started to shake violently on my way back from a recruiting trip to California, one of the many thoughts that crossed my mind was of the recent meditation class I took at the law school and how if I knew how to breathe meditatively I might be able to calm myself down. My fear of turbulence is a result of having specialized in aviation litigation for four years before taking this job and learning of the worst-case scenarios (none of which involved a commercial flight being affected by turbulence, but I am not rational when experiencing turbulence).
So, in the middle of the night somewhere over the United States, I was thinking of the meditation class. This semester, the Office of Student Affairs is offering a yoga and meditation series at the law school. I attended a meditation class out of curiosity, though I will admit somewhat reluctantly, as I am not a meditation/yoga person. Every so often I hear from friends about how beneficial both can be, but I just can't sit still and prefer aerobic exercise, which is probably why I would especially benefit from learning both.
The instructor took her time explaining the breathing techniques and the history of different forms of meditation. Of course, when I tried to breathe through my chest as she did, my ribs did not expand like hers--they didn't even budge really. Nonetheless, even if I was doing it incorrectly, the breathing was still relaxing and calming.
Some of you are probably wondering at this point why the law school is offering such a series. And the answer is not because the students are running around stressed out of their minds wanting to rip their hair out. Nope, far from it. Rather, it is because meditation and yoga are so beneficial to one's well-being (and because they wanted to help me overcome turbulence anxiety). In fact, a friend was telling me recently about his medical research into pinpointing the mechanism by which the body can control physiological responses, which would help explain how certain people (like those who practice meditation) can so effectively control their body's reactions in certain situations. In short, I need to become a yoga and meditation junkie so that in the event a plane I am traveling on falls from the sky, I won't bat an eye.
All joking aside, kudos to the Student Affairs Office for putting this together. For those of you interested in yoga and meditation, in addition to being able to take these classes during the fall semester here at the law school, there are also several yoga classes offered at the Payne Whitney Gym as well as several yoga studios in downtown New Haven, including Fresh Yoga, Bikram Yoga, and Breathing Room.