Students should try group mediation yoga offered at Johnson Center



Maybe you know, or maybe you don’t, but the Johnson Center offers group meditation yoga along-side its regular yoga classes.

I took my yoga mat over to one of the Sunday classes to check it out and let you all know what to expect if you make the venture yourself.

Most of the yoga classes at the JC are taught in vinyasa style, meaning the techniques involve “breath-synchronized movement,” according to This pairs well with meditation because both revolve strongly on awareness of one’s breathing.

The general vinyasa yoga classes teach a series of yoga poses paired with inhales and exhales. Starting at a slow pace so students can understand and execute the poses, the series slowly speeds up to the point that every breath has a paired movement.

When walking into the studio I was interested in finding out how the meditation class differed from the standard vinyasa class.

“I teach vinyasa yoga and it’s a lot more fast-pace and flowy,” said Natalie O’Hara, a psychology senior who teaches the 5 p.m. Sunday class. “We do a lot of the same things, but this one (meditation) is a little more slowed down.”

O’Hara said the main difference between meditation classes and vinyasa classes is there is a longer beginning meditation and a longer shavasana (ending meditation).

“I know a lot of college students might not want to stay for a whole 10 minute closing meditation,” O’Hara said. “That’s why we only do it like once a week for my meditation class and then I do a 5 minute meditation for the other classes.”

Two years ago O’Hara suggested the JC offer a meditation yoga class after attending a mindfulness yoga retreat. One tool she wants to share is learning to “live in the moment.”

“If you have an outside thought or a distraction that takes someone away from living presently, that doesn’t mean you’re a terrible meditator,” O’Hara said. “It’s more like you just have to keep reminding yourself, ‘Hey, live in this moment. Don’t let past struggles bog you down. Don’t let future things that you have to accomplish distract you from enjoying this moment right now.’”

O’Hara said one of the best times to go to a meditation class or a vinyasa class is during finals week.

“I think if you breathe and meditate and move a little bit it’ll keep you more focused, so the studying you do is more efficient,” O’Hara said.