In an effort to bring together information about yoga and meditation opportunities at Harvard, Kelly S. Robinson ’13, who teaches yoga classes on campus, recently launched the blog Veritas Yoga.
The blog, veritasyoga.wordpress.com, features a compilation of all the schedules for the various yoga classes offered on campus—at the Malkin Athletic Center, the Hemenway Gym, and in the Houses—that were previously publicized only on separate lists.
“A friend asked me when I teach yoga, and I only teach at random hours and there’s a ton of other yoga classes being taught,” Robinson said. “It’s really easy for me to compile them onto one page to give to everyone in the community.”
Robinson said yoga can serve as a form of relaxation for Harvard students.
“Harvard is a stressful place and it’s nice to chill out for a while,” she said.
In the past few years, the number of classes offered per week at Harvard has increased from approximately two to ten or twelve, according to Dawn M. Stenis, Harvard Recreation’s area fitness program manager. In the gyms, yoga classes, especially those in the evening, fill up quickly. Students must arrive 15 minutes before class to claim a spot in the class, said Stenis.
Robinson’s blog also features information about the Harvard College Meditation Club, led by Bo-Mi Choi, a former lecturer in social studies at Harvard who is currently affiliated with the Cambridge Zen Center.
Choi said she agrees that yoga can be a form of relaxation. However, she said that if students begin the practice of yoga and meditation with the sole goal of stress reduction in mind, they will miss or overlook another significant benefit.
“There’s a spiritual component. You can secularize it, but [yoga]...is a way you can figure out what’s really important in life,” said Choi. “Harvard can be a little biosphere where everyone has the same sort of view on things, and [we try] to give a different perspective on how to lead a fulfilling life, something that is outside the frame of what undergraduates usually get to hear.”
Choi leads a one-hour Zen meditation session on Wednesdays in Adams House that consists of breathing exercises, chanting, and 20 minutes of meditation followed by a question and answer session.
Last year, the club consisted of five freshmen. This year, it has grown substantially, and more than 15 people have attended the first few meditation workshops.
“I think almost every Harvard student would benefit from meditating or doing yoga once a week,” said Jen A. Guidera ’15, the co-president of the Meditation Club and a yoga practitioner. “There’s just so much going on here all the time and to be able to step back and take a break is a really valuable thing.”