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REVIEW – SSMU Mini Course: Hatha Yoga

Last semester, I participated in a non-credit course offered by the Student’s Society of McGill University.

As the autumn air was approaching, I found myself browsing the list of mini courses that would be offered in the coming weeks. As soon as my eyes caught sight of the Saturday morning yoga class, I was headed to the SSMU office with my sixty five dollars.

NB: Although one’s experience in any mini course entirely depends on the instructor and the group of individuals taking that course, I thought you might be interested in reading about my adventure in yoga this past Fall term.

Friendly Environment? Check.

My group happened to have a range of experience levels. Thankfully, the instructor managed to  create a welcoming environment in which everyone seemed to feel very comfortable. She would always demonstrate the various levels of a given pose, as well as stress that the easiest version would be just as beneficial (for the experienced yogis) and even more beneficial (for the beginners).

Beautiful Environment? Double check.

If you’ve never taken a mini course before, they usually take place in a beautiful building on Peel Street, near the corner of Dr Penfield. Calling the room that would turn into a yoga studio every Saturday morning “a pleasure to practice in” would be an understatement. The space, in my opinion, was absolutely gorgeous — making the yoga class all the more exciting. The majestic looking house in the Golden Square Mile had a very clean, modern interior that became rather cozy as the crisp morning air slowly descended upon the city.

Workout? More like sleepout(side of your bed).

If you’re looking to break even the slightest sweat, then the Hatha Yoga Mini Course is not for you. Unfortunately, I could not come to call this class a good stretching session either. Personally, I would go as far as to classify it as a lazy Saturday morning ritual for people who wish to be in bed during that time. In other words, I would not call it a yoga class but rather a sleeping-with-one’s-eyes-open (actually we would often close them 😂) -whilst-moving-super-slowly-session, all the while hearing people intensely exhale and make strange noises. Relaxing the mind is great (and evidently very important). But If you’re interested in a “workout” in any way, shape, or form, I do not recommend this class.

Making friends? Don’t count on it.

If you’re looking to meet people, then the Hatha Yoga Mini Course is not for you. From my experience, the instructor did not once encourage discussion, nor did she ever leave any time for something like a group reflection, which surprised me given that the required material, besides a yoga mat, was a notebook. It was merely: you walk in, set up in silence, take an alternative version of a nap for two hours, briefly say goodbye, and leave. Very relaxing, but talking to others was not encouraged.

Will I take this mini course again? No, because my personal reason for enrolling in the class was to get a minor amount of exercise while simultaneously meeting new people — both of which were not the instructor’s, nor anyone in the group’s, primary goal.

~xoxo~

Some More Advice

One year ago, I started writing on this blog with an advice post outlining seven tips to succeed in your first year of university. They were specifically aimed at first year students and were meant to come in addition to the many pieces of advice students already receive before starting college. To wrap up this past year of blog posts, I wanted to present some more advice in the form of seven more tips – some new things I’ve learned along the way and some life reminders, especially to those who will be heading out at the end of the academic year.

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Dealing with Distractions

Getting down to work and staying focused when you’re studying can be a real challenge. Of course some people are excellent at ignoring them, but many of us aren’t quite there yet. Distractions are everywhere and they can make completing assignments and reviewing for exams very difficult if you don’t have a way to block them out. Once you get distracted, it can take a very long time for you to get back to your original task and it will inevitably hinder your long-term productivity. With the willingness to change habits and a bit of self-discipline though, you can learn to better deal with these distractions and therefore work more efficiently. Here are some tips that you may find to be helpful:

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Wake up before the semester starts!

It is the time! We are either coming or returning to the McGill campus, and I hope everyone has enjoyed a great summer no matter you were studying, travelling, working, volunteering, or just snoozing with some chill drinks at the backyard. However, I would like to remind you something before we sit in the lecture room. (more…)

First-Year Students: Starting the Semester

Entering your first year of university is many things at once – exciting, adventurous, fun, busy, challenging, and a little nerve-wracking and stressful too. The semester may seem to start out slow, but the pace of school and classes pick up fast and before you know it, you’re turning in essays, studying for midterms, and then for finals. It can be downright exhausting figuring everything out, but you will come to find your own routine with time. For first year students: here are a few tips to start your semester off right. 

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Looking Back at Two Years of University

Going to college was one of the big worries of high school. Where was I going to go and to study what? How would I settle into a life very different from everything I had ever known? At the time it seemed very intimidating and something I apprehended greatly just because of the uncertainty of it all. There was so much doubt, worry and confusion going into my first year, but looking back now, halfway through my undergraduate degree, my attitudes and thoughts have changed. These might be helpful to any first year students going through a similar experience.

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Municipal Elections Matter, Part 1: An Introduction to CMES and Split-Ticket Voting

Municipal elections are important, however, in the field of political science, they are largely understudied. Notably, little is known about how candidates compete, or how voters make choices at this level. The Canadian Municipal Election Study (CMES) received funding to conduct research based on survey data in eight Canadian cities. This month, seven draft papers focusing on the Montreal and Quebec City elections were presented at a small conference at McGill.[1] I will be writing three broad pieces about split ticket voting, nationalism and party identification, and women in municipal politics based on what I learned at the conference. (more…)

What Can I Do with My Geography Degree?

Oxbow lake meandering river geography comic hipster funny career blog physical Some things don’t have a linear path. A career can be one of those things.

Finding your personal path takes work and reflection. This is especially true for disciplines that cover a wide scope of topics and perspectives, like geography. Luckily, a recent project by the Canadian Association of Geographers aims to do just that — help geography students and recent graduates shape their own path. (more…)

Learning from McGill’s Public Talks

Source: Owen Egan/McGill News/Alumni Magazine/2013

When you go to a large university with a lot of students, faculty, and staff, there’s often a lot going on both on and around campus and you may not always know about all that’s happening. For me, one of these was the variety of public lectures available. For one of my classes this term, students were handed a list of lectures pertaining to the class and given the task of attending several public talks over the course of the semester. Going to these conferences turned out to be very enriching and eye-opening. In fact, there is a lot that you can learn and find out from the speakers and their presentations, especially regarding your studies and what you’d like to do in the future.

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Getting Away from the McGill Bubble

As the date of the first final exams approaches, it is likely you will be reminded of the importance of taking good care of yourself, and told ways to alleviate the stress that comes with the end of the semester. It’s stressful for everyone – in your first year, you often don’t know what to expect, it’s the first time you’ll be taking a university-level exam; in upper years, the material is often increasingly demanding, and more is expected of you. For me, this semester has been particularly heavy on course work, and I’ve found that fitting some free time for yourself in between the studying is beneficial regardless how tight your schedule is, because it really helps you refocus and gives you something to look forward to after hours of doing practice problems.

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