Hosted by King’s Athletics, free yoga with instructor Sandra Ryan has quickly become a favourite weekly activity for many King’s students living on and around campus. Ryan is always looking for ways to keep the practice engaging and interesting for the students who attend her classes, which were previously held in the dance studio, but recently moved to the gym to accommodate the growing interest. To this end, Ryan has invited Kelly Dunfee, a life-long yogi and a yoga teacher with over 10 years of experience, to come to class on Wednesday, March 31, to teach and introduce students to the benefits of sound therapy and meditation.
Explaining the ideas behind sound therapy, Dunfee says “Sound therapy has long been used to manage a broad range of health conditions. The treatments are based on the understanding that all forms of matter—including our body’s cells—vibrate at different frequencies. Factors such as stress, depression and disease cause cells and organs within our bodies to vibrate at non-optimal frequencies.
“The gong is an ancient instrument of healing, it produces strong sound waves, almost tangible to the touch. The many frequencies stimulate nerve endings and vibrate the surface of the skin and every cell. On a physical level, the gong releases tension and blockages in the energy system. It is said to balance the nervous and glandular systems and helps to calm and focus the mind.”
The usual one-hour class, running from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., will be broken down into two 30-minute sections for this special combination of yoga and gong session. Thirty minutes of yoga to start will be followed by a brief explanation on the benefits of the gong, breath exercises, and then 15-20 minutes of gong work, done while laying down in a comfortable, relaxed position.
“The listener only has to let go and let the sound of the gong do the work. The experience is effortless and the results profound,” Dunfee says.
These weekly yoga sessions are just one of the many creative ways King’s Athletics has been able to keep students active and connected during the COVID-19 pandemic—whether participating in-person while following social distancing protocols, or virtually with online offerings.
“Throughout this pandemic, we have had to come up with new and unique ways to help the campus community find the important balance of life and fitness not only for the body but for the mind as well. We offered at-home workouts, online nutrition seminars and virtual meditation. As the restrictions eased, we opened up our cardio and weight rooms by appointments and began our free Yoga for Students series,” says Trish Miles, athletics coordinator.
When asked how the students have reacted to this type of programming, Miles says the response has been strong.
“The response to all of these offerings has been fantastic. They have allowed students to take a mental break from all that is going on, maintain their fitness and regain a sense of community.”
The last yoga session with Ryan will be on April 7. If you are interested in seeing what King’s Athletics has in store for the rest of the semester, or simply wish to book time in the cardio and weight rooms, you can connect with them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.