How yoga can help you succeed at your studies
Sport has always been at the heart of Deakin, and is one of our greatest strengths.
It can be hard to keep up a regular exercise routine when it’s freezing outside and you’ve got lots of study to do. But if you’re feeling tired, wound-up and overwhelmed, yoga might be the answer!
If you’ve ever participated in a class or two, or even tried some poses at home, you’ll know that yoga is a gentle yet powerful type of physical exercise that has many different physical and mental benefits. And if you haven’t tried yoga before, you might be surprised at how easy it is for beginners to get involved, and how positive you’ll feel afterwards.
We chatted to yogi Gretta Collins about why yoga is so good for you – she’s been practising yoga for 5 years and teaches classes at the Waurn Ponds Campus. She’s an advocate for yoga as a stressbuster and you can check her out on Instagram here.
Tell us about your personal yoga journey.
I started regularly practicing yoga in 2013. I fell in love with yoga when I started to build arm balances, inversions and a more gymnastics style into my practice. I love being upside down! In 2017 I completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training in Indonesia with Meghan Currie, a Canadian yoga teacher I am inspired by. I have since completed a 70-hour arm balance and inversion coaching course. I am constantly inspired by my amazing yoga teachers who have helped me pursue my yoga teaching journey.
Apart from teaching yoga, I work full time at Leisure Networks in Geelong in a sport development/health promotion role. I love putting my energy into building a healthier, more connected community. Through this passion of mine I also volunteer operationally in the State Emergency Service (Torquay Unit).
What are the benefits of yoga?
Where do I start! Yoga is a beautiful practice both on and off the mat. The benefits of practicing yoga asana (poses, on the mat) are improved balance, flexibility, strength, mobility, posture, concentration and overall health from stimulating internal organs. Practicing yoga off the mat can include breathing exercises, treating people kindly, being honest and practicing meditation.
I have worked in the health and wellness industry for 12 years, and I have noticed a trend: people often stop their exercise routine when they get too busy or have exams coming up. I truly believe that throughout all times of your life, busy or not, if you continue your yoga practice (or any exercise) you will notice yourself able to work more effectively and remain healthy.
Where and when do you run yoga classes at Deakin?
At DeakinACTIVE Waurn Ponds, I teach two 60-minute classes on Thursday afternoons (4pm for School of Medicine students and 5.15pm for everybody).
If you want to try yoga and you study in Geelong, come along to my 5.15pm class! It’s suitable for beginners or those who have a current yoga practice. A casual yoga class at DeakinACTIVE is just $15. There are also membership options which are great if you plan to attend other classes and/or the gym. Visit DeakinACTIVE in the KD Stewart Centre (or via www.deakinactive.com.au or 5227 2711) to purchase a pass or a membership.
There are also yoga classes at DeakinACTIVE Burwood on Mondays at 6.15pm and Wednesdays at 6.30am run by Janet Kai. After doing yoga for over 6 years and having friends in the fitness industry, Janet was drawn to become a certified yoga teacher and has completed 6 months of training and 200+ yoga hours. She says, ‘the perfect counter to traditional gym workouts is certainly yoga, and with the everyday stresses in life I found the calmness of focus in yoga classes allows me to balance out my life with work and health.’
And, there plenty of yoga resources online: I like Cody App for when I’m travelling.
What can students expect from their first yoga class?
When starting out your yoga practice, you may find it difficult to ‘switch off’ from the internal chatter, thoughts, judgments and tune in to your body and the present moment. Don’t worry, this is very common! My advice is to just give it a go! The more you get comfortable with letting go of the craziness of life and allowing time for yourself where you can just be, for a few moments, the more you will start to notice yourself expand and grow. Also, don’t take your practice too seriously, have fun with it!
Other than yoga, what else do you to relax?
I have five awesome chickens and a veggie patch at home, spending time out in the garden is a favourite of mine. I often walk in the morning along the beach to watch the sunrise, a natural medicine I think. I play hockey and netball and I also love to surf!
Image: Gretta practising yoga in Yogi Peace Club gear!