University hosts sunset yoga to promote student well-being, mental health

Sunset yoga on the Quad held by Campus Rec to bring students closer with the outdoors and wellness.  PHOTO CREDIT: Kelly Mckay | Contributing Reporter

On Wednesday, April 12, University of Rhode Island students gathered on the quad for a sunset yoga practice to support their mental health and well-being. 

Campus Recreation, Health Promotion, and the Community Wellness Leaders collaborated on this event and brought the outdoor yoga practice to students. 

According to Jessica Greene, assistant director of Health Promotion and Wellness, the idea for the event came from the Community Wellness Leaders Club. After hearing the idea, Health Promotion reached out to Campus Recreation, who provided the yoga instructor and arranged sign-ups on their app, IMLeagues. 

The event was organized to be beneficial to students’  health and well-being and to combat end-of-semester stress. 

“We know that yoga has a powerful, positive impact on your mental health and well-being and this time of year right before finals is when students are starting to get anxious and stressed and overwhelmed with work,” Greene said. 

She hopes that this event will allow students to unwind with their peers, and find a community that focuses on well-being. Around 50 students were able to sign up on the IMLeagues app and attend the event, making sunset yoga the perfect place to meet new people. 

“We need more opportunities where students can get together and interact and meet new people in a social group that promotes health and well-being,” Green said. “So these events will get people together.” 

Fitness, Health and Wellbeing Coordinator at Campus Recreation Denise Robbin said she loved the idea. 

“I thought this sounded like a great event,” Robbin said. “I would love to be a part of it, and I wanted to be a part of making it a success for the students.” 

Robbin hopes that events like yoga on the quad, as well as the other group fitness classes at the fitness center, will encourage students to take care of their physical, mental and emotional health. 

“Science shows us how important it is to take time for your well-being,” Robbin said. “Your mental health connects with your social wellness and your physical wellness.”

Robbin also stated that taking care of your well-being is important to your academic success. Yoga on the quad is a perfect example of experiential learning, where students can take part in activities that will benefit their health. 

Bella Sheehan, Community Wellness Liaison of the Community Wellness Leaders club, talked about why it’s important to have events like sunset yoga on a central part of campus. 

“We like the quad because there’s so many people out here, and if they see it they might come and join,” Sheehan said. “I think it’s a great way to get people involved.”

The beautiful weather carried all the way to sunset, as students gathered on the quad for the yoga class. URI alum, Deirdre Morrison, ‘92, was the yoga instructor for the event. 

Morrison has been practicing yoga for over 25 years and had an almost 30-year career in business. She made a career change from business to teaching yoga and mindfulness, which she has been doing at campus recreation since October, and also volunteers at the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at URI. 

“Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years, and the origins of yoga were usually practiced in the forest,” Morrison said. “So it’s actually true to the roots of yoga to practice outside like this.”

The next event that Campus Recreation is holding will be FloURIsh Fest on Friday, April 21. At this event, students can interact with many campus organizations on the quad that will be promoting health and well-being. The Community Wellness Leaders will also be there with interactive activities for students to participate in.