|THE KEENE STATE COLLEGE MAGAZINE FOR ALUMNI AND FRIENDS||VOLUME XXI NUMBER 2 Winter 2006|
Lauren Reilert '06: Yoga and Beyond
She had wondered – and had worried a little – what the turnout for her first yoga class would be. Five participants would be a good start, she decided. Ten would be exceptional.
In her first class, 22 students unrolled blue yoga mats on the polished wood floor of the aerobics room and sat cross-legged in front of her. The next class, everyone brought a friend.
"We started in a sitting meditation," Lauren Reilert '06 explained. "I looked at these 40 students sitting with their eyes closed, and thought, 'Yes! For the past two years I've been learning to teach yoga and now I'm here in front of 40 people, hopefully helping them find a place of peace.'"
This fall, for the first time, yoga classes were scheduled in the Recreation Center at Keene State. Students, staff, and faculty flocked to the morning, noon, and evening classes, eight in all, taught by Reilert and fellow student instructor Kristen Esty.
"Yoga is my vehicle for growth," Reilert explains. The 21-year-old, who is majoring in sociology and psychology, took heavy course loads and could have graduated a full year early. Instead, she chose to delay her last classes so she could join a Keene State trip last summer to India. Reilert also spent a month living in a small tent at the Shoshoni Ashram in Colorado's Rocky Mountains to get her initial yoga teacher certification. Coming back to Keene State for another year, she says, allowed her to begin her yoga-teaching career.
"Yoga brings me back to this moment; helps me stay in reality," she says. Practicing a strenuous pose, for example, may cause the mind to doubt or wish to give up. By consciously breathing (pranayama) through the pose, she says, first the mind and then the body is able to focus and relax. Over time, says Reilert, this awareness is applied to life outside of the physical yoga practice.
Reilert is considering graduate school in transpersonal psychology to study yoga and its effect on people with behavioral disorders. And thanks to her experiences last summer in India and Colorado, the urge to travel is also part of her psyche. "If you're open," she says of her experiences, "all the answers are there for you."
Dave Orsman, Keene State's former media relations coordinator, now lives in New Zealand.