Today: Jun 17, 2024

Yoga: A great stress reliever for the body and mind

Aaron Johnson – General Assignment Reporter

 

For Southern Connecticut State University graduate student Kristina Santoro, the stresses of school are never too overwhelming because of her years as an avid instructor of yoga.

“To most people yoga is a way to relax, a workout, or a way to relax,” said Santoro.

According to Mayoclinc.com, yoga is considered a mind-body type of complementary and alternative medicine practice. Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve peacefulness of body and mind, helping you relax and manage stress and anxiety. Santoro — who has been certified since June 2012 and doing yoga for four years — said that it was her time spend overseas that rekindled her love of yoga.

“I went traveling and I found myself in India. In actually the yoga capital of the world,” said Santoro. “I was in a restaurant that I visited a lot and I found that I could not sit on the ground comfortably.”

Santoro said that she started to do stretches and after coming back to the country she started to take classes with her father.

“When I came home I started going to yoga classes every week. It was once a week, sometimes I’d go sometimes I wouldn’t, and then about a year after doing that I started my teacher training and I’ve been teaching for almost two years,” said Santoro.

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Santoro is the instructor for several classes at Southern as well as teaching off campus at a non-profit organization called 108 Monkeys.

“108 Monkeys was created to bring yoga to people that do not have access to it,” said Santoro. “The name comes from the founder Peg Oliveira and has many different meanings. One meaning is the one  stands for the individual, the circle stands for the community and the eight stands for infinite. The monkey is for the Hindu god hanuman.”

108 Monkeys works under the belief that mindfulness must be engaged with a social conscience and meditative silence is not sufficient. Its mission is to actualize the potential of the New Haven community, from rock to rock, breath by breath, through yoga.

“One of the goals of this organization and my role in it is that one of the programs by 108 Monkeys is to take yoga into New Haven academy and other New Haven schools,” said Santoro.

108 Monkeys said that connecting New Haven yoga practitioners to each other and to yoga in new ways, through the act of providing yoga to population is key growing opportunities for New Haven’s child-serving organizations is their goal, as well as to include yoga programming, and recognize its potential as a developmentally appropriate, affordable, safe and fun way to exercise non-competitively, de-stress, explore one’s physical capacities and breathe easier. Santoro said that yoga as a stress-reliever is all about breathing.

“I think controlling the breath is what is most important and focusing on your movements,” said Santoro. “The intense concentration of the moment quiets the mind. Our minds are like a toddler throwing a tantrum all the time and it’s really hard to control that all the time so it is a practice in mediation and mediation is a practice of yoga.”

Santoro said that what she want others to get out of her classes is to love and develop a passion for yoga that is similar to her own.

“I would love for them to love it like I do,” said Santoro. “But realistically I want them to learn simple techniques from our practice that they can take of that into the real world.”

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