While it may seem like the easy-going beginning-of-the-semester lull could go on forever, the stress and anxiety of midterm and paper season is only a few weeks away. With this in mind, “Challenge and Connect – C2” has just opened up registration for a day-long yoga and mindfulness retreat that will take place Sunday, March 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Rome Commons Ballroom.
The yoga retreat is led by renowned teacher, author and founding member of “Community Rizing,” Rolf Gates. According to one of the event organizers, Elizabeth Cracco, Gates has gained a wealth of wisdom over the course of his life.
“He [Gates] is a former US Army Airborne Ranger, a trained social worker, and a person in long-term recovery,” Cracco said in an email. “In other words, he’s done life!”
Gates is well-versed in yoga and yoga philosophy. He is also more than open to teach students of all different levels.
“I think reaching out to students who might not have tried yoga, and to break down stereotypes of ‘who does yoga’ is another goal and Rolf Gates is perfect to help us achieve that goal,” Cracco said.
The retreat will be an immersion experience for students. This means that for the six and a half hours of the retreat, students will be required to leave cell phones and social media behind so that they are completely present. Cracco believes Gates has the capacity to bring students a new set of insights and beliefs within that time span, but only if they are fully focused on his lessons and not on technology.
One of the goals of the retreat is to help students form connections with one another. Everyone shares similar concerns around midterms and a large part of this retreat is sharing those concerns and finding a way to manage them with the help of fellow students.
“I think there can be a lot of comfort in the company of our community, and so practicing in this type of retreat group venue can help students feel a part of something much larger than themselves – and that is a feel-good experience,” Cracco said.
The retreat won’t just be yoga. It will also include meditation, journaling and reflection, sharing in pairs or small groups and Gates’ lessons. All of which are targeted at improving the participants’ performance and helping them meet their goals, whether those goals are academic or otherwise.
The yoga itself is a life skill the students will develop over the day, which will help reduce their stress and anxiety and provide them physical relief.
“Sometimes it is the time out,” Cracco said. “Sometimes it is a slowing down of the mental chatter and fear that sits behind the anxiety as you focus on the movement or release of the body.”
C2 is a collaboration of Counseling and Mental Health Services (CMHS), UConn Recreation, Wellness and Prevention and Four Arrows Challenge Course. Over the past few years, they have brought a number of programs such as Sunset Yoga and Full Moon Hikes to campus, all of which have garnered a tremendous response from students.
“Students report feeling that they have had chances to reduce their stress, connect with others and challenge themselves,” Cracco said.
This retreat will be the pinnacle of that, by providing students a nationally sought after workshop and a chance to find a sense of calm within the chaos of midterms.
The entry fee is only $10 for students and $60 for the public. Lunch, yoga mats and free giveaways will all be included. You can register at https://recreation.uconn.edu/c2-yoga-and-mindfulness-retreat/. There are only 100 spots open, so make sure to sign up if you’re interested sooner rather than later.
Rebecca Maher is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.